Working for an Effective Plan To End Asian American Discrimination

OPD: 16 May 2021

Edited by Gillian Palmer, proof in progress

Note to Editor: Unable to source quote by Zhao

Harassment and violence against Asian Americans has become a serious issue in America. Murder of Asian Americans continues to be reported around the country, breeding deep anxiety in the Asian American community, including those with Japanese backgrounds. We cannot allow this situation to continue. The Joe Biden administration, which has vowed to heal the division in American society, is working to ease racial tensions, including deep-seated prejudices against African Americans. With luck, the administration will draft an effective policy.

On March 16, in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, in the South, a mass shooting took the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in an incident many see as a hate crime. On March 29, in New York City, a Filipina woman was repeatedly kicked in the head by an African American man on the street, who shouted, “You don’t belong here.” She suffered serious injuries. Also in New York City on May 2, two Asian women were attacked randomly with a hammer by a woman in Hell’s Kitchen. Just before the attack, the attacker demanded, “Take off your f—— mask.”

According to a study of 16 of America’s largest cities by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen by 150% year after year, with a total number of incidents rising to 122.

What fuels all this is the fact that many view China as the source of COVID-19. As a way of distracting from his own government’s responsibilities, former President Donald Trump dubbed COVID-19 “the Chinese virus,” fueling vitriol toward China and fanning the flames of Asian American discrimination.

In contrast, Biden is making a point of addressing the issue. Along with Vice President Kamala Harris, whose mother is from India, Biden visited Atlanta, and said, “Hate can have no safe harbor in America,” as he showed his willingness to work out a plan. Last month, the Senate resoundingly passed a bill targeting anti-Asian hate crimes. This kind of action is important in the effort to spread the message of anti-discrimination.

Seeing famous Asians in the arts and in sports stand up against this hate is also reassuring. In a joint video by the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association, Naomi Osaka said, “I hope that people start to respect and love Asian culture, Asian people.” At last year’s U.S. Open, in protest against the series of violent attacks by white police officers against African American men, Osaka wore face masks with the names of victims on them, showing her unconditional support. As we work toward eliminating prejudice toward Asians, I hope her criticism spurs people to action.

At this year’s Academy Awards, Chloé Zhao, originally from China, won an Oscar for best director for her film “Nomadland,” becoming the first woman of color to win the award. During a press conference, she touched on prejudice against Asians, saying, “I hope we can come together as one and stop all this hate toward each other.”*

Even Japan has its own type of discrimination and prejudice. Each and every one of us needs to speak out and work toward eliminating such hate. This is something we must never forget to do.

*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, this remark could not be independently verified.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply