Opinion: Asian American Pacific Islander Awareness

There has been an uprise in hate crimes against Asian Americans after the discovery of COVID-19

Visit+the+Stop+AAPI+Hate+website+to+learn+even+more+about+how+you+can+help+take+a+stand+against+Asian+hate.

By Ally Sul

Visit the Stop AAPI Hate website to learn even more about how you can help take a stand against Asian hate.

Ally Sul, JAG reporter/photographer

Allow me to bring you back to December of 2019, when the first identified case of COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 introduced a new variant of coronavirus that scientists were yet to see. Jump a few months to March of 2020, and COVID-19 is now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. One small virus that began in the city of Wuhan, has now spread all around the globe.

Although the origins of this now well-known disease are important for scientists and researchers,The origin however, has led to nasty nicknames and terms that people are now applying to Chinese people. One of the most prominent figures being former President Donald Trump, who would cross out the words “Corona” in Coronavirus and replace it with “Chinese” in a speech, which he would later give to the American public about the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is just one example of the earliest cases of using racist terms for COVID-19, and would spiral into an uprising in Asian American hate crimes or speech. Despite being a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans still refer to COVID-19 as the “Kung Flu” or “China Virus.” Though these nicknames may seem funny to those who have or may use them, these racist acts of hate speech fall back onto the Asian Americans who are also trying to get through this pandemic. 

Yet now more than ever, hate crimes against Asian Americans are becoming more and more common. One big example of these crimes include the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings, which occurred in three spas or massage parlors in the metropolitan area in Atlanta, Georgia. Robert Aaron Long killed eight people, six of whom; were Asian women. The victim’s; Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng, were all innocent Americans.

Long claims that his murders were not racially driven, but some of Long’s past behaviors show just how long Asian women have had to deal with misogyny and being hypersexualized. Yet, these experiences that Asian women have had to deal with often go unspoken. The 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings are just one of the many hate crimes against Asian Americans that have occurred after the discovery of COVID-19. 

Thankfully, people are now finally speaking out against Asian hate, and many Asian celebrities such as Gemma Chan, BTS and Jamie Chung have all spoken out against Anti-Asian hate. 

I am glad, as a second generation Asian American that there is finally a narrative about Anti-Asian hate, and that other people who are not just Asian are speaking out on an issue that I’ve been talking about since last year. However, this does not not exactly solve the problem; here’s what you can do to help speak out against Anti-Asian hate. 

Firstly, educate yourself on the history of Anti-Asian hate. There are so many books, movies, documentaries, podcasts, people and so much history regarding Asian people and Asian cultures. These are just a few of the many ways you could listen, read or watch to help educate yourself and better understand Asian history and culture. 

Secondly, defend Asians against hate speech. Any racist comments or “jokes” being made against an Asian American should not be tolerated. If you see these comments being made towards an Asian person or any person of color; it doesn’t do any harm to stand up for them. Letting someone know that they’re not alone can be one of the most powerful tools against racism. 

Thirdly, go donate. There are plenty of organizations you could donate too to help against Anti-Asian hate. One of the main sites you could donate too is the Stop AAPI Hate website. However, Stop AAPI Hate is just one of the many many non-profits you can donate to. 

These are just a few ways you can help speak out against Anti-Asian hate and raise awareness. Hopefully, through reading this you better understand just how far a person’s words can go; and have a better grasp on how long Asians have had to deal with racism in America.

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