By Benjamin Lee, Vicky Shan, Evelyn Shue, Robert Sun
An eighty-four-year-old Thai man assaulted in San Francisco, passing away days later.
A ninety-one-year-old Asian man shoved to the ground in Oakland.
A Filipino American man’s face slashed in New York.
A Korean American beaten in Los Angeles.
A fifty-two-year-old Asian woman pushed to the ground in Queens.
All committed within a short span of two months, these hate crimes contain one thing in common: anti-Asian hatred. Though racism against Asians is hardly a new occurrence, the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a torrent of anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes. The statistics are sobering: Stop AAPI Hate, a database created in response to the sharp increase in anti-Asian violence since the start of the pandemic, reported 2,808 instances of anti-Asian discrimination between March and December 2020. The NYPD found that hate crimes committed against Asians had jumped 1900% the same year.
Image source: https://laist.com/latest/post/20210224/california-state-funds-pandemic-hate-crimes-against-asian-americans
This spike in anti-Asian sentiment is largely attributed to the inflammatory and racist rhetoric of certain politicians regarding the origin of the coronavirus, including phrases like “the China virus” and “kung flu”. The latest pandemic-related attacks, however, encompass only a fraction of the racism that has existed against Asian Americans for centuries. The normalization of such racism, too, involves factors that run much deeper. A significant one is the model minority myth, which groups the Asian American populace under an umbrella of relative socioeconomic privilege. It allows people to minimize the struggles that Asian Americans face as BIPOC and glosses over violence committed against the community.
However, amidst growing calls for racial justice in the United States, this most recent surge in anti-Asian sentiment has raised more awareness for these attacks and revealed the long, ugly history that Asian Americans have with racism. More have begun to push against the prejudices held against Asian Americans, challenge the normalization of anti-Asian racism, and debunk falsehoods such as the model minority myth. News and media outlets have turned their attention towards this issue, recognizing it as one ignored for too long.
Thus, it is our hope that this outpouring of support for the Asian American community and increased awareness and intolerance of the racism that pervades our daily lives, will persist and manifest into action, creating a more equitable society for not just Asian Americans, but all groups in the United States.
You can find a spreadsheet with resources on how to support the Asian American community linked here.
This article was provided by the Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 19 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.