Fighting xenophobia and discrimination against Asians

The virus fuels hate toward the community

Police+data+collected+by+Center+for+Study+of+Hate+and+Extremism+and+VOA

Police data collected by Center for Study of Hate and Extremism and VOA

The start of COVID-19 was rough for the Asian community. With the virus affecting many families, intensifying racism is not the answer during a hard time.

CNN, a multinational news-based pay television channel, reported on Feb. 16, “Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate has received more than 2,800 firsthand reports of anti-Asian hate across 47 states and Washington, D.C., since March 19.”

Stop AAPI is a San Francisco-based group of nonprofits, organizers and educators that was formed during the pandemic to address hate against the Asian community. Anyone can anonymously report a hate crime on the website stopaapihate.org.

According to Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization, “On May 8, 2020, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that ‘the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering’ and urged governments to ‘act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate.’”

The spread of the virus seems to be the root of the harassment and discriminination, solely because the virus originates from China. This does not allow people to generalize a minority to spread hate.

KQED, a public media organization that provides public radio, television and reports in the Bay Area, stated, “For a majority of the pandemic, former-President Donald Trump repeated racist and inaccurate statements about the coronavirus, which researchers said coincided with a rise in violence against Asian and Asian American people.”

As the pandemic continues, anger and frustration toward Asians have carried into the new year. Kron 4 news, a local news and weather station, reported on Feb. 24, that fatal hate crimes have been at an all time high for the community.

On Jan. 28, an unfortunate event that got a lot of attention was the death of Vichar Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai American man who was violently shoved in San Francisco.

CNN quoted Eric Lawson, Ratanapakdee’s son-in-law as saying, “This wasn’t driven by economics. This was driven by hate.”

Two days after the death of Ratanapakdee, another event of assault occurred in Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood. A 28-year-old man was charged for shoving a 91-year-old man, a 60-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, CNN reported.

These crimes against Asian elders show that people are on the lookout for vulnerable victims to be vicious against.

Not only does this make Asian and Asian Americans fear for their safety, but it also scares families’ elders, how do they know that their grandma or grandpa won’t be attacked on the street?

NBC Bay Area, a local news channel, stated that a rally was held on Feb. 13 in Oakland to demonstrate the Black community’s support for Asians and Asian Americans. There were at least 500 people that gathered at Madison Park to show solidarity.

With support and social awareness from other communities, hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans have been brought to light.

During a hard time for the community, what can others do to help? Using a resource like Stop AAPI is one way to pinpoint incidents in an area, but it’s encouraged that people step in situations if they witness any.