Despite growing condemnation of Asian hate crimes after the shooting spree in Atlanta last month, related cases have not abated. On April 3, an Asian woman was stabbed to death while walking in Riverside, California. At the end of last month, there was an assault on a Korean in the subway in eastern New York and a disturbance at a convenience store in North Carolina. There was also a case where a Korean man was hit by a teenager on the street and seriously injured.
Statistics show that fear is bound to grow, to the extent that Koreans are refraining from going out. According to a University of California survey, hate crimes against Asians in major U.S. cities last year increased 1.5 times compared to the previous year. There are reports that the number of related crimes filed with the New York police has increased from three in 2019 to 28 last year, and that the number has already reached 35 this year. It is difficult to deny that the COVID-19 situation was the trigger for such hate crimes, as there are frequent rants such as “the virus is disgusting” and “go back to China.”
Racism in the U.S. is not something that happened yesterday or today, but the U.S. political community is responsible for the Asian issue attracting such attention. This is because the Donald Trump administration, which encouraged discrimination through the deportation of immigrants, kept referring to the “Chinese virus” whenever it took time to discuss the spread of COVID-19, trying to shift responsibility. This is why the Joe Biden government, which has pledged to strengthen the pursuit and prosecution of racially motivated crimes, should try to prevent similar cases from happening with more stringent law enforcement.
It is also necessary for Asians, including Koreans, to raise their voices, such as continuing organized protest campaigns. After the shootings last month, related protests took place in various parts of the United States. It goes without saying that our government should, whenever it has an opportunity, ask the U.S. government to pay more attention to this issue through diplomatic channels. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General should also consider expanding the number of departments and personnel dedicated to racially motivated crime to actively deal with the issue.