Rise in AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islanders) Hate

Rise+in+AAPI+%28Asian+American+and+Pacific+Islanders%29+Hate

Samiha Mahmood, Editor-in-Chief

TRIGGER WARNING: this article will be discussing instances of where Asian Americans are harmed. At the bottom of this article is a list of organizations to support, please check those out! 

Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old immigrant from Thailand, was walking in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco the morning of January 28, when a man ran across the street and shoved him to the ground with horrific violence. Resulting in his death, he never regains consciousness for his family members to say a last goodbye. Additionally, an anonymous 89-year-old Chinese woman from Brooklyn, New York was brutally slapped and set on fire. A 61-year-old Filipino man, Noel Quintana, got slashed in the face with a box cutter by a stranger on the subway on February 3rd. Pak Ho, a 75-year-old man from Hong Kong, died in Oakland, California, after being robbed and assaulted by a man police said had a history of victimizing elderly Asian people. The list goes on. Most recently, eight people died in an Atlanta-area spa shooting, six of whom were Asian. The victims were identified as Daoyou Feng, 44; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Soon Chung Park, 74; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; and Yong Ae Yue, 63. Although some say race was not involved in this incident and that the shooter had a sexual addiction that led him to want to “eliminate his temptations,” it is indeed driven by hate towards Asian people. It ties into the fetishization of Asians, which is another branch of the problem in itself, and is racist. Moreover, Rep. Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash., says “the default position when violence is committed against people of color or women is to defer from confronting the hate that is often the motivation.” She also highlights how it is a hate crime, regardless of what excuse the perpetrator tries to come up with, and it should not be used as a cover-up to ignore a much bigger problem. 

These instances have a very obvious thing in common: the target, which is Asian people.

A glance to the past shows that hate crimes against Asian Americans had been decreasing throughout the last three years. In 2017, incidents toward Asians only made up two percent of all hate crimes, and total reports dropped to five in 2018 and one in 2019. Numbers look very different presently, as hate crimes jumped by 1,900 percent in this last year, according to NYPD data. This intense spike happened after the pandemic. Now, anti-Asian hate crimes this year make up for 15.6 percent of all reported hate crimes. This makes Asian Americans the third most targeted group- right after Black Americans and Jewish Americans. Based on the data provided by Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting database, 3,800 incidents regarding anti-Asian discrimination occurred between March 2020 to February 2021. Within the first three months of 2021 alone, 503 incidents have been documented. Women make up 68 percent and 29 percent are men, adding sexism to the pot of racism, as well, and the connection to people viewing Asian women as easy targets. 

These instances are not restricted to the United State’s borders, as U.K. police data suggests a rise of 300 percent in hate crimes toward Asians in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019. The Asian Australian Alliance also received 377 reports between April and June last year. This increase is mainly due to the fact that the media and the people have wrongfully played up the pandemic to be the fault of Asian people. This notion is mixed in with racist views that people already had toward Asians. Simple remarks have fed the fire of prejudice, which influences action. These actions, then, can manifest as hate crimes that result in the harm and death of many.

Advocation must be present in order to put a stop to these atrocities. It is crucial to do a small part to see change happen. Raising awareness will help shed light on incidents that have been ignored, which will set the path towards justice. Standing up to and reporting hate crimes against Asians to Stop AAPI Hate will help this cause, along with contacting representatives to push acknowledgment and legislation to protect Asian lives. Support fed to Asian-owned businesses and companies will help positively impact the Asian community. Donations toward the victims and/or organizations such as the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) will build safety. Along with these, having conversations with friends and checking on the ones impacted acts as support as well. We need action. We need change. We need justice. And we need it right now. We can not waste any more time or lives. 

 

Organizations to support in order to aid Asian communities: