Racism in the US isn’t a new phenomenon, however recently there has been a rise in anti-Asian hate and discrimination. According to the Stop AAPI Hate National Report, in the past year alone, there were nearly 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault and murder. There are many different factors contributing to this rise in anti-Asian sentiment, with the COVID pandemic being at the forefront.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, there have been 31,924,090 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US alone, accounting for the world’s highest number of cases and deaths to date. While the Trump administration was still in power, they refused to take any accountability for the way they handled the pandemic. Instead, they found a scapegoat to blame for all their shortcomings: China. With former President Donald Trump using rhetoric like “Chinese Virus,” he attempted to shift the blame from the irresponsibility of the US federal government to the virus’ country of origin. People have since started echoing that rhetoric and continue to harass Asian Americans .
With the majority of incidents targeting Asian American women, the current rise in hate has come with an intersection of both systemic and internalized racism and misogyny. Due to the fact that asian women are stereotyped as delicate and weak, those who carry out these subconscious prejudices often target them for this reason precisely. Even with this increase in anti-Asian violence, most recently seen in the Atlanta Shootings, the police have been reluctant to label the blatant racial targeting of Asian women as a hate crime.
The tendency of anti-Asian hate crimes to go unprosecuted as hate crimes has caused outrage in these communities; however, authorities have said that labelling these attacks as “racially charged” is quite challenging. Unlike anti-Black or anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, there are less indicators of targeted violence towards Asian Americans and in addition to the model minority complex, they find it even more uncomfortable to label these attacks as hate crimes. Due to this, conversations about racism towards Asian Americans and their manifestations in daily life have been diminished and not taken as seriously.
We need to start having conversations about anti-Asian hate and how to combat it. We need to start uplifting and listening to Asian voices. We need to Stop Asian Hate.