Attacks and hate crimes against Asians have increased in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since March in 2020 when the pandemic started, violent discrimination including verbal violence continuously happening as if to say the cause of pandemic is Asians.
According to BBC NEWS, “the advocacy group Stop APPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islander) Hate said it received more than 2,800 reports of hate incidents directed at Asian Americans nationwide last year.” Violent attacks against Asians and Asian Americans have been getting worse since the beginning of 2021.
On Jan 28, in San Francisco, an 84-year-old man who immigrated from Thailand, was attacked by a 19-year-old man. He was violently slapped to the ground on the street, and died two days later.
On Feb. 3, in New York, a Filipino American man, Noel Quintana, was attacked. After boarding a subway train in Brooklyn, he and a stranger began to argue when the stranger suddenly kicked Quintana’s tote bag which he was holding. The stranger slashed Quintana’s face from ear to ear with a box cutter . Quintana explained what happened in an article to People.
“I put my hand on my face and when I saw my hand, it was full of blood,” Quintana said. “I asked for help, but nobody helped, nobody moved.”
On Feb. 16, another Asian American man, Denny Kim, was suddenly attacked in Los Angeles’s Koreatown by two men who started yelling racist words. The man told CNN the men were blaming him for the coronavirus.
“All of sudden they just started saying very terrible things,” Kim said. “You have the Chinese Virus, go back to China.”
The San Francisco area has the largest and oldest Chinatown, which became the setting for at least 18 attacks against Asians in Febuary.
Human Rights Watch said Asian racism is in a dangerous stage.
“Governments should take urgent steps to prevent xenophobic violence and discrimination linked to the COVID-19 pandemic while prosecuting racial attacks against Asians and people of Asian descent,” Human Rights Watch said.
The United States Congress criticized the hate crime against Asians and promised to deal with it quickly.
Asians and people of Asian descent have been targeted by politicians in the media and hate speech in social media. Human Rights Watch also discussed the effect of racism terms when used by prominent political figures.
“(Former) U.S. President Donald Trump’s use of the term ‘Chinese virus’ and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s use of ‘Wuhan virus’ may have encouraged the use of hate speech in the U.S.,” Human Rights Watch said. “Although by late March, Trump stepped back from using the term and issued a tweet in support.”
There are about 21 million Asian Americans in the United States. Many of them stood up and spoke against the rise in hate crimes and violent incidents toward Asian Americans.According to ABC7 NEWS, the Lead Youth Organizer for Chinese Progressive Association, Lai Wa Wu, spoke during a gathering which the community organized at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza to condemn hate crimes.
“We are here to say, we are not targets,” Wa Wu said.
An international Oklahoma Christian University student from Asia, who preferred to be anonymous, spoke of their experiences with racism in the United States. Although they have never had a violent encounter with racism, they felt discrimination during the pandemic during grocery shopping.
“My friend and I saw that people at the store obviously avoided us,” they said. “I was scared to go somewhere because a racist thing might happen to me there.”
Another international student from an Asian country shared their coronavirus-related racism experience
“I was anxious before coming to the U.S. because of Asian racism, and what I worried about happened to me actually,” they said. “I was mad first. After that, I felt scared that a person who had a racist idea was around me.”