The Violence Against AAPIs

Beginning at the start of the pandemic, racism and violence against AAPIs, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, have spiraled to 1,900% more than usual in New York City. One of the most recent cases of this violence toward AAPIs has been seen when an 84-year-old man was thrown to the ground and later passed away. The news source, TIME, continues the list by saying, “the assault of a 64-year-old Vietnamese grandmother who was assaulted and robbed in San Jose, Calif., and the attack on a 61-year-old Filipino man whose face was slashed with a box cutter on a New York City subway.”

These attacks against AAPIs aren’t a coincidence, as many claim that the recent increase in violence toward AAPIs is due to the previous president, Donald Trump, who used hurtful rhetoric toward blaming the Coronavirus on Chinese people. “There’s a clear correlation between President Trump’s incendiary comments, his insistence on using the term ‘Chinese virus’ and the subsequent hate speech spread on social media and the hate violence directed towards us. It gives people license to attack us. The current spate of attacks on our elderly is part of how that rhetoric has impacted the broader population,” says Russel Jeung, one of the founders of Stop AAPI Hate. 

To prevent this, Biden has signed an executive order that takes a closer look at Asian American oppression, but at White House Briefings, the news source, Axios, states, “Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would ‘support additional action on the local level or the federal level,’ but neither the White House nor the Justice Department offered specifics.” However, they are still standing against xenophobia as Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted, “Hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans and Asian immigrants have skyrocketed during the pandemic. That’s why our Administration has taken action to address these xenophobic attacks. We must continue to commit ourselves to combating racism and discrimination.” 

People have been standing up against this discrimination and violence, as an organization known as Stop AAPI hate has emerged. They have documented many of the racist attacks against AAPIs and have given resources for people to use if presented with any violence. Many of these violent attacks have been toward elderly AAPIs including those over the age of 60 years. Verbal harassment has been the top attack towards AAPIs following shunning, physical assault, being coughed or spat at, online attacks, workplace oppression, and more. John Yang, the executive director as well as president of AAJC says, “The reality is many of these involve videos where you see direct, violent attacks on elders. And so when you see that, there’s a visceral reaction — that I think all of us rightfully have — to seeing someone that is very vulnerable in our society getting attacked in this senseless and tragic manner.” 

So, to stop this violence and oppression toward AAPIs, there are many things people can do to help. The news source, RollingStone, suggests three things; providing community resources, inter-community and inter-Racial Dialogue, and education. We need to have help and resources for AAPIs, especially the targeted elderly. Additionally, RollingStone gives a good perspective on addressing the importance of connecting different oppressed communities. RollingStone continues to talk to John Yang who says, “Having these conversations not only within the Asian community [and] making sure Chinese Americans are talking to Indian Americans, are talking to Vietnamese Americans. But then expand that out — talking to the Black community, the Latino community, too, because the bottom line is, we’re all in this together. And if we all feel that connective thread, that connective tissue, that’s what’s going to lead to longer-term solutions, longer-term protection of all of us during this environment.” Finally, education is very crucial to ending this violence. If we realize that AAPIs are a part of this country, the divide and oppression causing this hate may end. 

There are other resources for donation to ending AAPI violence like several Gofundmes and online sources; through social media, I was even able to donate. You can support Asian-owned businesses or just simply call out racist behavior because even things that may seem small are never acceptable. Posting awareness posts on Instagram is great for people to become aware of these topics, but it’s important to not make this become a trend that is simply done for the act of posting instead of for the intention of helping. Hopefully, through better understanding and education, the violence against AAPIs can end and we can realize that hate itself is the virus.