Stop Anti-Asian Hate

by Allison Lam

The rise of Asian hate in America has recently become more prominent in society today, but when did it really start?

Some say it began with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. American citizens, whether it be ordinary people or those higher in power like the former president, Donald J. Trump, began to blame China for the rise of the virus. Soon after, people went after Asians living in America, blaming them for the spread of the virus in America. But, is this really where Asian hate began? Looking back in our history, Asian hate is something that has been going on for many years. One of the most noted Asian hate crimes was back in 1982, with the murder of Vincent Chin.

Vincent Chin was a Chinese American man, living in Michigan, who was murdered by two white autoworkers. Their reasoning? Because Japanese Americans were supposedly “taking all of their jobs.” Obviously, this was an Asian- American hate crime, and was known to be one of the first things to spark people to start rallying for justice against Asian hate.

With the crime being dated back all the way to the year of 1982, though, many young people today may never have heard of this happening. But for what reason? Is it simply because it was a long time ago? Or is it because people didn’t take it seriously enough?

There is evidence that Asian hate crimes in America have risen ever since the pandemic started. People were starting to blame China for the creation of the Coronavirus, making claims that they were the ones at fault and that the virus was made in a laboratory in China, or that people got them from eating bats from street vendors. This lead to Asian hate in America, citizens blaming Asian Americans for bringing the virus into the country and causing a catastrophic pandemic no one has ever seen before. It started out small, with people avoiding Asian Americans they see around them, avoiding Asian restaurants, and even glaring at them as they walk by. But this was only the beginning.

The advocacy group, Stop AAPI Hate, released statistics on data they had collected of Asian hate in America ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The report covers 3,795 incidents of Asian hate crimes starting from March 19th, 2020 to February 28th, 2021. According to the data, 68.1% of the discrimination against Asian Americans was verbal harassment, with 20.5% reported as shunning and 11.1% as physical assault. As bad as these incidents are, it is clear that the hate crimes do not end there.

On Tuesday, March 16th, eight women were found dead at an Atlanta, Georgia spa. Six of these women were Asian, leading to the public calling it an act of hate against Asian-Americans. The Atlanta police stated that it was unclear whether or not the murder was racially motivated, and were continuing to look into the matter. Many people were outraged. How was it that they were not sure if the murder was racially motivated? 6 out of the 8 women shot were Asian Americans. The shooter, Robert Aaron Long was known to have been to the spa before.

Thus began the beginning of #StopAsianHate. Of course, people had been advocating for the stop of Asian hate in America for much longer, but with the spa shooting in Atlanta, many people were done keeping silent. People of all ages began spreading the word, posting information about the shooting on social media, journalists and news channels sharing the story, and giving out the information. People began to rally and have gatherings, protesting for the protection of the lives of Asian Americans, and spreading the word on social media on where to donate to those in need, what people can do to help.

Despite the outcry, though, the attacks continued. On Wednesday, March 31st in Manhattan New York, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was assaulted in broad daylight outside of an apartment building. Through viewing surveillance footage, police arrested 38 year old Brandon Elliot. This was only one of the many known Asian hate crimes not only against an Asian American, but an elderly Asian American. According to the report from Stop AAPI Hate, around 6.2% of the population of those who experienced hate crimes were above the age of 60.

Asian hate crimes have risen in the past year, most likely due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic, though that wasn’t the beginning of the hate crimes against Asians in general, as seen with the murder of Vincent Chin back in 1982. Spreading the word, protecting those in need, and working together are essential to ending these acts of hate towards people of color all across the country.

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