By Hanna Yamato
In March 2020, an Asian-American family including a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old was viciously stabbed by a teenager in a grocery store located in Texas. On March 10 2021, a 75-year-old Asian man was both assaulted and robbed in Oakland, California. As anti-Asian hate crimes continue to rise, it is evident that nothing has changed over the course of this past year.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have significantly spiked. According to NBC News, in the year of 2020 alone, hate crimes targeting Asians increased by 150% (compared to 2019), with more than 3,000 hate crimes reported. These violent attacks mainly stem from the xenophobic rhetoric that associates the COVID-19 pandemic with Asian-Americans. Simply put, Asian-Americans are far too often accused of “bringing” and “spreading” the virus, which can partially be attributed to former President Donald Trump’s foible of blaming the virus on China, and even going as far as calling it the “Chinese virus” during an interview in March 2020.
Moreover, it is absolutely paramount to know that discrimination against Asians and Pacific Islanders is not anything new—in fact, decades of racism against Asians throughout the United States have led to this surge of hate crimes. While these incidents can range anywhere from verbal abuse through racial slurs, to brutal murder, all of them have a synonymous goal: to impose fear amongst Asian-Americans across the U.S. It essentially spreads the message that no Asian-American is safe, regardless of age, or which city you live in. A simple morning walk around the neighborhood or a trip to the grocery store can result in something life-ending.
While there are many ways in which advocates, politicians, and youth activists are rebuilding the Asian-American community, one of the most salient measures involve educating the rest of American society on why racism against Asian-Americans is oftentimes overlooked and hard to be recognized. Stewart Kwoh, the president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Los Angeles), asserts that “Asians have had a harder time proving racism in a large part because, in general, people still don’t know the history and struggles of Asian Americans.” This major obstacle that Asian-Americans have had to face on an everyday basis is caused by the huge force known as the model minority myth—a cultural expectation toward the entire Asian demographic that every individual is/grows to be smart, wealthy, hard-working, and achieves a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the societal average. Progressing American society forward would primarily have to involve dispelling this myth and breaking this common stereotype. Along with raising awareness and speaking up, everyone must work together as an entire community, to hopefully advance toward an equitable society.
Here is a list with some organizations you can donate to help make a difference:
Stop AAPI Hate: https://donate.givedirect.org/?cid=14711
Asian Pacific Fund: https://asianpacificfund.org/make-an-impact/covid19-recovery-fund/
Asian Mental Health Project: https://www.gofundme.com/f/asian-mental-health-project
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund: https://www.aaldef.org/about/
Complete List of Resources: