In Opinions: Stop Asian Hate is a movement, not a moment

More than 2,800 hate crimes or incidents happened in 2020, and many attribute it to the lack of compassion since COVID-19. Photo by Harry Wyman | The Signal

Delaina Ashley Yaun. Xiaojie Tan. Daoyou Feng. Paul Andre Michels. Hyun Jung Grant. Soon Chung Park. Suncha Kim. Yong Ae Yue. These names are the catalyst for the Stop Asian Hate movement, or are they? 

Even though the events on March 16 sent a shockwave through our country, the discrimination Asian communities face continues to be overlooked. It is time to understand the Asian perspective in this country and call out the hate. 

Throughout 2020, the number of Asian American hate crimes and incidents sky-rocketed. The rise in hate crimes is often blamed on the narrative that Asian’s are to blame for COVID-19 and its spread. Stop AAPI Hate reported more than 2,800 incidents

“My husband and I were walking home after grocery shopping, and three to four people in a car shouted, ‘Virus, go to hell!’ to us while they drove by,” a firsthand account from the report stated. 

Furthermore, after Trump used the choice words “China-Virus,” it was clear that he added fuel to the fire. A study published by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that 20% of tweets with #COVID19 had anti-Asian language. 

Anti-Asian sentiment in this country goes back generations. The Chinese massacre of 1871, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment and the murder of Vincent Chin are clear indicators of such. 

So why do many feel like this is the first time we truly see such hate? Even still, why are the murders not defined as hate crimes by law enforcement? 

The gaslighting of the issues Asian persons face in the United States is a consequence of the ‘model minority’ myth, which is a Reagan-era political tool used to divide and pin minority groups against one another,” Anthony Nguyen, a second-year law student at Georgia State, said. “This line of reasoning has been perpetuated for decades, and as a result, Asian plight in America is effectively censored and unseen.” 

Asian Americans are constantly told that there is no racism against them. Gaslighting these communities makes them voiceless and submissive. This is clearly seen in how law enforcement defines the murders and downplaying other hate crimes. 

We have to disassociate from the “model minority” myth. It is the only way our country will truly be able to serve Asian Americans justly. 

Even though there is an outcry, there is also solidarity. “Stop Asian Hate” rallies have been seen nationwide. Coast to coast, thousands have demonstrated. Along with protests, many organizations have gained support. 

In Atlanta, Asian American Resource Center and Asian American’s Advancing Justice champion these communities through legal advocacy and addressing poverty. Victim memorial funds have also been put in place for victims of different hate crimes, including the shooting. 

Pi Delta Psi, an Asian American cultural interest fraternity, is hosting a t-shirt fundraiser. Proceeds will go directly to the families of victims and the non-profit Stop AAPI Hate. 

Our student body needs to support each other and show solidarity. With a fraternity right on campus hosting a fundraiser, it is clear that there are resources in which to be involved more than just on social media. 

The lines between activism and performative activism are blurred. On the one hand, it is better than silence. However, some feel it shows a lack of actual acknowledgment and solidarity.

Social media consumes us, and it does not have to be a bad thing. Reposting something on your Instagram story but not having an open dialogue is harmful. It takes 10 seconds to repost, so what does it really prove? 

Sure, they are usually circulating for a good reason and to keep us informed, but ask yourself your intentions. If you are just scared of being called racist or ignorant, you may be a white person who does not see the whole picture. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with minorities in this country. 

“Like Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement, the Stop Asian Hate movement seeks to implement real and lasting change in our laws and our interactions with others,” Nguyen said. “We are not asking people to post Instagram stories daily or march in the streets every weekend. Instead, we ask others to learn why we are in this moment and how we got here. Our energy needs to be directed to making the conversation not only heard but moved forward.” 

Atlanta is hurting and tired. Our Asian communities are hurting and tired. Americans are hurting and tired. What’s next? 

“Stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder, so when anyone is attacked because of their race, gender [or[ identity, we can stand up to defeat this,” Ricky Ly, former board member of Pi Delta Psi, said. 

Take the time. Research organizations and victims to support or donate to. Go to a Stop Asian Hate rally. Take time to repost on social media, but read what you’re posting. Ask family and friends what they think, and tell them if they’re wrong. Tell them if they’re right. Support Asian-owned businesses. Read an article on different Asian cultures. Watch a documentary on the history of Asian American discrimination. 

It is messy and difficult to confront what is happening to our Asian American communities. We are continuing a fight that is generations long, and it is far from over. 

“It is critical to address the issues at hand, to acknowledge the root cause of these violent and deadly attacks — an intersection of racism, sexism, misogyny — so that we can root out these evils in our society. To look within ourselves and our histories to understand the past and move forward toward a more just and equitable tomorrow,” Ly said.