• Natalia Khiev

Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate

Growing up as part of the Asian-American community I’ve become normalized to all of the “harmless” jokes. The eye-pulling, the “you eat dogs” talk, the “ching-chongs,” and the typical stereotypes. Even if I specifically wasn’t the target of these, it’s engraved in my mind that this may be expected with every person I meet. Needless to say, it’s not surprising nor fazing to me anymore. Isn’t it strange how most of us are used to it by now? Isn’t it crazy how the subtle discriminative jokes aren’t more shamed upon? Isn’t it unbelievable how Asian discrimination is only now being spotlighted in the news?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in Wuhan, China, the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community (AAPI) have increasingly been the target of racist attacks and xenophobic rhetoric. Referring to the TIME article, “Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are on the Rise. Many Say More Policing Isn’t the Answer” by Cady Lang, the world is witnessing hate crimes such as:

  • Thai, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee being aggressively “shoved to the ground while taking his morning walk in San Francisco; just two days after the assault, he died.”

  • “64-year-old Vietnamese grandmother who was assaulted and robbed in San Jose, California” in broad daylight after withdrawing $1000 in preparation for Lunar New Year.

  • Noel Quintana, a “61-year-old Filipino man whose face was slashed with a box cutter on a New York City subway.”

  • “91-year-old man who was caught on camera being thrown to the ground in Oakland Chinatown.” The same suspect also attacked another 60-year-old man and 55-year-old woman as well.

These are only a few of the 2,500+ anti-Asian hate crimes that have been reported in the last year. However, many assaults go unreported because a lot of the older victims don’t want to cause more trouble, leaving them with no justice.

You may think that this type of behavior towards Asian-Americans is new. It’s not. Racism against the Asian community has been real for many decades. It did not begin because of COVID-19 -- COVID-19 just worsened it. People think that because they didn’t hear of any scenarios in the past that it isn’t true, but just because it wasn’t brought to light doesn’t mean that it wasn’t happening. The Asian-American community had been silently struggling against racism and this meant that we had to work so much harder for it to be recognized. In Lang’s article, racial justice educator Bianca Mabute Louie stated, “There is a stereotype and an assumption that Asian Americans have class privilege, that they have high socioeconomic status and education, and that any discrimination doesn’t really happen or feel legitimate.” This is the “model minority myth” where Asian-Americans are believed to not have had the same struggles as other ethnic minorities because we have “succeeded” in America. The model minority myth is a stereotype, and as we all know, a stereotype is not what defines every person in that labeled group. Racism towards Asians deserved to be recognized a long time ago, not just now when our community is publicly being violently and verbally attacked due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These attacks have especially been increasing in the Bay area of California including: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Working to prevent another violent incident, police and citizens are walking around patrolling the streets. Not only that but it has gotten to a point where the police have formed a specific task force to respond to these situations. In light, celebrities, social media influencers, and artists part of the AAPI community have spoken out on the violence. This has brought awareness to many people around the world and society is working to bring an end to anti-Asian hate crimes. In addition, those that feel unsafe walking around in Oakland’s Chinatown can request a chaperone or volunteer to help chaperone from an online website, created by a local, named Compassion in Oakland.

Not to mention the recent shootings that occurred in Atlana, Georgia where six of the eight victims were of Asian descent. Police had arrested the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, but continued to use his excuse that his actions were “sexually motviated” rather than racially motivated and that he was having a “bad day.” In my opinion, this is extremely hard to believe due to the fact that all three of the spas Long targeted were Asian-owned and that most of his victims were of the Asian community. It is not right in any type of way to excuse this behavior because someone had a “bad day.” Robert Long lost any credibility for anyone to take his empty words. We honor all eight victims: Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Yong Ae Yue, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, and Daoyou Feng. As well as Elcias Hernandez-Ortiz who survived the tragic shooting but is in intensive care.

I, personally, am very scared. This is what fazes me and so many other people of the AAPI community. I’m angry as well but it does not exceed the fear of my very own people being attacked for something we had no control of. I look at my grandparents and I don’t want them to ever go out again because they are at a very large risk of becoming victims themselves. They’ve done nothing wrong to deserve that. None of the victims of hate crimes ever deserved that and it’s sad for me to say that most minority children are given that “talk” about being careful nowadays. It is incredibly heartbreaking to see what is happening to my community and I flinch every time I watch the videos capturing those violent actions. Whatever could possess a person to do such a thing to someone is beyond my comprehension of understanding. It’s disgustingly unacceptable. We are not a virus.

Sources:

Twitter Thread for Information:

Compassion in Oakland Website:





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