Resources to Help Combat Anti-Asian Violence

Feven Shonga, Editor-In-Chief

Three spas in Atlanta, Georgia, were targets of a mass shooting on March 16, 2021. Eight people lost their lives during this tragedy. These are their names: Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Hyun Grant, Chung Park, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue. Six of the eight victims were Asian women. Their deaths sparked outrage as they followed numerous anti-Asian hate crimes that have significantly risen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Robert Aaron Long explained that the murder was a way to get rid of places that he saw as a temptation for his sexual addiction. However, he specifically targeted locations where there were Asian women, and they were affected by his hate. They were mothers, daughters, and key members of their community. Claims such as, their murderer had a “bad day” minimizes the horrible crime inflicted upon them, and it minimizes their existence. 

 

In March, COVID-19 cases grew, and there was strict enforcement of the lockdown. During this time, the rhetoric of the “China Virus” was spreading. The former president categorized COVID-19 as such, explaining that “it comes from China.” Other lawmakers also started using the phrase. The refusal of leaders in the country to refer to the pandemic by its official name further encouraged racism against Asian Americans. 

 

Hate incidents and hate crimes towards Asian Americans have taken a toll on the community. People were spat on, called racial slurs, and abused in the street by strangers. During the past few months, Asian elders have been getting attacked, and some have lost their lives. Vicha Ratanapakdee was an 84-year-old man that passed away a couple of days following a violent attack in which he was shoved to the ground while walking outside. There are many stories like his, and video footage and stories of multiple Asian Americans (many of them elders) getting attacked have been circulating on social media. 

 

The hate that started with slurs and discrimination has led to the death of innocent people. Much of the discrimination and racism that Asian Americans face are disregarded. One of the main reasons for this is the Model Minority Myth. It stems from the stereotype that Asian Americans are “model citizens” that are smart, follow the rules, or have successful positions in their workplace. Not only is this myth used to cause division among different minority groups, but it also leaves little space for Asian Americans to diverge from the descriptions under it. It causes people to have biases towards Asian Americans. Another dangerous result is the minimization of the racism that Asians face. In America’s history, there are events like the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment Camps, the 1871 massacre of 20 Chinese Americans in Los Angeles, California, the Page Act of 1875, and much more. Once people find an excuse to be racist, the view that Asian Americans are hard-working examples of what it means to be an American is abandoned. 

 

It is crucial to understand the depth of these attacks and how harmful and dangerous they are. In addition, it is everyone’s job to understand what biases they hold and how they might be contributing to the spread of harmful beliefs and ideology. Below are some resources that people can use to further understand this topic.  

 

PBS Good Americans Documentary. In the series Asian Americans, PBS has a few documentaries about the impact of and the experience of Asian Americans in the US. The documentary Good Americans goes more in-depth on the history of the model minority myth. There are interviews with various professionals that discuss the topic. They also interview family members of key historical figures to give a personal understanding of the topic. It is a great tool to learn more about the significance of the model minority myth and its impact in the present day. 

 

AsianBossGirl Podcast. This podcast can be found on numerous platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, and more. It is hosted by three Asian women named Melody Cheng, Helen Wu, and Janet Wang. On the podcast, they discuss their personal experiences on a range of topics. In one of their most recent episodes (episode 104), they converse with the co-founders of Hate is A Virus, Tammy Cho and Michelle Hanabusa. The episode dives into Asian hate crimes that have been happening and what measures people can take to help stop them. They also talk through how the attacks have affected them as Asian Americans. In addition, they help listeners understand how one can act against racism and hate. 

 

Stopaapihate.org. The website was created to report hate crimes and incidents that have been occurring at a high rate. By giving a place to report this, the website keeps track of violence and discrimination that prove the racism that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been subject to. They also provide resources for those who have been impacted and those who would like to help.    

 

Asian Americans Now (aanow.com). The Asian Americans Now website features multiple stories and events relating to the culture and popular news on Asian Americans. On the site, viewers can find articles like an op-ed about the model minority myth or celebratory articles like Asian American UCLA basketball players. It is a great way to hear the voices of Asian Americans from different backgrounds, and most articles are quick reads. 

 

NPR. NPR has various articles and podcasts on this topic, like “Asian Americans Are Blamed By Some For COVID-19 Outbreak.” It is a conversation on Morning Edition with a short dialogue between the host and a guest speaker, a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. For about seven minutes, listeners hear from Russel Jeung about the rise of hate crimes and the reasons for them. 

 

Bystander Intervention Training. The bystander intervention training webinar is hosted by Hollaback! in partnership with Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Their goal is to teach people how to intervene in the case that they see someone being harassed in public. The method that they teach is the 5 Ds of Bystander Intervention. Although most of the webinars have passed or are at capacity, we list this in hopes that they will have more webinars in the future. There are also other informational resources on the website.  

 

Everyone has a responsibility to learn more about those in our community. An important step is understanding what leads to crises like this and how we can be part of the solution. The resources above are some of the few that are available to educate one’s self. It is essential that we pay attention to Asian American and Pacific Islander voices when it comes to this topic to understand how to effectively support the community.