On October 24, 2020, the R&B and soul artist Autumn Tillman posted an Instagram video of herself spraying Lysol on her racist neighbor. The neighbor made racist remarks about Asians and African Americans in the corridor of Tillman’s apartment in San Francisco. According to her, the man said that he hated Asians, was “happy that Asians are being attacked around the world,” and that “Asians need to go back to their country.” Tillman was furious and repeatedly told him to stop as he was also using racist slurs towards her every day. However, the man continued, even beginning to refer to the Ku Klux Klan. She finally resorted to spraying Lysol at him, resulting in the man going back into his home.

Tillman has been neighbors with the man for five years and the man would use racist comments whenever he sees her. He also was racist against many other communties. Because the man frequently stomped and yelled in the corridor, Hispanic and Asian neighbors avoided him. Tillman explained that she sprayed Lysol at the neighbor “because next door to him is an Asian family with a child who has to hear the derogatory things he says.” She elaborates that she posted the video to convey to the Asian community that “they are not alone.”

Racism has been a complicated and weighty issue in society, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Racist statements hurt people’s feelings and bring stress. The neighbor hurled racist comments that deeply offend Asians, affecting their mental health and making one feel unwanted in society even though they are vital to it. Anti-Asian racism can impact Asians’ performances in school or at work and harm their wellbeing. Thus, for the welfare and basic rights of the Asian community, we need to work together to fight racism by calling them out.