Politics

Racism Is The Virus

The Asian-American Community Faces Racism and Violence

By: Kylie Hapuarachchi

Men and women rally against the crimes the Asian-American community has faced amid the pandemic. Credit: urban.org

Amid a pandemic, there has been a rise in violence against the Asian-American community. Men and women are being brutalized due to their ethnicity, all being racially motivated crimes.

Within the past couple of weeks of the new year, there has been an influx in crimes. From New York to California there has been a peak in violence. 

The Asian-American community is being blamed for the coronavirus because of where it had originated and due to some remarks that were made by our political leaders.

When a person of high authority makes remarks of a “china virus” or the “kung flu” it can lead to xenophobic reactions from the public. The increased racist attacks against this community clearly show how the words were spoken had a grave impact. 

In late January, an 84-year-old man Vicha Ratanapakdee, from Thailand died after suffering injuries from an attack he faced in San Francisco. A couple of days later a 91-year-old man was attacked in Oakland’s Chinatown. And very recently a 61-year-old man had his face slashed on a New York City subway. 

As of last year from March 19th to April 29th, there was an uptick in anti-Asian bigotry. Out of 1,710 reported cases, 69.6% was verbal harassment and the physical assault was 8.1%. 

Carl Chan, the president of Oaktown Chamber of Commerce, has mentioned about 20 assaults on the Asian-American community as of the past two weeks. He notes that most people have not even reported their attacks because of the time it takes for the police to come to the scene. 

The community has also faced economic distress as much of the rest of the world. They have faced it much harder because of the fear that the public has. Rather than fear, the ignorance that is in people makes them shun Chinese restaurants and stores because they believe that they will be more susceptible to the virus. 

The lack of tourists, the attacks and robberies, and the newfound violence that stems from the virus have left the Asian-American community barren in finances. 

Statistics show a broader picture of the discrimination and violence the community is facing. The New York Police Department has stated that there has been a 1,900 percent increase in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. 

In 2019, the NYPD claimed that there was one reported anti-Asian crime compared to 2020 when there were 20 reported just in the first half of the year. 

The influx of violence has led the Asian-American community to feel unsafe. They are worried about being targeted for their ethnicity. 

Public figures, political members, and even younger activists have used social media platforms to raise awareness. They believe that if more people see the injustices that they will speak out against them to make a change. 

People such as Max Leung, a co-founder of the San Francisco Peace Collective, in which they patrol Chinatown to help stop the burglaries and vandalism that has been occurring in that area. 

Others like Jason Chu, a hip-hop artist, created a song about the recent anti-Asian incidents. 

Anti-Asian incidents have always occurred, whether verbally attacked, physically, or even workplace prejudice. It has come more to light in the past couple of months because of the immense influx of attacks against the community.

The world is facing something much bigger; yet, racism still seems to play a prominent part in life. Racism is the virus, it is what kills the social standing of everyone living in it. 

Racism is what breaks the people that have once united together. It is what needs to stop for healing to occur.

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