Justice

George Takei Has a Strong Message for His Bullies

October 16th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Actor and LGBT activist George Takei just shared a powerful video about his experiences with childhood bullying. He was promoting the anti-bullying initiative #ActToChange.

A well-known advocate for social justice, Takei explains the childhood trauma he suffered when he and his family were plucked from their Los Angeles home and placed in a Japanese internment camp for four years "simply because [they] happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor." When they were finally released, they had no money and were forced to start over in the poor Skid Row neighborhood.

 

It's no new news that bullying is a disturbing issue for our youth--I experienced bullying as a child, not only from my peers but from figures of authority, as well. Join White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, CAPE - Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, The Sikh Coalition, and I in our #ActToChange at acttochange.org

Posted by George Takei on Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

Takei, however, says the bullying he endured from a racist adult in his life was the worst experience of all.

"What stung most of all was that my own elementary school teacher called me 'that little Jap boy,'" Takei says. "She bullied me with those words and ignored me in class. It stung. What had I ever done to her? Today, I understand that she may have harbored deep resentment and bigotry toward me because of my race, and I forgive her for her terrible words and inability to be a positive role model."

Despite his struggles, Takei says he refuses to let this trauma weigh him down.

"Instead, I've dedicated my life to ensuring that travesties of injustice, such as the Japanese-American internment, never happen again," he says. "We must never forget, and we must never repeat such mistakes."

In a Facebook note below the video, Takei wrote, "It's no new news that bullying is a disturbing issue for our youth—I experienced bullying as a child, not only from my peers but from figures of authority, as well. Join White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, CAPE - Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, The Sikh Coalition, and I in our #ActToChange."