The treatment of Asian-Americans in America has been appalling to say the least.
We have a history of micro-aggressions in addition to blatantly being racist towards this group of people. This outward racism seems to have not decreased over time.
In the past week, there was a horrific mass murder of six Asian women at a spa in Atlanta, Georgia. This was obviously a hate crime, but Robert Aaron Long, the suspect, claims it wasn’t.
He asserts that he has a sex addiction and wanted to eliminate any temptations; I guess this means killing innocent women.
There are some massage parlors that engage in prostitution, but so far, this one has no evidence of that. Even if it did, that is still no excuse to kill people.
Allegedly, Long was having a “bad day” which ultimately led to him murdering six Asian women. Surprisingly, he was charged with six counts of murder.
Even if this wasn’t racially motivated, he still decided to attack women specifically. In his mind, these women were just sex workers, when in reality they are much more.
These women are mothers, sisters and professionals, and deserve to be treated as such.
The reason this attack was so terrifying is because in the past year, assault on Asian-Americans has run rampant.
There are many people who refer to COVID-19 as the “China virus” and attack Asian people based on this claim. They blame Asian-Americans for the virus and yell obscene phrases at them in public.
This isn’t the first time in our history we’ve been racist towards Asian Americans.
The most prominent incident being the internment camps after Pearl Harbor. Asian Americans were sent to the West Coast, kept in confinement with curfews, had their businesses and belongings taken from them, and were demoralized.
Many people thought this would help “weed out” traitors, but really it was just an excuse to be blatantly racist. Almost no compensation was provided to these families after their livelihoods were taken from them, and it took years for people to realize this was a malicious approach.
Still today, this period of history isn’t presented accurately in our high school textbooks.
When hearing the word “Asian,” we often think of people who are of Chinese or Korean descent. However, Asian also means the Middle East as well.
Clearly, America’s history with the Middle East has been prejudicial; we understand the way Muslim people were treated after 9/11.
However, this extends beyond Muslim people; anyone who looked Middle Eastern was discriminated against.
Many people believe that just because someone of a specific race did something terrible, everyone of that race is now terrible; that is flawed logic. There have been many white people who have done something terrible, yet they get off scot free most of the time.
This issue is very concerning for me, not only because I have AAPI friends, but because my sister is Asian-American as well. I don’t want her to be in a situation where someone threatens her simply because of her ethnicity.
This blatant racism can happen anywhere, even in the places we feel the safest.
It seems as though people of color are relentlessly enduring discrimination. They have become targets simply because of their identities.
For example, Latinx people are being put in cages, African Americans are victims of police brutality, Native American women keep going missing with no one looking for them, and people are outwardly racist towards Asian-Americans.
We must do better to ensure people can go about their daily lives and feel safe. No one should have to feel like they must always watch their backs because someone might be having a bad day and commit a hate crime.
In order for society to become anti-racist, we must begin with holding people accountable. When people are held responsible for their actions, communities start to feel safer.
I truly hope Robert Aaron Long gets convicted on all six counts for murdering six innocent Asian women. If so, it will be the first step towards justice.