Since the initial outbreak of the Corona Virus in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the Asian community has received an increase in racial bias, from being spat on and verbally harassed to incidents of physical assault, there have been thousands of reported cases in recent months. Several recent attacks have not been charged as hate crimes, fuelling protests and outrage among many Asian-Americans. The most recent attack where Robert Aaron Long, a white man, fatally shot and killed 8 people including 6 women of Asian descent on the 16th of March sparked outrage on a national scale.
Though Long was charged, investigators deemed the case too early to determine whether there had been racial motive behind the senseless killings. Long denied any racial bias for his killings and said that his shootings were based on vengeance for his “sexual addiction”, whatever that is supposed to mean. This now leaves the question; how will these attacks be proven in the light of the law as racially motivated and how will such evidence be presented in court?
Advocates and activists have reported that hate crimes are often linked to a rhetoric that blames Asian people for the spread of Covid-19. However, it is quite evident that hate crimes against the Asian community have long been around. The Covid-19 pandemic simply exposed those who had been harbouring ill feelings towards the community all along. Racially based attacks on Asian people increased drastically from March to May 2020 alone.
There had been over 800 Covid-19-related hate incidents in 34 district areas in the USA according to a report by the Asian Pacific Policy Planning Council. Celebrities and activists took to Twitter to express their grievances. Actor Eddie Liu tweeted out “To non-Asians: if you hear someone you know spewing anti- Asian, racist sh* t, it’s on you to tell them that they’re wrong.”
Like Eddie Liu stated, standing up to people who reinforce lies and hateful comments about the Asian community is very important. Allowing yourself to ignore these things leaves you just as guilty. The change starts when everyone stands up against these unfair stereotypes which are harmful and incite violence and hate towards the Asian community. There is much work that needs to be done to change these ideas and thoughts against the community.
This can be done by spreading awareness of the situation and exposing those who are harbouring bias towards the Asian community. Donating money or resources to organizations who are fighting for change within the laws on racial bias, such organisations are the Asian American Advancing Justice – Atlanta, which are a non-profit legal advocacy organisation dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans.
Donations to the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) go fund me page go to ensuring the protection, and upliftment of the community with initiatives such as increased community safety and support for those affected by violence. The best way to support the Asian community is by researching issues that affect the community and encouraging others to do the same. Hate crimes and violence against people of colour must come to an end at some point and it is up to everyone to help end these issues.