Stop Asian Hate movement gains traction as violence against Asian Americans increase

Marissa Ortiz, Staff Writer

Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak hit the United States, the Asian community has been under increasing attack. With the virus reported to have originated from China, many people of Asian descent have been blamed and targeted for creating and spreading the virus in the United States. 

Discrimination against Asian Americans has been a prominent issue in an America with a long history of xenophobia in culture and legislation. With the Covid-19 pandemic, this hate has only been exacerbated.

According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, CSUSB, anti-Asian hate crimes are up 145 percent from last year even though overall hate crimes have dropped 6 percent.  New York is apparently the epicenter of this incidences.  According to the NYPD, in 2019, only three cases of attacks on Asians were reported in New York City, but in 2020, that number rose to 28 people.

“I honestly feel really disheartened with what is currently going on, especially since I feel like the anger in these attacks are misplaced,” expressed junior Kim Ho, one of the ASU presidents here at Central. “When I see these news articles about the attack, especially on elderly people, I don’t understand why these things are happening when they are not causing any trouble or harm.”

More and more people in the Asian community are enduring violent acts of vandalism towards their workplace and harm to their families. Hate has come in all types of forms like online, verbal and physical abuse, and even murder. On March 16, in Atlanta, Georgia, there was a shooting in a spa which resulted in eight people being killed, and out of those eight people, six were women of Asian descent. It is suspected that the shooter was racially motivated. A day after this incident, a 75-year-old woman was assaulted in San Francisco, and on March 21, three separate attacks occurred in New York City. A 54-year-old man was hospitalized because of an attack, a 41-year-old person was attacked from behind, and a 37-year-old female was assaulted on the way to a protest. All of these victims were members of the Asian American communities.

 There are many speculations from the Asian community on where this hate is originating, believing that the hate was fueled by former President Donald Trump, who referred to the virus as the “China virus” and “Kung flu.”

“Using the phrase ‘Kung Flu’ probably [isn’t] going to drum up the best of memories among many Asian Americans,” said Forbes senior contributor Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor and tech entrepreneur. “And it certainly won’t help with the fact that Asian Americans have been facing coronavirus-related discrimination and attacks even though they had little to do with the pandemic.”

In response to the rise in attacks, the Stop Asian American Hate Movement was created to support the Asian community and influence lawmakers to make changes. Organized by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University, the movement aims to, “track and respond to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.”

Part of reducing this violence is dismantling harmful stereotypes that have been placed on Asian Americans for years. Names like “China Doll” or “Dragon Lady” portray a negative image of Asian women throughout the years. For example, NBC Bay Area reporters Noreen O’Donnell and Zijia Eleanor Song wrote that the harassment towards Asian women comes from the “sexual stereotypes about Asian American women as exotic and submissive.”

“Unfortunately, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders often are invisible to the public. Or, where we are visible, it falls into a couple of different stereotypes,” John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) told CNN. “One stereotype is the so-called ‘model minority’ — the suggestion that there are no issues that really affect the Asian American community.”

On April 19, 2021, Asian American women and survivors of sexual assault held a protest in Austin, Texas for the Stop Asian Hate Movement. Jinny Suh, who is running to represent District 25 in the Texas Senate, went to the protest as a volunteer and shared her story about her upbringing in a society that was based on stereotypes and discrimination.

“I have vivid memories of doing things like going to school with a very Korean lunch, and having kids make fun of the things I was drinking and the things I was eating, and coming home in tears over that,” Suh explained. 

The Stop AAPI Hate Movement also has goals to have better political representation, protection, and an expansion of Asian American history in education. 

Some representatives, senators, and officials that are of Asian descent have been attempting to help the issue and make a difference in their community. For example, Judy Chu, a U.S. Representative in California, is pushing for both the Not Hate Act and Covid-19 Hate Act to be passed to ensure safety in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Additionally, Tammy Duckworth, a senator in Illinois, threatened to vote against the Biden Administration regarding non-white nominees until Asian Americans were represented better, which led to the white house reassuring her that they are working on doing a better job.

Support has even come from the White House itself. During Biden’s first week in office, he signed a memorandum that prohibited xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. On March 19th, Biden urged Congress to pass the Covid-19 Hate Act which aims for the justice system to pay close attention to hate crimes related to Covid-19. This makes hate crime information more accessible for the Asian American community.  The House of Representatives passed this bill 364-62, with all 62 Republicans voting against it.  The bill then faced another win in the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 94-1, with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri being the only member to vote against it.

Many Asian-American celebrities are also using their platforms to bring awareness and help the fight against racism. K-pop idol, Eric Nam, who was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, spoke out to Time Magazine and CNN about his anger and concerns about the actions and hate toward his community. He talks about his experience with racism and how he felt as though he was a stranger in a country that is meant to be the land of opportunity.

“We wanted to fit in. And yet—our hair was different, our homes didn’t speak English, and because we were not of the majority, many of us felt that we should just be thankful. It wasn’t their fault,” Eric Nam wrote for TIME magazine. “We should have easier names. We shouldn’t speak in our parents’ languages. We shouldn’t bring our snacks to school, because your teacher will ask to try it, feign disgust and throw it away in front of your laughing peers, as happened to me once. ‘Yan Yan in the can can,’ she said to me.”

Sandra Oh, Golden Globe-winning actor, went to a stop Asian hate protest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to stand up for the fact that she is “proud to be Asian”. Lana Condor, Charles Melton, Gemma Chan, and even K-pop groups like Got7 and BTS are also using their voice to take a stand and stop the hate against Asians.

“I would like for people to know that this is a major and prominent issue going on and more attention has to be placed on this vital issue,” addressed an ASU president, Michelle Qi. “I would like for people to stop judging any person for their skin color and stop falsely blaming Asians for this virus.”

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