The recent Atlanta spa shootings has brought about a nationwide discussion on the issue of anti-Asian hate crimes. These events warrant a deeper look into how the Covid-19 pandemic generated a series of racism, previous examples of Asian discrimination, the medias influence, and why Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders receive so much disrespect.
The Coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, and for this reason more events and hate crimes have occured from people blaming the virus on those with Asian ethnicity. Even though this claim is extremely preposterous, police department statistics have proven that the Covid-19 pandemic created a rise in Asian racism.
“Chinese Virus” is a term often used by former president, Donald Trump and other government officials. This phrase may have perpetuated the impression that Asians are to blame for the pandemic.
From a psychological stand point, people want someone to assign blame to feel in control. This is a normal but flawed and often unproductive way of handling fear and stress.
Control includes the ability to explain why things happen. And pointing fingers at an easy scapegoat can sometimes provide the answers we need to regain control.[Quote Source: The Conversation]
Atlanta Spa Shootings
March 16, 2021 eight people were murdered in the Atlanta area. Robert Aaron Long has been charged with eight counts of murder along with one aggravated assault. The families of the victims have not yet received closure, and Long’s court date has not been set.
Out of the eight victims, all but one were women, and six of those women, Asian. Long denies that the murders were race-influenced, and claims they were to control his self proclaimed “sexual addiction.” With 75% of the victims Asian, many question whether it could really just be a coincidence?
Recognizing the names of the spa shooting victims
- Xiaojie Tan, 49
- Daoyou Feng, 44
- Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
- Paul Andre Michels, 54
- Yong Ae Yue, 63
- Soon Chung Park, 74
- Suncha Kim, 69
- Hyun Jung Grant, 51
The United States Department of Justice defines hate crimes as: A crime motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
Focusing specifically on this definition, the Atlanta spa shootings is a hate crime whether considered race or gender influenced. Many outside opinions believe the murder’s claims, deny that it had nothing to do with race, and therefor brushing Asian hate crimes under the rug.
What many people fail to realize is that racism and sexism go hand in hand. It is no question that Asian women are hypersexualized. Dating back to the Korean War’s high demand for Asian sex workers amongst the U.S. Military, to todays Japanese school girls fetishizations. Found in certain animes, mangas, and video game simulations.
The way their race intersects with their gender makes Asian and Asian American women uniquely vulnerable to violence, said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the non-profit advocacy group National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.[Quote Source: CNN]
The people that don’t believe race was a factor are claiming that we shouldn’t focus on one single ethnic group because all women experience this too. To tackle the issue of lascivious behavior, focusing on a few particular groups at a time, and not all at once, allows for a more thorough investigation. No one should feel that their race was glossed over or didn’t receive enough awareness.
Other Examples of Asian Racism
As disheartening as it is that we needed to include a list of Asian discrimination to prove that this is not a “phase” or a “trend” it’s crucial. Otherwise, some people will still believe that AAIP racism is not a real problem. These acts of violence are all around us and should not be ignored.
- May, 2013 Columbia University football player, Chad Washington allegedly harassed two females leaving a dorm with their male, Asian friend. The friend noticed, and attempted to defend the girls. Washington then called the victim Asian slurs, and shoved him against a wall.
- October, 2019 Randy Santos, 24 was walking around New York City China Town and murdered four men with a 15 pound metal lead pipe. One man left unidentifiable.
- May, 2017 Asian American, NBA player, Jeremy Lin speaks out about receiving many Asian slurs from opposing fans, players, and coaches while apart of the NCAA. Lin addressed fans commenting about his eye shape and stereotypes. Officials heard the remarks and nothing was ever done about it.
- August, 2017 a Manhattan Waitress was fired for leaving a racist remark on an Asian woman’s to go order receipt. “Ching-Chong” was written in place of the woman’s name.
The incident has been brought about a lot of publicity, and therefore people from all over the world can share their views. Not all response has been unthoughtful and rude. Most of the internet has taken the time to spread positivity and uplift the Asian community that has been terribly hurt.
Many celebrities with AAIP ethnicity have used the recent popularity and media focus to their advantage. Taking the opportunity to express their opinions on Asian suppression.
I will no longer remain silent about my lived experience. Domestic terrorism and hate-driven violence have plagued our nation and continue to do so. What’s clear in all of this is the rampant violence against Asian people.‘Riverdale’s’ Charles Melton, 30 [Quote Source: The Variety]
Your Asian friends and family are deeply scared, horrified, sick to their stomachs and wildly angry. Please please please check in on us, please please please stand with us.‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ star Lana Condor, 23 [Quote Source: Teen Vogue]
Sadly, racism isn’t an over night fix. We all need to pitch in, be more respectful, and truly listen to the views of others careful to not force our own opinions upon anyone. If you or someone you know has experienced a anti-Asian hate crime please visit NAPABA and report the incident.
Its never to late to make a change.