Community members rally against anti-Asian racism on March 22 in Los Angeles. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Downtown Magnets High School

Opinion: How to fight anti-Asian racism

There is a long history of Asian American racism that many people are unaware of.

Chinese miners in America were charged a Foreign Miners Tax and received hostility from the white miners during the 19th century. Later, the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 forbade Chinese immigration to the U.S.

According to the Asia Society’s Center for Global Education, most Asian immigrants were denied entrance, citizenship, and land ownership by 1924 because white Americans accused the immigrants of taking away their jobs. White Americans saw Asian people as threats and inferiors who had no place in America.

Asian racism and xenophobia have existed in the United States from the past to the present. Now, people are using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to be racist.

President Donald Trump calling the coronavirus “China virus” and “Kung Flu” has fueled anti-Asian hate.

According to an NBC News article, an analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino found that hate crimes against Asian Americans more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, with an increase from 49 to 122.

Asian Americans have had to be overly cautious when going out to take a stroll down the street or buying groceries for dinner, especially seniors who are easy targets for perpetrators.

People with social media platforms need to spread awareness about the hate crimes targeted against Asian Americans because there has been an increase in violence toward Asian Americans, people should take action when witnessing these crimes, and social media is a great place to spread a message to a large audience. 

The surge of anti-Asian racism in the United States has created an unsafe environment for the AAPI community. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, a day after the Atlanta-area mass shootings on March 17, a 75-year-old Chinese woman was punched in the eye and an 83-year-old Vietnamese man was assaulted, allegedly by the same perpetrator, in downtown San Francisco. And in late January, an 84-year-old Thai man was shoved to the ground while walking around his neighborhood, leading to his death.”

Attackers deliberately target elderly and Asian American women who they deem vulnerable. As more hate crimes emerge, Asian Americans are in constant fear for their well-beings. These crimes must be stopped for the sake of numerous lives. People can stand up for Asian Americans and use social media to help prevent more hate crimes.

Some may argue that Asian Americans do not need the help of others. Because Asian Americans have shown economic and educational success, people believe that they don’t experience discrimination. Nonetheless, the pandemic has proved otherwise with the rise in Asian Americans being targeted for hate crimes. Success doesn’t mean the disappearance of racism. Even Asian doctors received hateful comments thrown at them by patients.

When witnessing a hate crime, one shouldn’t be a bystander. Instead, they should immediately take action.

There are way too many instances where people look the other way when someone is in trouble. According to CNBC, reports that bystander intervention can saves someone and lessen the trauma they experience.

Standing up for the victim can help get rid of some of the negative effects of being harassed. However, these situations could be dangerous and, understandably, people wouldn’t want to put themselves at risk. The perpetrator could have possession of a weapon and there are many unknown factors, so it is not wrong to want to protect ourselves. But, that does not mean that the victim should be ignored.

People don’t have to directly get involved. Another option would be to report the incident to the authorities and call for help. If more people were knowledgeable of how to handle hate crimes, victims wouldn’t have to suffer as much.

It is necessary for people to raise awareness about the violence and hate against the AAPI community. Mostly everyone uses social media nowadays. Bringing up this issue on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook would reach many people.

In a 2017 article published by the University of Florida, College of Journalism and Communications, Andrew Selepak writes, “Social media has brought attention to such issues and causes as #LoveWins, #BlackLivesMatter, #YesAllWomen, and #WeAreHere in ways traditional media has not.”

Previously, #BlackLivesMatter had successfully brought people to the attention of the injustices the black community was facing, which led to massive amounts of support and change. People can simply post a message on their social media page and all their friends or followers can see it.

Popular influencers or even celebrities should also take part in this cause, given that millions of people would see their messages. Social media provides a voice for individuals who can share their stories and experiences.

By spreading awareness, individuals can know to look out for hate crimes and assist those who have been affected. This will help protect the AAPI community and bring us closer to ending the violence. 

The pandemic has intensified the amount of hate Asian Americans are receiving. To counter the increase of Asian American hate crimes, people can use social media to spread awareness. By doing so, we can gather enough support to defend Asian Americans from hate crimes and hopefully see an end to this violence. 

As humans, we should look out for each other and work together to create a safer environment for everyone. In the end, the goal as a society is to be united and accept the different people that surround us.