Hate against Asian women: is it a coincidence?

Last month on a Tuesday, a white man shot eight people in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the victims were Asian women. The perpetrator, Robert Aaron Long (21), was found to have intentionally targeted three massage parlors, owned and worked by Asian women. There has been frequent anti-Asian hate violence against Asians since last year and the Atlanta shooting has brought many to face the reality in America. In 2020, more than 3,800 incidents occurred and women were victims of 68% of those cases. 

From the slaughtering and lynching of Chinese Americans to the quarantine of Japanese Americans during World War II, hateful violence against Asians has always been in history. And the practice of this dates back to the first restrictive immigration law made by the U.S. government. The Page Act of 1875 drove out Chinese women due to the ‘white supremacy and the white people’s view of Chinese women as immoral. Former President Donald Trump pinned the blame on the Covid-19 by racializing the virus with series of anti-Asian words such as ‘Kung-Flu’ which enabled white mobs to start attacking Asian Americans in the U.S. Data showed how the number of hospitalizations escalated along with the stigmatizing ethnic statements with regard to Covid-19 by leaders such as a congressman, secretary of state, and the former president. This shows how leaders’ statements and actions set the context for changes in the behavior of the people and initiate long-standing anti-Asian sentiments. 

The violence against Asians and Asian women did not just occur in coincidence. It is linked to a variety of domestic and international contexts. All these factors were affected by our history and our leaders. It is important for the whole community to stand up for the victims and recognize this attack for what we believe it to be irrespective of the limits of the law. One has to prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt motive. We should let this investigation continue and at the same time acknowledge the pain and the intersectionality that often exists with a hate crime.

By: Jung Seo Yoon