Asian Hate Crimes Rising During Pandemic

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Sanampreet Kaur Bhullar – Staff Writer

Over the last year, people of Asian descent have been targeted with episodes of racial animus. There has been a recent spike in attacks on Asians and people of Asian descent where they have been beaten, kicked, spat on, called racial slurs, and even situations that have turned deadly.

A survey conducted by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University revealed that racially motivated crimes have risen in the pandemic year of 2020. Since the pandemic outbreak, Asians and people of Asian descent have been targets of derogatory language on various mediums. Derogatory language has been apparent in statements made by politicians, news media, and social media, where hate speech related to COVID-19 spreads readily. Reports suggest that former President Donald Trump’s use of terms such as “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” have encouraged the use of hate speech. Arguably, world leaders’ rhetoric is to blame for an increase in Asian hate crimes.  

Late last month, Chairman Lee Wong of Ohio spoke about the discrimination he faces as an Asian American veteran. Wong’s speech on March 23 has been viewed by millions and has resonated at a time where hate crimes have become a regular occurrence in the United States.

“I want to show you something,” Wong said. “Because I’m not afraid […] I don’t live in fear, intimidation or insults.” As he removed his tie and unbuttoned his shirt, he continued: “Here is my proof.” Raising his undershirt, he revealed a large scar on his chest. “Now is this patriot enough?” The impassioned speech came days after a string of shootings at spa parlors in Atlanta, leaving eight people dead, six of whom were of Asian descent.

Addressing the root cause of violence requires education, expansion of civil rights protections, and more restorative justice models. To learn more and to get involved, please visit Stop AAPI Hate.