Hate against Asian-American still running rampant

(Photo by Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images)

Since the rise of COVID-19 began in 2020, there has been an increase in violence against Asian-Americans. An analysis done by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino showed that there was a 150% increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans in 2020 and it has not slowed down in 2021.

Yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia, a gunman went on a shooting spree at 3 different spas that left 8 people dead, 6 of them were Asian women. Though the motive is yet to be determined, it’s not a coincidence that this happened at 3 spas that were mainly filled with Asian people. This is just a continuation of the extreme hatred by some people towards the Asian community over the past year.

Formed last March, Stop AAPI Hate is an organization that was created in response to attacks related to the perception that Asians were responsible for the coronavirus because of its origins in Wuhan, China. They documented that from March 2020-February 2021, the following happened:

  • Verbal harassment (68.1%) and shunning (20.5%) (i.e., the deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans) make up the two largest proportions of the total incidents reported.

  • Physical assault (11.1%) comprises the third-largest category of the total incidents.

  • Chinese are the largest ethnic group (42.2%) that report experiencing hate, followed by Koreans (14.8%), Vietnamese (8.5%), and Filipinos (7.9%).

There are also first-hand descriptions of verbal and physical assaults that have happened:

  • I was shopping at [store] in Milpitas when an older man started making faces at me. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “What’s wrong? You are out here shopping!” I was confused, and he followed up with, “We delisted your companies, shipped back your international students…when do you ship out? When do you ship out? We are going to take away your citizenship!” (Milpitas, CA)

  • This specific incident was in an NYC grocery store where a man started screaming at me and called me a “disgusting f*cking animal,” told me to “get the f*ck out of the store,” asked if I was crazy, and told me to “go back home” and “get out of the f*cking country.” He followed me around the store screaming at me and nobody did anything. (New York City, NY)

  • My boyfriend and I were riding the metro into DC. When on the escalator in the transfer station, a man repeatedly punched my back and pushed past us. At the top, he circled back toward us, followed us, repeatedly shouted “Chinese b**ch” at me, fake coughed at, and physically threatened us. A few days later, we saw a news story about how the owner of Valley Brook Tea in DC was harassed and pepper-sprayed by the same man, calling him “Covid-19” repeatedly. (Annandale, VA)

  • These white males were walking toward me, moved into the street when they saw me, yelled, “Hey ch*nk!” and then spit at me. (College Station, TX)

These are just a few of thousands of incidents that have occurred over the past year. Organizations like Stop AAPI Hate were formed to help prevent crimes like this from happening, but unfortunately, they have not slowed down. Even personally as an Asian-American, I have experienced plenty of racism growing up:

  • When the Virginia Tech Massacre happened in 2006, I had multiple kids in my class in elementary school come up to me and say it was my fault and that I should be ashamed of myself for that happening.

  • All throughout grade school, I was asked if I was from North or South Korea.

Fortunately, throughout this pandemic, I am blessed to say that neither me nor my family has fell victim to these types of incidents and I hope that it continues to stay that way. Incidents like the one that happened yesterday in Atlanta, or the one that happened in Flushing, NY where a man told an Asian Woman to “Get the f*ck out of my way” and pushed her over causing multiple injuries, or in San Francisco, CA where an 84-Year Old Vietnamese man was shot and killed because he was an Asian man.

It’s a shame that in 2021 this is still a problem that we have in society and until people who can actually make a change step in to help stop this problem this will continue to go on, although the Biden administration just recently passed a new memorandum to help combat hate crimes against Asian-Americans. This is definitely a step in the right direction as it focuses on the root of the problems we are facing today.

One person or organization will not help make this problem go away, but I along with countless others will continue to fight to make sure the Asian community can finally feel a sense of peace within itself. We also need those responsible for these attacks to be held accountable as well.

Ways to help out the AAPI community:

  • If you or someone you know experiences a hate incident, you can go through Stop AAPI Hate to report the incident(s).

  • Help out by checking in with your Asian-American/Pacific Islander peers and letting them know that you are there for them and willing to help out in any way possible.

  • Support your local Asian businesses as they have been hit hard by the Pandemic. Even something as simple as donating/sending money to those businesses is very helpful.

  • If you are on Twitter, Instagram, or any other Social Media site, please be sure to use #StopAsianHate rather than #AsianLivesMatter. This is to keep from taking away from erasing and/or forgetting about the oppression of Black People during this time as well.

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