A Vietnamese American mother traveling with her young children wonders if a cashier’s cold stare could turn into a verbal assault. Even in cities that haven’t reported a high-profile physical attack on Asian Americans, life has changed in the shadow of rising bigotry during this pandemic. She recently met with a group of Chinese American women, who told her they have never felt this unsafe before. And yet there’s a fear that reporting such incidents may invite backlash or alienate those who perceive criticism of racial slurs as “political.”Katie Xu, a senior at John Burroughs School, is part of the Asian American Civic Scholars, a group that advocates for more Asian American participation in civic life. He didn’t have many Asian friends growing up, but that’s changed as he’s gotten older and more involved locally.