Hi, my name is Katrina Tran and I am currently a second year social work major here at OSU. This podcast today is going to cover and discuss the recent events concerning anti- Asian hate. Over the past year, this is a topic that has been seen numerous times on the news and social media as anti- Asian hate and anti- Asian hate crimes have risen an enormous amount. So let’s get into it.
Why was there a spark in anti- Asian hate you may be wondering? Let’s travel back to 2020 for a little bit.
2020 was a year of the unknowns. It was a time where questions were being asked constantly, with little to no answers as the coronavirus first hit the United States. As quarantine went on, the Black Lives Matter movement hit the news and social media and topics including systemic racism and social injustices sparked uncomfortable conversations. The media played a big part in how events were portrayed and let’s just say, matters became worse as the president al election was looming in the distance.
The first spark that contributed to this anti- Asian hate culture stemmed from the pandemic, as Donald Trump explicitly called the coronavirus “the Chines virus”. Let’s take a moment to baffle in this statement. As the year went on, racial slurs and offensive language were all ways of verbal abuse to those in the Asian American community. The pandemic was hitting us all hard, but caused the Asian American community to feel a sense of additional hatred in a time were people all over the country were suffering. As the pandemic continued and people begin slowly getting back to a normal- as- can- be life, a turn of violence and hate crimes starting spiking around the United States.
The Black Lives Matter Movement sparked a lot of uncomfortable conversations, that personally, I think people never thought about when speaking about racism. The topics of social injustice, systemic racism, and xenophobia, all very important topics, but again, the lack of education on these topics were what propelled people to speak about them to help the community. This goes for the Asian American community as well.
Social injustices are not specific to any one race, gender, or group of people, it happens all around us, even in little ways that we may have never thought about. The Asian American community has been looked at as a “model minority” as people like to say for a very long time. What are the constraints of this so called “model minority”? Why is the Asian American community label as a “model minority”? These are all questions that arose during this rise of Anti- Asian hate. This stereotype was based in a way that people wanted other races to act like how Asian Americans did so that is where this label had come from.
So let’s talk about some of the recent hate crimes. A 84 year old Thai immigrant died after being shoved to the ground on a walk in San Francisco. A Chinese woman was slapped and then set on fire in New York. A Filipino American was cut on his face with a box cutter on the subway in New York. And the shooting in Atlanta, where 8 people died. All of these hate crimes targeted toward the Asian American community, all of them tragic and stemmed in hatred. It doesn’t just stop with violence however, people being verbally attacked when out in the community, at restaurants, just living their normal lives. How can any of this be acceptable? Short answer, it shouldn’t be.
Let’s dive into these uncomfortable conversations a little more. Asian Americans have experienced racism, but in different ways than other races may have. Mircoaggressions are a huge way that Asian Americans experience racism. I want to speak on an article written in Google’s diversity and inclusion section by the marketing analytics and operations director. She spoke about the time she was in the Houston airport where she was being asked “where are you from” constantly from a strange man. She never answered the first time he asked, so he continued asking. He starting listening off different countries in a hopes she would tell him and even spoke loudly and slowly in English assuming she did not understand him. A women ended up answering for her, saying “how about American?”. She speaks about these mircoagressions, small phrases that are used about Asian stereotypes, to explain how no matter how hard she worked towards the so called “American Dream” that she would never be viewed or feel like a true American. This struggle of finding one’s identity between their culture and America is one that many people experience both in and out of the Asian American community. She also speaks about a topic that we have discussed throughout this course of the “One” and the “Othering” and her story is a great example of it.
I think this is a really great explain of verbal harassment towards the Asian American community. This story helps give insight to how different Asian Americans are being treated by strangers. I want to take a minute to discuss my own personal experiences.
As an Asian American, my parents were both immigrants from Vietnam and settled down in a small, pre- dominantly white community in Northwest, Ohio. After I was born in Ohio, I spent the first four years of my life back in Vietnam before I came back to Ohio to start school. As I grew up, a lot of my culture disappeared, disappeared from various parts of my life as I tried to fit in with my classmates. Different microaggressions were used constantly, even by me. I did not think at the time that I was offending myself or my Asian roots as I distanced myself from it to fit in. I did not know this was happening at the time, but once I came to college, the experiences and uniqueness I found about myself inspired me to realize that my culture was actually a big part of who I am. Microaggresions like “oh do you eat cats”, “can you see since your eyes are so small”, and many more were phrases that I was asked constantly.
So where do these stem from? I think a lot of it has to do with stereotypes that have been thought about the Asian American community for a long time. With the recent hate crimes directed toward the Asian American community, what’s the next step.
Protests on stopping Asian American hate have been very popular as people are standing up against these injustices. Famous actors are speaking up on social media about their experiences. Lana Condor for example was a huge actress that spoke about her experience as an Asian American and the struggles she has faced in Hollywood as an Asian American actress. Social media has been a place to share stories, information, and more on the the events occurring, what we can do to stop Asian American hate, and awareness about some of the things that happen to the Asian American community and people’s experiences.
I think that as we look at social injustices, it is all around us. Microagressions are just a small way that it is happening. Social injustices aren’t just seen in the Asian American community. Look at the Black Lives Matter Movement, it’s happening to so many different races and what are we doing to stop it?
I think that education is a huge step in the right direction. Education about hate crimes, systemic racism, social injustice. All of these things are present in our society, but have we taken the time to learn about it. Systemic racism was never an issue I personally was educated about until it became a popular topic of conversation during the past year. I never knew I was experiencing microagressions until it became a topic of conversation with the spike of anti- Asian hate. These are all things that are occurring, so now is the time to educate ourselves and others on these topics. Education can be found through reliable social media and news sources, from personal experiences and recognition of specific things, and many other ways of accessing information. I personally have found that I enjoy reading Skimm, an unbiased source that discusses current events that I receive once a week or so.
This is the time for us to speak about the issues in society, not just about race, but about all social injustices towards different groups of people. We all have the responsibly to take action and speak about what is happening within our society. All of these issues have been happening for decades, and everyone seems quite fed up that change is not being made. It takes a lot of self- reflection, I have found to be able to understand why education and speaking on uncomfortable topics are important. So the big question is, what can you do to help make change in your life, your community, and in society?
Cai, Weiyi, and Audra. Punched, Kicked, Shoved: Documenting the Anti-Asian Violence. 4 Apr. 2021, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/03/us/anti-asian-attacks.html.
Cabral, Sam. “Covid ‘Hate Crimes’ against Asian Americans on Rise.” BBC News, BBC, 2 Apr. 2021, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56218684.
Tsai, Eva. “Why I’m Speaking out against Anti-Asian Hate.” Google, Google, 18 Mar. 2021, blog.google/outreach-initiatives/diversity/why-im-speaking-out-against-anti-asian-hate/.