Recent hate crimes stir anger within the Asian community

The rise of xenophobia and bigotry through recent hate crimes has caused fear and confusion regarding the future of the Asian community in America

Doris Lee, Editor

“The last four years were a step backwards in the integration of the Asian American story in the United States.” – Representative Ro Khanna of California

The Asian community has never been a stranger to discrimination and prejudices. However, it has been seen that along with the devastating number of deaths and cases brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also caused the influx of racism towards Asians as the race has naturally become associated with the origination of the virus.

In fact, only examining the reported incidents from March to December of 2020, 70.9% experienced verbal harassment, 21.4% were shunned, 8.7% endured physical assault, 6.4% were coughed or spat on, and 8% reported discrimination in the workplace and service centers. From the recent events, it has been calculated that these percentages have experienced a 164% increase as these hate crimes continue to remain unresolved. With this in mind, some of the recent abominations towards members of the Asian community will be discussed.

8 dead from Atlanta Spa Shootings

The Atlanta Spa Shootings occurred in both Cherokee County and Atlanta on March 16, 2021. The culprit, Robert Aaron Long, first stopped at the Gold Spa in Cherokee County, where he killed Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yuan, and Paul Andrew Michels. Less than an hour later, he attacked three spas in the Atlanta area, where there were four victims: Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon Chung Park, and Yong Ae Yue. Although there is still investigation regarding whether this situation was a hate crime, many are speculating it was because a majority of the victims were Asian American, leading people to believe that the shooting was caused by racial animus.

Despite the continued speculations regarding the Atlanta Spa Shootings, there is no question that it has led to tragedies for the victims’ families as well as the survivors. For instance, Eun Ja Kang, a survivor of the attack at Gold Spa, states: “I don’t know if I should be glad. It hurts to be alive and talk about this.”

Chinese immigrant in a coma after attack in New York

In April of 2021, Yao Pan Ma, a 61-year-old Chinese man, was pushing a grocery cart around the city in hopes of collecting recyclables to earn extra money for his family as he lost his job due to the pandemic. When he reached the East Harlem apartment area, a man attacked him from behind and continued to hit and stomp on his head at least six or more times, which was all caught on surveillance footage. Ma was found unconscious on the ground around 8:20 p.m. by a bus driver, who immediately contacted the police.

Ma suffered significant injuries and continues to remain in NYC Health & Hospitals in Harlem as he is in a coma and breathes through a ventilator. Ma’s wife, Baozhen Chen, provides insight on what her family is experiencing and feeling after this assault to WCBS: “I’m very scared right now. I’m so worried that my husband might never come back… This should not happen to my husband or anyone else. This is America. I wish the criminal can be arrested and put in jail for good.”

Filipino-American faces severe damages after brutal attack in the New York City Subway

On February 3, 2021, Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old Filipino-American, was headed to Harlem through the L train from the New York City Subway, not knowing of the dangers that he would soon encounter. While he stood in the crowded car, a man standing next to him suddenly kicked Quintana’s bag. Thinking that it was a mistake, Quintana remained silent and moved his tote bag away from the man in order to accommodate the stranger’s position. A few minutes later, the man kicked his bag again; this time, Quintana inquires if there was a problem. From there, the man advanced towards Quintana with a box cutter and slashed his face from ear to ear. When the man cried for help after the damage was done to his face, many people around him cringed away and did not call 911 or the train conductor for help. The only thing that Quintana could do in that situation was wait until the train stopped at the nearest station in hopes of receiving help.

In the aftermath of this brutal attack, he received about 100 stitches and the left side of his face continues to hurt and experience numbing sensations. Furthermore, Quintana has stated that this situation has definitely caused a disruption in his normalcy as he has become extremely cautious of his surroundings.

What can we do?

These are only a few of the atrocities that have happened recently that were fueled by Asian hate. However, even with these unsettling and brutal events, a widespread uproar has yet to occur. Many continue to display ignorance, which is detrimental towards Asians’ current fight against these hate crimes as it allows the current generation to believe and succumb to the pre-existing stigma against Asian-Americans. With this in mind, the country has taken a further step back when considering a world of equal representation and protection.

As of right now, President Biden and the Senate have passed the anti-Asian hate crimes bill, which denounced discrimination against Asian communities in the United States in light of the recent violence against Asian Americans. Although this is a significant step forward, more actions should be taken in order to fully eradicate these anti-Asian hate crimes. Some things that you can do to help include donating money to organizations that fight against anti-Asian racism and attacks (i.e. Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian American Legal Defense, and Education Fund, Hate is a Virus, Stop AAPI Hate), support Asian-owned businesses, educate yourself on not only the current political climate but also Asian American history, volunteer in service opportunities that work towards helping Asian communities and report any incidences that may be considered a hate crime.

With the following efforts, many Asian Americans hope that the country can work towards creating a safer place to live in for all races for future generations.