Updated: Jul 21, 2021
By David Cho and Jimmy Lee
Throughout the past year, with the explosion of the coronavirus and brewed racial tensions all across the nation, it wouldn’t be strange to expect for the worst. In the chaotic world of 2020, where everyone has to be quarantined and isolated from each other, the feelings of irritation, impatience, and hate start to brew, the feelings we all know too well. However, all this negative emotion can’t just be bottled up inside, can it? Where can all this criticism be directed towards, you may ask? Could it be towards the government who could have enforced harsher lockdown protocols to lessen the spread of the virus? No. Could it be towards Asian Americans that have nothing to do with the virus, other than the virus originating from China? Yes.
With the former president repeatedly calling the coronavirus “kung flu,” and normalizing the blatant racism that Asian Americans have and continue to face, many Americans have found an excuse to attack Asian Americans, whether it be verbal or physical attacks, or a combination of both. From the Center for the Hate and Extremism, statistics show that there was an 833% increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans in New York City from 2019 to 2020, and there was an overall increase of 149% in Asian hate crimes in major U.S. cities, including Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City. More distressing is the 3,795 reported Asian hate crimes from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, which averages to be around 10 Asian hate reports daily.
Many still don’t seem to make a sense of the weight of the constant hate that only recently has been publicized in the media. Just last month did we see the horrific mass shooting in Atlanta, where Asian spas were targeted, killing a total of eight victims, with six of the victims being Asian women. Through the constant victimization of Asian Americans, what must we do as Americans? Should we wait until the media stops coverage of the situation?
No. We must fight for our fellow citizens through as many means as possible. As Americans, we can do multiple things to help. First and foremost, amplifying Asian voices and spreading awareness -- through the means of social media, personal conversations with friends and family, and the constant study of the news, books, and podcasts -- is imperative to reach as many people as possible. Another way to help is to attend movements against Asian American and Pacific Islander Hate, also referred to as AAPI Hate, such as rallies and protests to show your support to the community. Donating to victims of Asian hate crimes is another way to help, as financial aid can really help them off their feet. For example, Randy Park, the son of Hyun Jung Kim, a victim of the March 16th Atlanta shooting, has recently been evicted due to his mother’s passing. Just a couple of bucks from each person who visits his fundraiser could mean the world to him. In the same light, supporting local Asian-owned businesses, especially though this pandemic, can aid to their lives substantially.
All in all, AAPI Hate has become a larger issue, especially over all the headlines around the news. However, just because there is “buzz” surrounding the topic doesn’t mean people will continue to support down the line. It is up to us as American citizens to make sure that the fight for our Asian brothers and sisters won’t vanish into obscurity. The bottom line is simple: continue to educate, listen, and help, so that the future can be filled with unity and love.