Rising Together

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America hides racism towards Asians

By Lynda Lam

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are continually blamed for the virus, resulting in an increase of hate crimes towards the AAPI community. While this rise may seem unexpected and new to many, racism against the community has been concealed for far too long.

AAPI are often called the model minority, a seemingly harmless compliment referring to how they were able to achieve the American dream and overcome adversity as law-abiding citizens. However, the same term is frequently used to belittle other minorities. All AAPI groups are associated with this umbrella term, but people ignore how Southeast Asians, especially refugees, are paid a lot less than their East Asian counterparts. These wage differences are disregarded, only highlighting the few successes of the community for the sake of encouraging competition and comparison between minorities. Not only does this encourage hostility between AAPI and other groups, the word “model” heavily implies that AAPI are exemplary and do not struggle, while others are inferior. 

Even further back, Americans displayed blatant racism against the Japanese after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan during World War II, and locked them in internment camps for years. Japanese Americans were seen as a threat to American democracy and were convenient scapegoats for the bombing, even though they were not involved. During this time, many Americans saw locking the innocent people in internment camps justifiable, highlighting how people have historically ignored the oppression that the AAPI community faces, and even praised it.   

The stereotype that APPI are “nasty” and “dirty” because they eat animals such as cats and dogs is also well and alive, being not only blatantly racist but also misguided. Ever since the pandemic, the stereotype has only grown stronger due to the misconception that COVID-19 started after a Chinese man ate a bat. This has been proven to be untrue, but there are still some who continue to believe otherwise. With the stereotype intensifying, it only displays the ignorance that many hold against the APPI community.    

In order to properly address AAPI hate, people should donate to and promote organizations aimed to quell racism in the community. Educating oneself will also assist the cause as it will help remove underlining hate. These actions are needed for Americans to finally realize that AAPI are still a marginalized group, not scapegoats for inconveniences.

Asians suffer xenophobic remarks since pandemic

By Laura Cai

Since the beginning of the pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have dramatically increased due to the belief that Asians are to blame for the spread of COVID-19. Some activists and officials say that attacks surged during the pandemic as a result of racist remarks made by former President Donald Trump, as he referred to the virus as the “China virus” and the “Kung Flu.” 

Anti-Asian racism is occurring globally, with reports coming from Canada, Italy, Brazil, and other countries. It is difficult to measure the exact amount of hate crimes towards Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) because there are not many established organizations tracking hate crimes in the long term. However, the Stop AAPI Hate organization was established on March 19, 2020 in light of the spike of AAPI crimes to prevent discrimination towards Asians during the pandemic. It also serves as a reporting center against AAPI hate in the U.S. The reported incidents consist of verbal harassment, physical assault, and shunning―the avoidance of Asians. Nearly 3,800 incidents were reported nationwide over the last year at the Stop AAPI Hate organization. 

The U.S. Senate passed a bill called COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on April 22 addressing the crimes targeting Asian-Americans. The Justice Department will expedite the process of reviewing hate crimes happening due to COVID-19. It will also assist local and state governments by giving them more resources to improve the tracking of hate crimes and provide guidance on how to raise awareness of crimes during the pandemic.

There are resources online to support the AAPI communities that are experiencing trauma from the aftermath of hate crimes. There is a campaign that was launched by GoFundMe called #StopAsianHate. It is partnering with Gold House, a non-profit aiming to represent the AAPI community, and the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, representatives of AAPI people in the entertainment and media industry. The page provides different fundraisers that help victims. Another way to support Asians is to report hate incidents through the Stop AAPI Hate website; the site offers other languages besides English. 

One can also support AAPI by volunteering. The Compassion in Oakland was formed due to the exponential increase in anti-Asian attacks in the Bay Area. They offer chaperones in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood to protect AAPI elders. Individuals can volunteer through compassioninoakland.org. In addition, people can support small Asian-owned businesses and attend local protests aiming to advocate the current Asian hate surge. Through everyone’s support, from donating to sharing fundraisers, a decrease in the number of hate crimes is only possible through a group effort, even in small amounts.

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