Column: Hate crimes against Asian Americans rising

Destiny Blanchard

Hate crimes against people of color, in general, are not a new reality for people in the U.S. Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have risen since the start of the pandemic last year.

A lot of the blame can come from the anti-Asian and xenophobic rhetoric spewed by former president Trump at the start of the pandemic.

Trump, along with his supporters, constantly referred to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and blamed China for the cause of the pandemic. Because of this hate speech, many racist people have felt comfortable openly attacking Asian Americans.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans aren’t unheard of but there’s been a definite rise in these crimes since the start of the pandemic. In 2019 only 216 hate crimes were reported against Asian Americans while 2,808 crimes were reported from March to December of 2020.

Many Asian Americans and supporting activists have been making efforts to spread awareness to the public of what’s been going on. There have been some efforts from government-run organizations as well. The NYPD created an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. This task force’s purpose was to investigate the crimes, but also allowed for Asian Americans to feel more comfortable reporting them.

Unfortunately, something like a specified task force only seems available in places like New York where the communities are more diverse and the police force is stronger. Without spreading the word we can’t expect more efforts to be made throughout the rest of the country.

The next step is to ask ourselves what the rest of us can do to help the situation. Many activists have used their social media platforms to spread awareness. There have also been many GoFundMe’s started to financially support those who have been killed due to the attacks, and there are many nonprofits you can donate to.

Organizations such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop AAPI Hate, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Womankind and the Anti-Defamation League all exist to go against Asian discrimination. Also, it helps to normalize having conversations about incidents of discrimination in general to let those from disenfranchised communities feel safe enough to speak about it on their own.

We can’t leave all the work to be done by Asian Americans alone. The more of us there are to make an effort, the closer we will get to stop the hate.

 

Destiny Blanchard is a junior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]