Column: Let’s talk about it

Violence against Asian American communities must be recognized and stopped


Crime rates and violence have surged in many Asian American communities due to growing racism, and the little coverage from mainstream news sources is adding to the harm being done against this ethnic group.

According to the New York Police Department, hate crimes driven by anti-Asian sentiment jumped to 1,900 percent in 2020. The toleration of violence against this community can no longer be acceptable.

It is not a coincidence that these rates of violence and the amount of hate crimes increased at the beginning of the pandemic. Discrimination against Asian Americans had always been there, but it became extremely prominent when conversations of the coronavirus were brought up. It didn’t help that former president Donald Trump often used racist terms to describe the virus, targeting Asian Americans. At a summer rally in Tulsa this past year, Trump continued to refer to coronavirus as the “kung flu.” He repeatedly bashed China and blamed it for the virus, which sparked hostility and sinophobia. Many argued that phrases such as the “Chinese virus”and “kung flu” that were being used by Trump were discriminatory or racially prejudiced. Once again, Trump used racism and fear mongering to spark violence toward another minority group. COVID-19 and the prejudice that came with it has been devastating to Asian Americans and has put their lives at risk.

It is impossible to list all of the horrific attacks that have taken place as a result of anti-Asian motives. There has been a recent outcry from the media to protect the elders of the Asian American community. While young people are still at risk, elders are being targeted at higher rates. A few examples of this violence is the murder of Vicha Ratanapakdee. He was an 84 year old Thai man who was fatally assaulted on the streets of San Francisco and died two days after due to complications from this event. Another attack occurred less than three weeks ago when a  64 year-old Vietnamese woman was robbed of her Lunar New Year money at a Vietnamese market. The president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber, Carl Chan, said that there have been over 20 attacks in the Bay area in recent weeks. These are only a few specific examples of hate crimes that have been happening, but large news platforms and media outlets are showing little solidarity or support for the Asian American community.

Perceptions about Asian Americans are harmful and their issues are often overlooked. Their history in America and the abuse they went through to build this country to what it is now is ignored from schools’ curriculums and they are faced with the “Model Minority” complex, which results in the lack of media attention. Seeing Asians as a “model minority” may seem like a compliment to some, but it has negative effects. The Asian community is stereotyped to be a minority group that is successful or advantaged compared to others. This mindset could be created by the stereotype that Asian peoples are supposed to be highly intelligent or the fact that they are one of the highest paid minorities in America. This often causes the public to ignore the harassment and blatant racism that is doing damage to Asian Americans because of their “model minority” image, which directly prevents their struggles from being brought up. In order to bring attention to the violence in the media, people need to erase the idea that Asian Americans are immune to racism, violence or that their issues are not valid.

Many non-Asian people are choosing to turn a blind eye to this growing issue, but the numbers of attacks speak for themselves and the question of urgency toward this problem can no longer be debated. Everyone must give efforts to help by doing things like calling out racism when they see it, shopping at Asian-owned businesses and analyzing their own racial biases. People of all backgrounds must stand in solidarity and give support to the Asian American communities.