By: Mariah Abdelaziz
At the Centre stage:
In the year since the Atlanta shootings, the Stop Asian Hate movement dramatically changed awareness of anti-Asian racism. Asian Americans around the country said they’re alarmed by last night’s mass shooting at several Atlanta-area spas, which shows their extreme vulnerability amid anti-Asian violence that has been building for the past year.
Decoding in detail:
As the United States marks the one-year anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people— including six Asian women—recent violent crimes against Asian women have sparked fear among members of the Asian American community. On March 2022, a man was charged with attempted murder as a hate crime for allegedly attacking an elderly Asian woman in New York State. Last February, Christina Yuna Lee was murdered in her Chinatown apartment in New York City.
In January of this year, Michelle Go was murdered on a New York City subway platform. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ten thousand hate crime incidents have been reported to the organization Stop AAPI (Asian American/Pacific Islander) Hate. Meanwhile, the FBI reported that the number of hate crimes against Asian and Black people in 2020 rose to the highest level in twelve years.
The big picture: The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center collected nearly 3,800 self-reported cases of anti-Asian bias between March 19 last year and Feb. 28.
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in America’s largest cities jumped nearly 150% in 2020.
Underreporting remains an issue, experts warn.
Between the lines: Center director Brian Levin told Axios the rise in hate crimes against a group jumps based on news events or comments from political leaders.
Levin said the center tracked a rise in anti-Asian violence after former President Donald Trump started calling COVID-19 the “China virus.”
The U.S.’s rivalry with China had already created unease about Chinese Americans and Asian Americans, said sociologist Pawan Dhingra, who specializes in Asian American studies.
Reports of anti-Asian hate crimes have risen sharply during the pandemic, often triggered by people falsely blaming Asian Americans for spreading the coronavirus, according to police departments across the country.
What they’re saying: “Whatever the motivation here I know that Asian Americans are very concerned,” President Biden told reporters.
“The investigation is ongoing … But I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people,” Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters.
“We’ve got to do everything we can in terms of addressing bigotry and hate in our country, and violence… Anybody who takes precious lives in that manner is driven by hate,” U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said.
The U.S. has long stereotyped Asian women as objects of white male fantasies in popular culture. Dhingra said because of that history, race can be considered a factor in attacks against Asian sex workers.
“If you think about sex work as a moral problem that must be eradicated —because Asian American women do kind of fit a profile of historically being in this role — it’s hard to separate race from this even if the motivation wasn’t anti-Asian,” Dhingra said.
The bottom line: “We are going to see a huge jump in hate crimes against Asian Americans this year,” Levin said. “The question is: how big of a record are we going to set?”
Council on Foreign Relations, ( March 18, 2022), “Women This Week: Violence Against Asian American Women Sparks Concern, Fear”. Retrieved from: https://www.cfr.org/blog/women-week-violence-against-asian-american-women-sparks-concern-fear
Vox, ( March 15, 2022), “The Stop Asian Hate movement is at a crossroads”. Retrieved from: https://www.vox.com/22820364/stop-asian-hate-movement-atlanta-shootings