by Ayuda Development Intern
Covid-19 has taken many lives and destroyed the livelihood of thousands of people. It forced us to live a new normal while keeping up with the regular day-to-day responsibilities. However, as the pandemic draws on, the number of hate crimes committed against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders have been rapidly increasing. According to Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting data base, they have collected 2,808 reports of Anti-Asian crimes from March 19 to December 31, 2020. These reports came from 47 states and the District of Columbia. The percentage may be bigger as not all incidents have been reported. Reports include getting slashed, or pushed, an increase in bullying in schools, destruction of local businesses, verbal attacks in public, and workplace discrimination.
The actions towards Asian and Pacific Islander people are nothing new. Harassment and crimes against Asian and Pacific Islander communities is a topic that not many talk about or easily write off as a joke. However, the usage of the terms “Chinese Virus” and “Kung-flu” feeds into people’s fears. These terms alone make it sound like it is acceptable to start blaming people for a global pandemic that has taken the lives of over a million people. Asian and Pacific Islander people are used as a scapegoat by the previous administration due to their failures at containing the virus.
While it is not okay to start pointing the blame at others, it is time to start holding people accountable. Offensive jokes or misconceptions of being a model minority not only attacks but also undermines the unique experiences each Asian and Pacific Islander person has gone through. It is also time to start speaking up and making noise about this issue as the mainstream media refuses to do so.
If you or someone you know require resources, Stop AAPI Hate has their website set up in different languages. They have safety tips for victims and bystanders, reports and press releases, and a place to report incidents. For frequent updates and news, ABAR educator Liz Kleinrock creates helpful infographics about the situation.
A fairer and healthier America can start once we all start helping one another. Allyship is key, and silence is deadly.