Illustration by Madison Wilber / Times Staff
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been drowning in racism for far too long and as the statistics only rise, the time for a call-to-action is now.
There have been far too many attacks, rants and visuals done to defile Asian Americans after they have consistently done nothing but help the United States of America grow.
According to a Nov. article in the New York Daily News, Peshe Schiller, a substitute teacher in Brooklyn, was suspended on Oct. 28 for telling a classroom of 10-year-olds that COVID-19 originated from China and that the students’ parents left China for freedom.
Here is a prime example of someone in a position of power manipulating young children to spread hatred toward Asian-Americans with no truth behind the words they speak.
During the pandemic, The FBI released hate crime data that showed crimes against Asian Americans increased by 73% from 2019 to 2020, during the pandemic.
Once former President Donald Trump unforgivably tweeted that the COVID-19 virus be called the “Chinese Virus,” an entire political party was ready to attack Asian-Americans.
There are many Americans that are quick to say “all men are created equal” until the man they are looking at looks different from them.
With COVID-19 now being linked to Asian Americans, many began to fear for their life.
Non-Hispanic Asian households were twice as likely as non-Hispanic white populations to report not having enough to eat amid the pandemic because they were “afraid to go or didn’t want to go out to buy food,” according to a report from a survey by the The United States Census Bureau.
That alone should be enough to tell everyone what a problem this has become. Imagine being so hungry that all you want to do is go to the store to buy some groceries, but simply because you are an Asian American you get attacked and blamed for a pandemic that has killed over 700,000 people.
The U.S. had families that would rather starve than face the streets of the people around them in fear of who might physically attack them, spit on them or blame them for the pandemic.
A mass shooting occurred in Georgia on March 16, when a shooter killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. They had done nothing but offer service to a potential customer.
On Jan. 28 an 84-year-old Thai grandfather, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was taking his daily stroll in his neighborhood. Unexpectedly, the senior was knocked to the ground with full force by a passing male. With Ratanapakdee being as small as he was, the fall was fatal. He had done nothing but walk down his own street.
On Dec. 30, 2020, Fe Hall lost her only son, Christian Hall, to police officers who were called to help prevent his suicide. The officers claimed he pointed a gun toward them and they shot him seven times in the chest. Video from a passing surveyor proves otherwise. Christian Hall was an Asian American. He had done nothing but put his hands up so the police could see he was not a threat.
The stories are countless and the threats continue to flood Asian American inboxes.
But this is nothing new. Asian Americans have been subjected to hate within the United States of America since the mass immigration of the 19th century.
Law after law has been passed to prevent Asian immigration and Asian rights in the U.S. since the 1800s and different attacks have plagued the Asian-American life for decades.
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 restricted immigration into the U.S., specifically in the western states.
The Mercury News wrote that this occurred during a very intense era of anti-Chinese sentiment in California. Many from the west blamed the Chinese workers for declining wages and economic ills, according to History.com
The city of San Jose is no exception.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo issued an official apology to the Chinese community on Sept. 29 for a well-known incident that took place on May 4, 1887.
The incident included deliberately setting fire to San Jose’s China Town on Market Street. Homes and businesses were destroyed, displacing 1,400 people.
“San Jose worked to be an inclusive and welcoming city for all and that means facing head on its past mistakes,” City Councilman Raul Peralez said.
Catherine Thorbecke, a reporter for ABC, quoted teenage Connie Yung Yu, whose grandfather was a victim of the fire, saying the apology was “an act of grace.”
Moving forward is the objective.
“We are all part of the same community, recognizing the past, only to go forward together,” Yu told ABC News.
As Yu said, the apology is long overdue but it is meaningful.
San Jose followed the City of Antioch’s official apology to the Chinese and Asian American and Pacific Islander community.
The U.S. just elected its first national official of Asian American descent, even though Asian Americans have been in the country for almost 200 years. The representation is not there to show that the U.S. was also built by Asian Americans.
President Biden signed a Hate Crimes Act in May hoping to battle hate crimes within the U.S.
While the notion is nice, the legislation is not enough to combat the assaults against Asian Americans. All this law does is allow Asian Americans to finally be heard after they have been attacked.
It should be required for students to take ethnic studies. It is time that history shows how all races were treated. Children need to stop hearing about these citizens as foreigners, but rather hear them as ingredients in the melting pot everyone calls the United States of America.
To battle this stigma from the start, no one would grow to have this hatred. Racism is not born, it is taught.
This is not an opinion; this is just plain facts. Asian Americans are just as much Americans as the next citizen they pass. If the U.S. truly believe in their ideals, these attacks would not be happening.
Who knew treating people with kindness is still a lesson that needs to be taught to adults?
Governments should focus less on legislation for unborn babies and more on the legislation for the people who already exist and are being constantly attacked for their race.
The U.S. needs to do better and stop Asian American Pacific Islander hate.
Visit the Stop AAPI Hate website for more information.
According to the website, Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate was founded on March 19, 2020, “in response to the alarming escalation of xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.”