Staff editorial: Asian Americans targeted by increased hate crimes


#stopasianhate has been a frequently used hashtag for others to stand in solidarity with Asian Americans. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

TPT staff

From verbal harassment to physical assault, Asian Americans have been targeted relentlessly since COVID-19 emerged. In the past year alone, hate against Asian Americans has increased by nearly 150%, in part due to the anti-Chinese discrimination skyrocketing during the pandemic. Although there is no evidence indicating that the risk of contracting coronavirus is higher from Asian Americans, this hasn’t stopped people from using this to justify their despicable acts of racism.

Several shootings occurred at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia on March 16, resulting in eight people dead, six of which were Asian. In protest, the hashtag “#StopAsianHate” soon gained traction, highlighting the issues of Asian Americans and spreading them across social media.

Of course, racism against Asians in America is nothing new. Since the arrival of Asian laborers in the late 19th century, Asians have faced rejection from many. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War ll are only two examples of the long-standing history of anti-Asian discrimination in the U.S. 

The resurgence of hate crimes only echoes these past events, emphasizing the lack of significant progress that has been made in the acceptance of Asian Americans as Americans. Once again, America has found a scapegoat. Instead of uniting together, people have decided to turn on one another and pin the blame on another minority group. In America, this has been a recurring trend: capitalizing on a tragedy and finding a group to fault. Assaulting an Asian American will not help stop COVID-19, but will instead create even more division in this already divided country. 

However, recent initiatives in response to this hate provides a glimpse of hope for coexistence and inclusion.

On April 14, the Senate passed a bill named the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to address the sharp rise in discrimination and violence against the Asian American community. According to The New York Times, the bill will make it easier to review and report anti-Asian hate crimes, as well as mitigate the use of racially discriminatory language related to the pandemic.

Spikes in anti-Asian hate have been undeniable in the past year alone, especially along the west coast, with Los Angeles experiencing over double the amount of hate crimes mostly against women and elderly Asian Americans. 

These attacks have sparked increased support for the Asian American community, with many volunteering to reduce the risk of further crimes. An organization called Compassion in Oakland has recruited hundreds of volunteers to accompany seniors in San Francisco and Oakland’s Chinatowns after videos of anti-Asian hate crimes went viral. Similar organizations are also raising awareness of this ongoing issue and are providing necessary opportunities for Americans to step up and denounce discrimination. 

Everyone should take the steps to express empathy for Asian Americans and educate themselves and others on these issues instead of brushing them off. By reporting crimes and educating others on Asian American struggles, hopefully we can put an end to all this nonsensical hate. 

Donate to the AAPI Community Fund to directly support targeted Asian American communities.

Report anti-Asian hate crimes at Stop AAPI Hate.