How distressing is it to know that I started writing this blog about a month ago with hopes of releasing later on in May, to have to prioritize this blog above all others?
Well, this is America.
In the United States; “melting pot of cultures”. The land of the free and home of the brave. Leader of the Free World. This is how we treat our communities. We discriminate, we profile, we slander, we abuse members of our community for superficial characteristics. Just the other day, a Republican Congressman Chip Roy gaslit the alarming rise of hate crimes against Asians in the U.S. by remarking, “We believe in justice. Alright, there’s an old saying in Texas about, you know, find all the longest rope In Texas and get a tall oak tree.” Yup, that’s a reference to lynching during a hearing about this exact Anti-Asian violence topic I’m discussing.
It’s true. As the pandemic continues to press through the globe, we find that many Asians and Asian-Americans are targeted to hate crimes and violence. This is not restricted just to Chinese and Chinese-Americans, no. Racists, xenophobes and other members of the family of ignorance and incompetence couldn’t bother to differentiate the difference because they couldn’t label the continent of Asia on a map, or never mind name more than five countries in Asia. Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Korens, Nepalese, Singaporeans, and more have also been harassed for their race.
Don’t be fooled– This kind of behavior has always existed. Remember the Japanese internment camps? They were prison labor camps for Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. Executive Order 9066 affected the lives of nearly 117,000 Americans, which soon spiraled into analogous adaptations in the West; from Canada down to Peru. If history has taught us anything, it’s that hateful rhetoric can be contagious and virulent, especially when politics are involved.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States in March 2020, it fueled a string of Asian racism. The stress of this unknown virus intensified the situation, yes, but there were always microaggressions. Microaggressions are discreet, modernized ways to be racist since it’s technically outlawed. It can be just as harmful and much more difficult to eradicate.
Asians in the United States have always been stereotyped for their intelligence, intensity, ability to speak English, frugality, occupation, sensuality and more. I don’t know if the violence against Asians worsened, or if social media exposed the issue. At the start of the pandemic, some Chinese restaurants were even boycotted. It’s ludicrous for a number of reasons, especially considering that the Asians in the U.S. were not to blame for the outbreak. At all. If we were to place generalized blame whenever a disastrous event in history occurred, the world would never progress.
Now we have the recent shooting in Atlanta by a police officer suffering from a severe case of racism and white supremacy with uncontrollable side effects of murdering Asians for no reason. In the video below, you have Captain Baker from the Sheriff’s Office in Atlanta dismiss the severity of the crimes committed by a member of his department, citing that he has a “bad day” during a continuous strife with his inner demons– his fetishization of Asian women. This same man had also uploaded an anti-Asian post on Facebook, with a photograph of some t-shirts that read, “COVID 19 – Imported Virus from CHYNA”.
Throwing around the term, “China Virus” threatened the safety of millions of Asians around the world. It alienates and ostracizes an entire collection of people, regardless as to whether they identify as a part of that community. It fosters a breeding ground for falsehoods and fake news. It can take generations longer to undo the damage here. Although stunted with a limited vocabulary, Trump made sure to smear this xenophobic ideology hatred wherever possible, regardless of its relevancy.
Although Donald Trump is no longer president, he left behind such a tainted legacy. He left office with the country in shambles. His loyalists remain committed to him, and the extremists of Trump loyalists are continuing with their bigoted aggression. Trump has eluded to this dated ideology that one race is superior to the other, and that those with opposing views or differing upbringings are working to uproot the pillars of the Constitution. It’s dangerous, and harmful for the safety, reputation and integrity of the United States. The very nature of Trump’s reign was unconstitutional.
We know that anyone who prompts a physical altercation to a single member of an ethnic or racial group in response to a global crisis (such as the COVID 19 pandemic), especially toward vulnerable elderly populations, are cowards.
In the United States however, we don’t charge for the crime, we perform a white assessment of the situation to determine the severity of the charges. Everyone vouches for a principled, civil and just system to wipe out “the bad guys” committing unspeakable crimes until it actually comes down to… admitting the bad guys committed unspeakable crimes you don’t feel comfortable speaking about, such as the sensitive topic of racism. We know racism exists, and has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years and yet, some find it inconceivable that prejudicial generations past could ever promulgate or impose their dated, bigoted ideals forward.
This isn’t a joke. According to the AAPI, there were 3,8000 anti-Asian incidents in the past year, mostly against women. (this number has risen during this year). There have been reports from all 50 states, and even in most liberal of cities in the country, like San Francisco and New York City
Sometimes I worry that the consistent string of violence numbs everyone. This can be one of the greatest threats to stopping this madness. The victims are people with goals and aspirations. They have families who are deeply affected by the loss of such a senseless act of violence. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a loved one in such a manner, and I hope I never do. This breaks my heart.
The more I dissect the situation, the more phantom it all feels. The absurdity of it all is sickening.
There isn’t an excuse for this kind of behavior. It’s not a mental health issue.
Call it what it is– Racism.
What can you do to help?
- Contact your local and state representatives demanding support and adequate action against perpetrators of hate. If you find that your representative is cowering away from responsibility of protecting our Asian peers, remind them that their incumbency only lasts as long as the people are satisfied.
- Donate to some organizations aiding Asian families affected by violence across the country, such as the Asian American Advancing Justice nonprofit.
- Donate to organizations that advocates for victims of sexual violence in Asian communities, such as the National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence.
- Be an ally. Report any and incidents of harassment. Do not intervene if unsafe, or incite further violence. Record on your phone if possible, and do you best to draw attention to the scene and call for help.