In shockingly graphic videos across social media, we can see the conspicuous target Asian Americans have begun to bear. From being shoved to the ground to slashed in the face, the elderly members of the Asian American community have taken the brunt of the violence. Something must be done.
Though the United States is under new leadership, it has already been tainted by the Trump Administration. In a briefing set the earlier months of the pandemic, former President Trump had coined the term, ‘China virus’, instead of the medical term, in a petty attempt to humiliate the Chinese government. In one photograph of his speech, he had even crossed out ‘corona’ and replaced it with ‘Chinese’. He had sacrificed the peacefulness of the very lives he was sworn to protect.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased by a startling 1900%. According to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization dedicated to standing against racism towards Asian American Pacific Islanders, vulnerable groups are predominately targeted. Individuals under 20 years old reported 13.6% of anti-Asian crime, while elderly over 60 make up 7.3%.
However inclusive 21st-century individuals pride themselves to be, much remains before society can truly bear the adjective. The Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the globe these past few months has only just begun. Mere marches and social media posts aren’t enough.
The same applies to the Asian American community— the very same Asian Americans who have endured public scrutiny for months over something they had no control over. The same Asian Americans are confused with the individuals in another country, who sit 7,233 miles away from the United States.
In the recent violence, anyone bearing a physical resemblance to the Chinese is automatically targeted, including Koreans, Vietnamese, Filipinos, and more. 15.1% of Koreans have reported experiencing COVID-19 discrimination and 8.2% of Vietnamese. States that are home to higher numbers of Asian Americans have reported the most incidents.
For California, where Asian American locals have begun fearing for their safety, some action has already been put into place. Newly appointed chief of police of Oakland, Chief Leronne Armstrong, recently announced plans of a liaison position to represent the Asian community.
At Oakland’s local Chinatown, community members have banded together in a project known as Compassion in Oakland. Over 300 individuals have volunteered to escort elderly Asian Americans, promising a safer journey for them. (Learn more about Compassion in Oakland here.)
While these actions are promising for the Asian American community, more can be done. Racism towards Asians are either ignored or labelled as insignificant. In times like these, when the people of the world are recovering together, it’s important to stand together.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”—Leo Buscaglia