Anti-Asian Hate Crimes During the Pandemic

Anti-Asian Hate Crimes During the Pandemic

Samantha George

If you’ve been on social media the past two years, it would come as no surprise to hear that hate crimes against Asian Americans have been rising. So fast in fact, that these crimes have acutally spiked 150% in 2020. Hate crimes against Asian Americans are no new phenomenon  though. In 1882, the U.S government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, prohibiting Chinese laborers from immigrating to the U.S and denying citizenship to the ones already in the country. In WWll, the infamous internment camps housed Japanese Americans, regardless of their citizenship status. These harrowing examples of racism do not stop there —  plenty of lynchings, killings and assaults of Asian Americans have occured in this nation’s history. 


Personally, most of the comments I have received about being Indian are microaggressions, which are subtle and often unintentional discriminations against someone. For example, people often point out negatives about India to me, such as  “how dirty it is.” These comments, although small, can have a big impact on the way a person feels about themselves.


In the past couple months, many Asian Americans have encountered more violence than just microaggressions. A recent killing spree of 8 women, 6 of whom were Asian, in spas across Atlanta by a white man who saw the women as  “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate”. This crime highlights the hypersexualization of Asian women, which is a harmful stereotype caused by racism. Another incident involved the assault of an elderly Asian woman on the subway in Brooklyn, NY. Similarly, a second Asian woman was attacked in San Francisco. 


Many of these incidents of hate against the Asian American community can be traced back to the belief that Asian people, especially Chinese people, are responsible for creating COVID-19. This harmful belief has been echoed by many people, most notably former President Donald Trump, who called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.” This statement is used as a reason to attack and harass anyone who looks Asian.


Although the sudden spike of Asian hate crimes is shaking many in our country, many Asian students here at Lakota West are not feeling it.  One student, Danah Shi, said that she believed the community of West Chester to be a safe and accepting place for Asian Americans. Even though this is good news for our community, it’s not the whole truth. Jenny Huynh, a Vietnamese woman who works as a nail technician in West Chester, was aggressively told by a white man at the Beckett Ridge Koger that she should “ go back to China” because she was not welcome here.


It is hoped, as people start to realize that this current trend of violence against Asian Americans is not acceptable and has to be stopped, and more Asian Americans will not have to worry about being unsafe in their own homes. The best thing all of us can do is support Asians and try to keep an open mind about everyone.