Why are hate crimes against Asian Americans on the rise?

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There aren’t many headlines or news anti-Asian hate crimes now, compared to what was shown during the height of the pandemic – but attacks and insults are still happening in different parts of the country.

National coalition Stop the Asian Pacific Islander hate tracked 11,500 hate incidents from March 2020 to March 2022. the beginning of the pandemic, Asians were scapegoated and unfairly blamed for COVID-19. It is true that the Chinese government silenced its doctors and kept the outbreak a secret from the rest of the world, but some of the blame lay with ordinary citizens.

“We must call on this government. But at the same time, we absolutely must be clear that we are concerned about the government, not the people,” said John S. Young, president and CEO of Americans Asian Advancing Justice. .

Politicians such as former President Donald Trump have publicly blamed China and continued to use radicalized terms such as “Wuhan virus” and “Chinese virus” to describe COVID-19. The World Health Organization has warned that these conditions can lead to racial profiling and stigma. After Trump’s first tweet about the “Chinese virus”, the number of anti-Asian hashtags increased. But activists say that anti-Asian hatred did not start with the pandemic.

“A political party, the Workers’ Party, was created in California. The main goal was to get rid of the Chinese. So there was violence,” said Stuart Khaw, co-founder of the Asian American Education Project.

Howe is referring to the American labor organization founded in San Francisco in 1877. Five years later, anti-Asian sentiment led to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act. It was the first and only federal law to prohibit immigration to persons of a particular nationality.

Experts say Asian-Americans as perpetual foreigners and treated as “others” continue today with dangerous consequences.

“No matter how long we’ve been in the United States, whether we were born here or not, we’re treated as foreigners,” Yang said.

During World War II, Japanese Americans, men, women, and children were rounded up and put into internment camps. They were imprisoned for three years, property and personal belongings were taken away.

“No Japanese American has ever been convicted of espionage for Japan,” Howe said.

Then, when the Twin Towers fell in 2001, South Asians and Muslim Americans were targeted. It doesn’t matter if they were born here.

“Hundreds of South Asian and Muslim-Americans have been singled out, mistreated, and some killed in the wave of Islamophobia since 9/11,” Howe said.

Janelle Wong, a professor of American studies at the University of Maryland, said anti-Asian hatred has been known to resurface during times of crisis in the U.S.

“It’s a cyclical thing that’s always under the surface, but it comes up at times when the U.S. feels threatened,” Wong said.

During a pandemic, experts say one way to combat hate is through education.

“You’re getting in the way of making sure people understand that Asian Americans are Americans, they’re part of the fabric of our history,” Yang said.

The Asian American Education Project aims to train teachers and teach this history in every public school from kindergarten through 12th grade. Currently, five states have passed mandatory Asian American a requirement of history.

“Asian American history is American history. Let me repeat that one more time. Asian American history is American history. You don’t understand significant parts of American history — if you don’t understand Asian American history,” Howe said.

A surge in anti-Asian hatred has led to a resurgence and rise of Asian American activism. In the 1980s, there was no justice for Vincent Chin, who was killed in a brutal racial attack in Detroit due to rising tensions over Japanese car imports.

Contrast that with the response to the 2021 mass murder of eight people — mostly Asian women — at massage parlors in metro Atlanta.

“The fact that President Biden went to Atlanta with the vice president almost immediately after the Atlanta murders, and that within months of the passage of hate crime legislation against Asian Americans — black power, Asian power ” – said Ian.

“One of the most exciting forms of activism that has emerged in the last two years is the interest of Asian American youth in telling their own stories,” Wang said.

Chicago hosted its first-ever Blasian March, a coalition of activists opposing Asian hate and Black Lives Matter.

“I think being black and being black Asian is incredibly powerful because, you know, so often society tries to divide us and separate us. But you can’t separate me. You know, I’m living proof that we can coexist,” said Rohan, founder of the Blasian March.

“We can come together as a black and Asian and Asian community to come together and just understand our differences and just celebrate our interconnectedness and our history together,” said Kate Ventrino, organizer of the Chicago Blasian March.

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