Early on in the pandemic, I told friends I had been spit on. At that time I was upset; I was shocked. However, for one reason or another I played it off as somebody just being stupid. I told a colleague what had happened, perhaps gliding over the racism. All I could think was that the elderly white woman who did the spitting was ignorant and didn’t know any better.

Then the past few weeks happened, and I had many conversations with close Asian-American friends. Like the one who called me the other night after returning from a run in Brooklyn. A group of young male teenagers had shouted “Ching Chong” at her as she passed by. She’s not an emotional person, but she was that evening. Was it stupidity or racism?