Since Covid-19 broke out, Anti-Asian American hate crimes have spiked more than ever before in recent American history. Many Asians have lost their lives due to hate crimes and continue to face such prejudice among the public.
According to VOA News, “There were 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes in 16 of the country’s most populous cities in 2020, an increase of almost 150% over the previous year.” The 2,808 reported incidents from the Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate reporting center says, 70.9% of the Asian Americans who reported their incident were verbally harassed, 21.4% were shunned, and 8.7% were physically assaulted. The reported incidents have surpassed 3,000, according to Russel Jeung, who is a co-founder of the Stop AAPI Hate Coalition.
A recently reported attack occurred in San Francisco when an 84-year-old Thai immigrant died last month after being violently shoved to the ground during his morning walk, said BBC News.
There are more hate crimes being done to Asians than are actually reported. CEO of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Chung Joe, said, “There are far more people who have not reported incidents than those who have. This under-reporting is due to a combination of several factors, ranging from language and cultural barriers to a lack of trust in law enforcement.”
Francesca Martin, a Filipina Asian-American Sophomore at Oakland Mills High School spoke up about her experiences with discrimination, “I have heard about the Asian hate crimes going on and it has affected me a lot. It makes it harder for me to go out because I feel unsafe when I do. I always have that feeling like something bad will happen to me. I deal with a ton of bullying just because of my race wherever I go and even in school. Being an Asian American… is a struggle but being an Asian immigrant is, even more [of] a struggle. I have to deal with a lot more because my family comes from a different country and had to work for what we have.”
March 16th, Robert Aaron Long, a white 21-year-old gunman who resides in Woodstock, Georgia was charged with killing eight people. Seven women and one man were killed during the shootings that happened at three separate spas. Six of the women that were murdered were of Asian descent, some suggest that this was a specific target for Asians.
Robert Long took responsibility for the killings and confessed he committed this act alone, according to law enforcement officials. Mr. Long’s reasoning for the murders was to “provide an outlet for his addiction to sex.” Long is being held in Cherokee County, law enforcement officials are still unclear whether his motive was hate crime fueled or not.
During these times, people on social media have started using the hashtag #StopAsianHate to show their support towards everything that has been taking place in the Asian community. Some are donating and signing petitions, trying to do everything they can in order to help Asian Americans out. The “Daily Show” host, Trevor Noah disagreed with the claims that what Long did in Atlanta weren’t “racially charged.” Noah said this, “Don’t tell me that this thing had nothing to do with race, even if the shooter said that. He thinks it had to do with his sex addiction. This guy blamed a specific race of people for his problems and then murdered them because of it. If that’s not racism then the word has no meaning.”
Other celebrities such as Lebron James, Olivia Munn, and more have also been verbal about the recent events, in ways to show their support to the Asian community.
Research shows that this discrimination can impact Asian Americans’ mental health. According to ABC News, “A study published in Ethnic and Racial Studies found that Asian Americans who encountered COVID-19-related discrimination experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression. And another review of 121 studies found that youths who experienced discrimination were more likely to develop chronic mental health problems.” On March 11th, President Joe Biden came forward to discuss the Anti-Asian hate, “they’re forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong. It’s un-American, and it must stop.”