The Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Xenophobia – How Does it Affect Us?
Written by Khanh Tran
Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant surge in racism towards Asians and Asian Americans. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, Anti-Asian Hate crimes increased by 169%, according to police data collected by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino1. Several small businesses owned by Asian Americans across the nation reported vandalism or received threats related to the coronavirus. Even prominent figures like basketball player, Jeremy Lin, have been called derogatory terms related to the pandemic2. Anti-Asian remarks quickly escalated from vandalism to blatant attacks on elderly members of the Asian community to a mass shooting that cost the lives of eight people. Whether it be racial slurs or intentional violent attacks, the intensifying injustice towards the AAPI community is another epidemic that we currently face.
Throughout the disheartening events, the AAPI community stood in solidarity with each other and remained resilient. Many of us participated in rallies and protests to show support for the AAPI community and bring to light the discrimination and dangers we encounter. Influential leaders and members of congress spoke up to denounce xenophobia and eradicate the false premise that the APPI community is responsible for the current pandemic. Just recently, The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act passed in a 94-1 vote in the senate. This bill aims to establish new methods of reporting crimes and speeding up the process of investigating the reported crimes. In addition to that, the bill will designate an officer to review hate crimes at the Justice Department3. The bill has yet to be signed into law by President Biden. Still, the overwhelming support for the bill reassures the APPI community that action is being taken to alleviate our fears. This is a major milestone that we achieved, and it has a huge potential to benefit everyone regardless of race.
How do the sisters of Alpha Chapter feel about the Anti-Asian hate crimes and xenophobia? Read about the thoughts and feelings that some sisters have.
“With the recent events and more crimes being reported on the news, I’ve been getting more overwhelmed and paranoid. I worry for my parents every time they leave the house on their own. I fear that they will be the next target of another senseless hate crime. My heart goes out to everyone that has faced some type of injustice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m still upset that my big sis’ family bakery was the target of a hate crime. Fortunately she and her family are safe, but the culprit was never caught. It is extremely crucial that we do not turn our backs on each other during these hard times.” – Khanh Tran #210A
“As COVID-19 hit its peak, Asian hate crimes reached new heights. In a world that should be filled with love and alliance, there’s been hatred and blame. It’s hard to step out of the house without feeling like I have a target on my back. I fear the lives of my parents, my grandparents, and the Asian American community as a whole. I’m deeply saddened by the amount of lives that have been lost. However, I believe that they did not die in vain. We will do what we can to fight the injustices and continue to remember their names.” – Kathleen Lee #230A
“Asian hate crimes have become an ongoing issue in today’s society and it is really saddening to see an increasing amount of news articles depicting these injustices. As a person with an Asian American background, I sympathize with those who have faced discrimination solely because they are of Asian descent. I am very disheartened at these events and hope people will do their part to spread awareness as will I in order to stop these hate crimes.” – Julie Oh #233A
- Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. “Report to the Nation: Anti-Asian Prejudice & Hate Crime New 2020‐21 First Quarter Comparison Data.” Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism: Data & Reports, CSUSB, www.csusb.edu/sites/default/files/Report%20to%20the%20Nation%20-%20Anti-Asian%20Hate%202020%20Final%20Draft%20-%20As%20of%20Apr%2028%202021%201%20AM.pdf.
- Acevedo, Nicole. “NBA’s G League Investigating after Jeremy Lin Said He Was Called ‘Coronavirus’ on the Court.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 28 Feb. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/nba-s-g-league-investigating-after-jeremy-lin-said-he-n1259073.
- Nguyen, Kimberly. “Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Act Passes With Overwhelming Bipartisan Vote.” NextShark, 22 Apr. 2021, https://nextshark.com/senate-anti-asian-hate-crimes-act/.