Due to COVID-19, hate crimes against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have increased exponentially. This xenophobia stems from Americans who hold Asians responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cynthia Choi, an activist who helped create Stop AAPI Hate, attributed anti-Chinese rhetoric in the United States to Donald Trump’s use of terms like “Chinese virus” and “Kung flu” in relation to the coronavirus. Perpetrators of hate crimes have parroted these terms while continuing to spread orientalist stereotypes and racist rhetoric.
Stop AAPI Hate, aimed at tracking and responding to incidents of AAPI hate, reported over 2,500 instances. Seven out of 10 instances involved verbal harassment, including racial slurs, name-calling and profanities. Shunning constituted 22 percent of instances, and physical assaults made up 9 percent of incidents.
Reports from Asian Americans show the level of hate many individuals have encountered and the resulting fear.
“A woman targeted me out of a group of people and shoulder pushed me extremely hard where my phone nearly fell out of my hands,” One victim shared in the report. “She then said to me, “F**k you, ch**k.” Afterwards, she spat on a man who defended me and tried to spit on me as well.”
This single report is one of many which describe the pain and humiliation AAPI have faced in the wake of COVID-19.
Although there are no reported incidents in the Kansas City metro, members of the AAPI have vocalized concern about going out in public due to the national rise in hate crimes. Some Asian Americans have voiced that they have felt self-conscious as an Asian American in public in Kansas City for the first time during COVID-19.
In response to rising hate crimes, Asian advocates have emphasized the need for highlighting Asian voices and perspectives. Accurate and detailed reporting about instances of hate crimes are necessary for educating the public and increasing visibility. Stop AAPI Hate and Stand Against Hatred by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice are platforms that empower Asians to educate and inform others.
Everyone is called to take a stance against AAPI hate, and bystander training is an easy and important way to learn how to combat hate crimes. Asian Americans Advancing Justice in collaboration with Hollaback created a free bystander online training workshop that can be found here.
Empowering AAPI by raising funds and supporting businesses are ways in which you can combat hate. Most importantly, continued mindfulness and a dedication to anti-racism are vital to ending hate crimes against AAPI.