Dr. Tiffany Moon, the first Asian American cast member on “The Real Housewives of Dallas,” is talking candidly about the surge in violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders, and specifically Asian women.
According to the reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate, 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported between March 2020 and February 2021, with women reporting twice as many incidents as men. Those figures were released just before the mass shooting at Asian massage parlors in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women, earlier this month.
“It really broke my heart because as a female minority, there is already so much that we have to deal with, and now these poor innocent women who were just working got murdered,” Moon told TheWrap’s deputy editor, Lawrence Yee.
“If you take Asian out of it, I think women in general — minority women, especially — are vulnerable and more likely to be attacked than men because we are seen as perhaps a weaker gender,” Moon added. “And sometimes we can fall into relationships that may not serve as well or be emotionally or physically abusive. It saddens me, but honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that Asian women are targeted more than men.”
Moon sits on the board of directors for The Family Place, a Dallas organization that provides housing, counseling and other services to victims of family violence, so she has experience talking about those issues. But the surge in violence against Asian women feels especially personal and has even necessitated conversations with her own family.
Moon recalled a recent phone call with her mom, Grace, where they spoke about the Atlanta attacks.
“She and I had a really powerful conversation about being scared,” Moon said. “She called me to say that because she cares for me and doesn’t want anything to happen to me. It just never occurred to me in this day and age that someone might want to harm me, just because of the way I look.” Moon added that her mom chose to not leave the house after the Atlanta shootings.
Moon has also had to discuss these tough topics with her children, including 6-year-old twins Chloe and Madison, who are now the same age she was when she immigrated to the United States from China. On the show, Moon painfully detailed the racist bullying she faced as a child. For her own children, education is the key.
“They just turned six. We do read a series of books that I looked up that are age-appropriate for them. One is called ‘Someone New,’ [about] a new kid who joins the class and they don’t speak the language and they dress kind of differently,” Moon explained. “Thank God they never really had to go through the kind of things that I did growing up.”
As for educating others — including her “Real Housewives” castmates and others who express discomfort or ignorance around Asian culture — Moon said she is much more measured.
“You have to expend a little bit of emotional capital to educate these people sometimes,” she said. “And sometimes I don’t have any emotional capital left; I’m spent, my battery is in the red zone. So I just let those moments go. But at other times, when I am fully charged, I do want to use my voice and my platform to bring awareness to this.”
One of those platforms was Bravo’s recent Amplify Our Voices Instagram chat with fellow AAPI stars Crystal Kung Minkoff (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”) and Melissa King (“Top Chef”).
“After [that] chat, I got some very powerful messages from people that said, ‘You know, I had no idea. Thank you for sharing your story. I will not say X, Y and Z anymore. I will try to be more inquisitive about people from other cultures.’ And that’s where I want to spend my emotional capital.”
Check out Dr. Moon’s full interview with TheWrap above, and catch her on “The Real Housewives of Dallas” Tuesday nights on Bravo.