Editor’s note: Warning this article contains racial slurs. The intent is not to offend, but to provide context of the words used by officials in positions of power.
It is completely saddening to see how long it took to discuss Asian American and Pacific Islanders discrimination and hate crimes on a global platform.
During 2020 many concerns and hate crimes were not really paid attention to, were not given the time of day that they should have been given. Last year, we did not see as many people speak out as many are doing now.
The previous administration’s treatment of the COVID-19 virus lodged a target on the backs of the Asian American community, with individuals misplacing their anger and showing their ugliest colors.
Government officials fueled the hatred and discrimination against the Asian American community by using terms referring to the COVID-19 virus as the “Chinese virus” and “Kung-flu,” implying that those with Chinese descent were to blame for COVID-19. This is a universal virus no one group of people is to blame for a virus. The use of these dangerous and offensive terms by those in power left the door open for hate to grow against the Asian American community.
White House officials defended the terms, leaving so much room for hate. A prime example of this was experienced first hand last year by CBS Asian-American reporter Weijia Jiang after she tweeted on March 17, 2020, that “a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face.”
After the devastating and deadly events that transpired on March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia more people have become more vocal by both acknowledging and denouncing Asian-American hate.
Before the deadly targeted attack people had begun to speak up about the issues being faced by the Asian-American community since the start of the pandemic. Especially bringing attention to violent crimes against the elderly primarily in large cities. This comes after almost a year of living through the pandemic.
There have been both verbal and violent attacks against this community and had these issues been addressed sooner or denounced by those in power, a lot may have been prevented. Leaving the door open for hate and fueling it was clearly going to lead to devastating events.
Yet those in power continue to make embarrassing excuses for those committing these heinous crimes. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker described the actions of a 21-year old man who is accused of taking the lives of eight people as, “he was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.”
A bad day. Is that really supposed to give comfort or make the Asian American community feel supported or give some type of resolution to those families who just lost their family members? The victim, their family member, and the Asian American community had so much more than a “bad day.”
People need to stop trying to make excuses for those who commit these kinds of crimes.
To attempt to make an excuse is embarrassing. Saying that this individual was having a ‘bad day’ or that those who stormed the capital on Jan. 6 were “great patriots” according to former President Donald Trump, is appalling they need to be called what they are criminals.
There is no excuse people need to stop trying to humanize the people committing these crimes and pay more attention and respect to the victims and their families.
With the rise of unity in the black lives matter protests in 2020 many communities came together in support but during 2020 Asian American hate flew under the radar, when it comes to starting a bigger conversation. It was absolutely incredible to see and to continue to see people fighting against the virus that is racism in this country but we can’t leave any community behind people need to continue to come together because this is a universal fight.