Written by Andrea Sison
In light of the pandemic, Asian hate crimes have increased. As COVID-19 was regarded as the “China Virus'' or the “Wuhan Virus,” many took their frustrations out on the Asian community. Although it cannot be wholly attributed to the government’s representation of the Corona Virus, mostly during the first occurence, it did catalyze the hate the AAPI community have received. The surge of the hate crimes happened in March and April of 2020, when COVID-19 started to get worse in America. This has left the Asian community in a constant state of wariness as attacks have been more frequent across the nation.
Everyone in the AAPI community is vulnerable, hate was shown to all ages and gender, elderly were attacked, kids bullied, many generalized Asian people and came to a conclusion that they were the cause of the spread of COVID-19. Although it did originate in China, the surge of cases everywhere cannot be blamed on Asian people. The spread came with the shortcomings of the government and everyone, not many took it seriously until it disrupted their own lives.
In a year’s span, 2019-2020, hate crimes have decreased overall by 7% BUT hate crimes towards Asians have increased by nearly 150%. Nearly 3,800 incidents of Asian hate were reported in 2020, significantly higher from 2019’s 2,600 reports. This data includes reports from March 19, 2020 to February 2021, almost 503 of the reported incidents took place in 2021 alone. 68.1% were verbal harassment, 20.5% were shunning, and the 3rd most common category being 11.1% was physical assault. These incidents included threats, discrimination, and harassment. Research saw a pattern, many targeted the women, the elderly, and the youth, this was concluded as they were the “weak” ones, the vulnerable, an easy target. Another conclusion with having many elderly attacks is because the elderly are now receiving their vaccines and are more often out and about, making them more vulnerable to encounters. Even with the high number of reports many believe that this isn’t all of it, many incidents still go unreported as they are dismissed.
In February 2021 a Chinese man walking home near the neighborhood in Manhattan’s Chinatown was stabbed, the perpetrator was charged with attempted murder but was not considered a hate crime as prosecutors determined that evidence was lacking in order to prove a racist motive. March 17 2021 , An elderly Asian woman in San Francisco was punched in the face. The attacker also attacked another elderly Asian man shortly before this incident. Week of March 7th 2021, an elderly Asian man was killed in Oakland by an ex-convict with a history of “victimizing elderly Asian people”, he was charged with murder. An elderly Asian man was killed in January in San Francison, the perpetrator pleaded not guilty after being charged with murder. March 16 2021 in Atlanta, 8 women were shot, 6 of them being of Asian descent, the attack was not condemened to be racially motivated, the attacker was said to be “having a bad day” and his actions were blamed on “sex addiction.” It was said that the women he killed were “a temptation that he wanted to eliminate,” he was charged with murder but this was also not charged as a hate crime.
In light of recent events, violence against the Asian community has been brought to the frontlines. Anti-Asian discrimination congressional hearing, a rare occurrence, is now held, many are advocating for the stop of hate towards the AAPI community. The recent events led to the voices of Asians being heard and amplified. Many are empowering and encouraging the AAPI community. Racism towards Asians are usually disregarded as it is such a common occurrence, making it a “normal” thing. This can be attributed to the model minority myth and Asians proximity to whiteness (Check out our post about the model minority myth for a deeper take!). Asians are viewed as successful and easygoing individuals, they have everything going for them. “Jokes” on Asians are usually dismissed, as this is not viewed as a racist act, when in reality these ideas are devaluing and limiting Asians. Although being part of the POC community, Asians are seen to be in close proximity with the Whites as society views them to have the same characteristics. Many are successful, economically and socially, with this, Asians are not seen as a vulnerable group, making the dismissal of hate actions towards them all that much easier.
It is time to stop with the generalization. It is time to acknowledge hate targeted to the Asian community. It is time to start with change. Time to speak up. Time to stand up. Stop AAPI hate.
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