Stop Asian Hate
As recent events have unfolded across news outlets and social media platforms, the world has heard of yet another outcry on American soil, pleading “
”. This comes shortly after the Black Lives Matter movement rallied globally and is just as significant and timely.
Every year, around 250,000 people in the United States are victimized by hate crimes and America’s Asian communities had already been facing a pandemic-related spike in prejudice and hate. The March shootings were a tipping point for the Asian community, just as George Floyd’s murder was for the Black community. These events didn’t happen in a vacuum. These events were symbols of the centuries of mistreatment and injustices that these communities faced.
America isn’t the only country that has seen an uptick in atrocities aimed at Asians, however. Shared videos coming from Australia, Germany, and the UK have all shown that hate crimes have risen where Asians are a minority. The Asian community, in particular, they are treated as the “other” every time someone asks “But where are you REALLY from?”. How strange would it be to ask a caucasian person the same thing? Oftentimes people of European descent don’t even know their ancestral roots. And if they did they would most likely retort, “I was born HERE, though”. The fact that it is normalized to ask someone with Asian features is alienating at best.
Yet the price that people of Asian descent pay to live in a country they were born into is colossal in comparison to the price that American’s of European ancestry pay.
How many generations make one ‘belong’? It could be speculated that as many generations as it takes to wash the history from the bone structure from one’s face.
Aggressive acts share the same root as mass shootings of Asian people and all the hate crimes that have increased toward Asian people since Covid-19. This idea that Asian people are foreign to certain societies. They aren’t, foreign. They belong. And as long as society as a whole can’t embrace it, there will be unrest.
So, where did it all go wrong? Hate is learned. It is a behavior one adapts to from their upbringing and culture.
Then who taught it to the children in America, who sing songs by heart with lyrics such as
”This land is your land and this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me”?
Who taught good Christain people who preach “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” to hate thy neighbor?
Who forgot that the Statue of Liberty pronounces “Give me you’re tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”.
Who denounces the line about “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” on the United States Declaration of Independence? We are supposed to hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable. They say that all men are created equal and independent. This is supposed to be the law of the land. There is actually no room for hate, especially in America. I say that those people that do not abide by their own Declaration, their own folk songs, and their own monuments can go back to their country of origin. It’s hard to imagine that they would be accepted back so easily, however.
On a more pragmatic level, we have to address the fact that most hate crimes stem from fear. According to the American Psychological Association, “hate crimes are an extreme form of prejudice that is made more likely in the context of political and social change” and can lead people to devalue others that they know very little about, especially if they feel like their livelihood or way of life is being threatened. Historically, times of stress or fear have sometimes been attended by a rise in prejudice – including hate crimes. Then it’s no coincidence that former President Donald Trump’s malicious words such as “China virus” or “Kung flu,” for example, incited public unease. This transpired into mistrust and ultimately fear. Fear then can leading individuals to dehumanize unfamiliar groups of people.
Likewise, if words can cause that much injury then they can also be the remedy. Thus it is our duty to educate one another. It is necessary to befriend people from outside of our groups, to understand the minority struggle, to realize we are all full of bias and confront our own prejudices, dispel stereotypes, challenge ‘jokes’, and stand up for people being targeted. It is our job to stop Asian hate.