Increase in Asian American Hate Crimes

By: Sarah Yi — Editor-in-Chief

Recent attacks and hate crimes toward Asian Americans have led to many protests around the nation. This hate and targeted violence is not new but has increased a significant amount with the Coronavirus pandemic. 

According to USA Today, “about 17% of Asian Americans reported sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats and other incidents, up from 11% last year.” In addition, about 21% of Asian Americans say they have been harassed online. 

“Social media has significantly contributed to the pandemic of prejudice and hate against Asian populations globally…social media has turned terms such as ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus’ into race-based stigma against Asian groups in the United States and overseas,” said Anahi Viladrich, a professor of sociology at Queens College and The Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

Many of these targeted assaults have been overlooked. New York City community activist Don Lee says we must call it what it is. “These are not random attacks. We’re asking for recognition that these crimes are happening,” Lee said. Some hate crimes are murders and stabbings while others are more common such as spitting on Asians on the street and name-calling. 

Robert Aaron Long, a white male, shot eight women. Six of whom were of Asian descent at three different spas in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Long was charged and claims it wasn’t a racist motive, but it was because of his “sexual addiction.” 

The New York Times says Asian American females are stereotyped as being weak and unable to speak up for themselves, making them perfect targets. Unfortunately, many of these racially motivated incidents have not resulted in arrests. In fact, multiple reports of violence and incidents against Asian Americans have not led to arrests and have not been charged as hate crime. 

In 2020, hate crimes and attacks toward Asian Americans involved people blaming Asians for spreading the Coronavirus, using language such as “China virus” and “Kung Flu.” Former President Donald Trump regularly used these expressions at his rallies. 

The supervising attorney with the racial justice unit at Legal Aid, a public defenders group, Anne Oredeko says she rarely sees people who are more socially privileged be the ones accused of hate crimes. “Often what you end up seeing is people of color being accused of hate crimes,” Oredeko added. 

Junior Sydney Donahue says these recent incidents makes her scared for her family and sad that it’s 2021 and we still have to teach people not to be this way. “I think the people committing these crimes are disgusting and I hope the families get justice,” said Donahue. 

Donahue says in the future, she thinks there should be more education in schools on Asians and making sure names are pronounced correctly. “Just doing as much as possible to educate people so hopefully they won’t feel hatred toward any kind of people,” Donahue added.

“My history class discussed recent hate crimes toward Asian Americans in a very comfortable way and allowed students to be heard,” she said. “People were open to listening.”

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