Last night, March 16th, eight people were shot and killed at three Asian massage parlors around Atlanta, six of whom were Asian and all but one were women. Despite the shooter’s claim this morning that the violence was not racially motivated, according to New York Magazine, these victims are now part of an alarmingly fast-growing statistic that has been on the rise since March of 2020. Nearly 3,800 reports of racist incidents targeting Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. were documented between March 2020 and February 2021 with over 500 of these hate incidents occurring in 2021 alone. That’s a massive jump from the 2,800 incidents reported in 2019.
According to a February 2021 report from Stop AAPI Hate, a group that is dedicated to collecting data and raising awareness about hate incidents against AAPI communities, these hate incidents were reported across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with businesses being the primary location for Asian-related hate crimes to occur.
The report also shared a staggering statistic that women are 2.3 times (68%) more likely to report Asian-targeted hate incidents than men.
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The Stop AAPI Hate report includes anonymous victim testimony from verbal and physical assaults that occurred throughout the last year. Assailants used both racial and gender-based slurs, blamed their victims for the COVID-19 pandemic, and in many cases, coughed on them.
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“There is an intersectional dynamic going on that others may perceive both Asians and women and Asian women as easier targets,” San Francisco State University Professor of Asian-American studies Russell Jeung, told NBC News. Jeung, who co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, believes that racism, sexism, and the stereotypical idea that Asian women are subservient and weak contributes to the higher percentage of women-reported hate incidents.
Though racism against Asians in the U.S. is not in any way a new phenomenon, this influx of AAPI-targeted hate incidents no doubt stems from the racist rhetoric used by Former President Donald Trump when he spoke about the coronavirus pandemic. Because the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, Trump often referred to it as “the China virus” and even more offensively as “the kung flu.”
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President Joe Biden, however, vilified those responsible for hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Asians in the U.S. in his national address earlier this month, calling the attacks “un-American.” And in January 2021, he signed a memorandum denouncing AAPI discrimination, and as a result, Congress will reintroduce a bill to provide more support to law enforcement to investigate all reports of hate-related incidents.
To learn more about Asian-related hate and/or report an incident, head over to the Stop AAPI Hate website. Here you can also learn how to support your local AAPI community and where to donate funds to help the cause.
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