John Cho thinks the coronavirus pandemic has reminded Asian Americans that their belonging is "conditional".
In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, the 47-year-old actor — who was born in Seoul, South Korea, but relocated to the US at the age of six — bemoans the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in light of the health crisis.
He shared: "I called my parents a few nights ago to tell them to be cautious when stepping out of the house, because they might be targets of verbal or even physical abuse. It felt so strange. Our roles had flipped.
"The fact that the coronavirus seems to have originated in China has spawned a slew of anti-Asian hate crimes. Across the country, Asian American parents and children are making versions of the call I made.
"Friends are sharing first-hand accounts of abuse on text chains and circulating articles on Facebook, always ending with the suddenly ominous 'stay safe.'"
Cho believes Asian Americans are now being made to feel like "foreigners" in their own country.
He wrote: "Asian Americans are experiencing such a moment right now. The pandemic is reminding us that our belonging is conditional. One moment we are Americans, the next we are all foreigners, who 'brought' the virus here."
The Harold & Kumar star thinks it's especially important to unite amid the pandemic and he's called on the public to speak out about discrimination. He said: "If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it's that the solution to a widespread problem cannot be patchwork. Never has our interconnectedness and our reliance on each other been plainer.
"You can't stand up for some and not for others. And like the virus, unchecked aggression has the potential to spread wildly."
He urged the public not to minimise the hate or "assume it's somewhere far away".
He added: "If you see it on the street, say something. If you hear it at work, say something. If you sense it in your family, say something.
"Stand up for your fellow Americans." — BANG