Olympic gold medal winner Chloe Kim has opened up about her experience with racism amid the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States.
In an interview with ESPN's Alyssa Roenigk, Kim said she has received messages from people who called her "part of the problem because I was being silent."
"I was like, 'Do you realize I'm also Asian American and this affects me?' It was a lot of white people telling me they were upset at my silence," she added.
Roenigk noted Kim shared a screenshot on Instagram on Wednesday of a direct message she received calling her a "dumb Asian b---h" and said she receives "hundreds of these messages and it breaks my heart that people think this type of behavior is okay."
Kim told Roenigk that she first started getting abusive messages on social media in 2014 after winning her first X Games medal at the age of 13:
"There were messages in my DMs telling me to go back to China and to stop taking medals away from the white American girls on the team. I was so proud of my accomplishment, but instead I was sobbing in bed next to my mom, asking her, 'Why are people being so mean because I'm Asian?'"
Over the past year, Kim said the messages "got worse when COVID started" and one woman in her apartment complex yelled at her and told her she couldn't ride in the elevator.
Kim also spoke about the safety precautions that she takes when she goes out:
"I never go anywhere by myself unless it's for a quick appointment or I know the place is crowded. I have Tasers, pepper spray, a knife. If I go outside to walk my dog or go to the grocery store, my fanny pack has all three of those in it and my hand never leaves my side."
Per research information released by reporting center Stop AAPI Hate, there were 3,795 reported hate incidents against Asian Americans from March 19, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021.
Last month in the Atlanta area, Robert Long was arrested on four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault after eight people were killed, including six women of Asian descent, at three different spas. Police said the motive for the killings was unclear.
Kim's parents are from South Korea. She was born in California and joined the United States snowboarding team in 2013 at age 13 before winning gold in the women's halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics.