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Joanna Gaines reflects on Korean heritage amid surge in anti-Asian hate incidents

The TV personality and mother of five previously opened up about being bullied for being half Asian as a kid.
/ Source: TODAY

Joanna Gaines is addressing the ongoing surge in violence against Asian Americans, as she's a member of this group herself.

On Instagram, the “Fixer Upper” star, 42, recently shared a photo of a copy of her book, “The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be,” translated into Korean, her mother's first language, and reflected on the racism that she's witnessed her mother experience.

“To see the words of my book translated into my mother's first language is such an honor for me,” Gaines wrote. “I remember as a little girl being out with my mom and seeing how in a moment, a person's harsh look or an underhanded comment would attempt to belittle her rich story and her beautiful culture.”

“We can't take lightly the power that our words and actions carry," the interior designer continued. “The world needs who we were ALL made to be and all the amazing and beautiful differences we each bring with us."

"Maybe if we say it enough, it will ring true and become the message that softens even the hardest of hearts," she added.

joannagaines / Instagram

Gaines also celebrated her heritage on her Instagram stories, writing, “Look mom! It’s in Korean ❤️🙌🏽” alongside a photo of her book. She went on to post a couple of family photos, as well — one of her embracing her mother as a little girl and one of her grandmother.

joannagaines / Instagram

A few years ago, Gaines opened up during an interview with Darling magazine about getting bullied for being Asian when she was a kid.

"My mom is full Korean and my dad is Caucasian," Gaines told the outlet. "Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian, and when you’re that age, you don’t know really how to process that. The way you take that is, 'Who I am isn’t good enough.'"

"I don’t think confidence has ever really been one of those things that came naturally for me," she added. "If people thought I was confident, it was really just the way I masked my insecurity, because I didn’t want people to really get to know the real me."

Over the past year, the country has seen a surge in the number of anti-Asian racist incidents, with Asian women being disproportionately targeted. Between March 2020 and February 2021, there were 3,795 incidents reported, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

Other Asian American celebrities have also spoken out against recent anti-Asian violence, especially after Tuesday's shootings in the Atlanta area, which left eight people dead, including six Asian women.

Actor Daniel Dae Kim said in an appearance on TODAY last week that he was "shocked" when he heard the news of the shootings.

"I stopped what I was doing, and my first thought was, ‘Not again. How can it be happening again?’ There's a number of us who have been very vocal...and we've done everything we can to get the word out, and yet we don't find these attacks abating. We find them accelerating, and this is really discouraging.”

Added former "The Newsroom" star Olivia Munn: "The thing that we need everyone to know is that the pandemic was weaponized against Asian Americans, and we have a target on our back and for some reason right now, it feels like it's open season on us. ... We need help, and we need people to care about what's happening to us."

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