As disgusted as I am that we’re nearly a year into this pandemic, I’m even more so at the ongoing attacks against the Asian American community. While xenophobia towards Asian Americans is nothing new in this country, there’s been a spike in attacks over the past year in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases. From March 19th-December 31st of last year, Stop AAPI Hate had 2,808 reports of hate crimes collected (a thorough breakdown of this data can be found here).
In the lead up to the Lunar New Year, more cases have come about recently as elders of the Asian American community have been targeted. I’m ashamed at how several of them have been local to the Bay Area; one of which resulting in the death of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee. Elders are now scared of walking alone by themselves, in fear of meeting a similar fate.
There’s a lot to be said about what’s been going on, and the fact that the mainstream media has hardly covered this at all is infuriating. This needs to be covered more thoroughly by more widely known outlets, in order to inform everyone that this is happening and for people to take it more seriously.
Of the reports that have been happening recently, several of them have been committed by Black people. Do those individuals who committed these attacks need to be held accountable? Yes. However, what has been happening in my community is not an excuse to turn to anti-Black rhetoric. There’s been an ongoing history of indifference between the two communities and by giving into that behavior, especially after the turning point the Black Lives Matter movement reached this past year, will help no one.
There are a number of differences in experiences our communities have been through in the past and present in this country. However, there is a single underlying factor in them all that we need to remember. Slavery, segregation, police killings, anti-immigration laws, incarceration camps, the model minority myth… they’re all byproducts of white supremacy; a system that needs to end. Asian Americans, I know that last year feels like a century ago, but remember that the higher up who okayed the usage of terms like “Chinese virus” was a white supremacist, and he’s currently on trial for igniting an insurrection against the Capitol last month.
Consider this round of Recommended Analyzing required. Apart from watching the videos I listed when I first addressed this issue last year, I also am suggesting you read this article Rolling Stone just came out with where it breaks down exactly what’s been going on and how you can help.
But don’t just stop there. Do your own research. Show your support. Check in on any Asian American friends or family you have in your life and see how they’re doing. Call out anti-Asian crimes. Hold the individuals responsible for these attacks accountable without throwing an entire community under the bus. To the mainstream news outlets out there: Do better in covering these crimes. It shouldn’t just be on us to call these attacks out and work to end them.
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