As anti-Asian hate crimes increase following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to call out hate against marginalized groups in our communities
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
This past Saturday, the evening before the Lunar New Year, 11 people were killed in a shooting at a Los Angeles dance club. The clientele of the ballroom, as well as the victims, primarily consisted of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people. And while this particular shooting is not believed to be racially motivated, it is a harrowing reminder of the violence and prejudice AAPI people face in the U.S. today.
Unfortunately, anti-AAPI sentiment in the U.S. is not new — in fact, it dates back to the 19th century. The Page Act of 1875, for example, made the immigration of East Asian women illegal and barred existing Chinese-American women from becoming citizens. Seven years later, the Chinese Exclusion Act also prevented Chinese men from acquiring citizenship. These laws were not repealed until the mid-1940s, around the same time President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was establishing Japanese-American internment camps during the Second World War.
Research published in 2022 found that anti-Asian hate crimes had increased by 339% in 2021. Pandemic-fueled prejudice, exacerbated by former President Donald Trump’s statements about COVID-19, has made many Asian Americans fear being threatened or physically attacked.
According to the Stop AAPI Hate National Report, harassment was by far the most common form of hate incidents in 2020. Just last year, a TikTok went viral in which two individuals were reviewing In-N-Out until they were harassed by a stranger for being Asian.
There have also been many racially motivated violent acts against AAPI people since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2021, eight people were killed at a spa in Atlanta, of which six were Asian women. Just this year, an 18-year-old student was stabbed multiple times while waiting for a bus in a “racially motivated incident.”
As we continue to feel the reverberations from Trump’s misinformation surrounding the pandemic, as well as the deep-rooted Asian hate present in our society, it has become clear that our government is not working effectively to stamp out anti-AAPI hate.
This year, the Lunar New Year, which is supposed to be a time of coming together, celebration and renewal, was marred by violence. Even though the shooting was not determined to be racially motivated, it did disproportionately affect AAPI people. This incident is a distressing reminder of our government’s repeated failure to support AAPI communities. We as the Editorial Board would like to express our support for these communities, and we encourage our readers to put pressure on legislators to pass laws that protect marginalized groups.
Stop AAPI Hate, a non-profit organization that gathers data on incidents of hate against AAPI people in the U.S., has released a set of state policy recommendations that they believe will help begin to address this problem in California.
But passing laws is only part of the equation. It’s just as important to address the underlying racism that accompanies many of these attacks. Stop AAPI Hate is also supporting efforts around the country to address anti-AAPI hate through education.
On a personal level, educating yourself through resources like those provided by Stop AAPI Hate, as well as calling out hate when you see it can help to make it clear that discrimination, in any of its forms, is not tolerated on our campus and in our community.
Written by: The Editorial Board