Stop Asian Hate Crimes: Covid-19 the Cause or the next big Anti – Asian Excuse?

Terrorism on one’s skin, one’s culture, one’s race does exist.

Source: There Is a Huge Increase in Anti-Asian Hate Crime in the US

Anti Asian Propaganda Pre-Covid

Common in Asian American societies, lighter skin and sharper eyes define math grades, show the sign of “definite ability” to play an instrument professionally, and claim that Asians should remain in Chinatown, secluded in their own disciplined boring lives of hardship. Now to make matters worse, this seclusion has progressed a step further: Covid-19 creates a new can of cussing and discrimination.

The young being spat on, the old shoved to the ground, the capable smashed and set on fire; all these are literal examples of the remorseless uneducated wrongdoings of the rest of the western society against the Asians. It all boils down to the simple reason of somebody claiming Asians as kicking off the Kung Flu.

A Brief History of Hate

Racism is not an uncommon word. Spoken by many, partially recognised, and oftentimes leaving certain groups of people feeling just as misunderstood as the word itself may sometimes be. Specifically, hate crimes against Asians, particularly in the West, are not just some fresh movement for everyone to jump the bandwagon and wave their self-righteous flags. It is and has always been a growing pandemic on its own. 

The earliest form of such a hateful pandemic spewing in the West occurred in 1875 where the first restrictive federal immigration law in the United States effectively banned Chinese women from entering the country. Not too long after, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned all forms of immigration specifically from China, and this was inclusive of men and women. The premise for this act was “to end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women”. To further aid this exclusion, the American Medical Association also believed in that time, that immigrants originating from China “carried distinct germs to which they were immune, but from which whites would die if exposed”.

Despite fully knowing what the effects of such an act would have on the American economy let alone the Chinese economy, as well as Chinese labourers who truly intended to pursue jobs in America and their families, this act carried on for a whopping 30 years. Quoting directly from George Anthony Peffer, the author of the Forbidden Families: Emigration Experiences of Chinese Women under the Page Law, 1875-1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was successful in transforming Chinese immigrants into a “declining immigrant group, it was the Page Law that exacerbated the problem of life without families in America’s Chinatowns”.

For years, Asian Americans have felt like outsiders in the very country they call their home. For years, there have been seeds of racism and hate planted in every casual interaction. Hence, it almost comes as no surprise to see such forms of microaggression amplified into something so much more alarming. No clearer lens could be used to see this distinct and absolutely disgusting discrimination that has since evolved into something far more lethal and grotesque: Hate crimes against Asians of all ages, fueled by the apparent blame of the ‘Chinese Virus’ placed on China.

Statistics from the AAPI Hate Reporting center shows the types of abuse Asian Americans are subjected to below:

Since 2020, NBC News has reported up to a whopping 150% rise in Anti-Asian Hate crimes. However it was also observed that due to the lack of chances to social interaction these days, the number of verbal and physical assaults have reduced during Covid 19. Yet the relentless bullying took its form on the Internet.

Celebrities speaking up against the Anti-Asian Agencies

With media abundant and hate a many, a simple ‘No hate Bill’ and Covid 19 Hate Crimes Act could have easily patched up the already bleeding wound of racism. Yet, with reference to the absolute FAILURE of this new law initiative, Daniel Dae Kim (producer of The Good Doctor and actor) said in his own virtue:

“I was disheartened to find that for a bill that required no money or resources, just a simple condemnation of acts of hate against people of Asian descent, 164 members of Congress, all Republicans voted against it. And now here I am again, because as every witness in this hearing has pointed out, the situation has gotten worse, much worse.”

Ashley Park from Emily of Paris Netflix film also posted a heart-wrenching self-declaration to spread awareness about how much it pained her to see Asian Hate taking its malicious form which currently continues to affix the business and social hardships faced by those whose face features determine their acceptance in the world.

Her Instagram short 5 minute video is linked here:

Other Asian celebrities and position holders have since spoken up such as Pachinko author Min Jin Lee, Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka as well as John Cho who starred in Star Trek.

Combating Hate

In the wake of countless murders of Asians all over America, the Senate of the United States has recently passed a bill to fight anti-Asian hate crimes. This bill aims to provide a rubric for local law enforcement agencies to investigate hate crimes, expand public education campaigns as well as to fight discriminatory language when discussing issues pertaining to the pandemic. Groups like Stop AAPI Hate and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies have been encouraging the public to educate themselves on the matter at hand and for survivors or victims of assault and discrimination to come forward and speak out on their experiences. It is the hope of the U.S. government and in the best interest of the people for this bill to hopefully put an end to such xenophobic demonstrations.

Donations, petitions, resources have all been distributed to aid this push for equality. However, the fight for true racial equality is far from over and it is simply the tip of the iceberg in an attempt to unlearn a generation’s worth of racist mindsets.

References: 

  1. https://www.augustman.com/my/culture/events/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-stop-asian-hate-movement/ 
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56218684 
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/anti-asian-hate-crimes-increased-nearly-150-2020-mostly-n-n1260264 
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/18/us/racism-sexism-atlanta-spa-shooting.html
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Page_Act_of_1875#CITEREFPeffer1986
  6. https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-history-of-anti-asian-american-violence
  7. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-senate-passes-bill-fight-anti-asian-hate-crimes-2021-04-22/

Written by: Hannah, Twis

Edited by: Wu Wen Qi

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