April 16th 2021
On March 16 in the city of Atlanta, eight working women in massage parlors were murdered, six of these women were of Asian origin. The person who carried out the act declared that he had no racist motivations, however the act generated heartfelt support against racism towards the Asian community.
For leaders of the Asian community, this event shows the long and silenced history of discrimination in the country, the increasing hostile attitudes, and the violence and harassment towards the Asian community after COVID-19 was detected in China. The discrimination Asians are experiencing include:being spit on, being cursed at,, rejected, and discrimination in workplaces.
The NGO, Stop AAPI Hate, dedicated to preventing Asian discrimination, has reported that “in the last year around 3,800 cases have been reported against citizens of Asian origin on US soil, including verbal and physical assaults, discrimination and abuse of their rights, and only between January 1 and February 28, 2020; hate incidents against Asians were documented according to the group’s latest report published recently. In this regard, the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Gutiérrez expressed: “Hate speech is in itself an attack on tolerance, inclusion, diversity and the very essence of our human rights norms and principles. In general, it undermines social cohesion, erodes shared values and can lay the foundations for violence, pushing back the cause of peace, stability, sustainable development and the fulfillment of human rights for all. “
Various human rights organizations have revealed the increase in xenophobia and racism towards Asians, not only in the United States, but also in other counties as well. The use of derogatory language towards Asians in the media from politicians is found in.Italy, Spain, France and Germany where political leaders and senior officials have directly or indirectly promoted an anti-Chinese discourse. The United Nations Secretary-General said on March 8, 2020, that “the pandemic has unleashed a wave of hatred, seeking scapegoats and fostering fear,” and Jhon Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, noted that “the racism and physical attacks against people of Asia and Asian descent have spread with the Covid 19 pandemic.
Currently Asians (from India, Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea) constitute the largest group of migrants in the United States, revealed the Pew Center Report in 2012 Asians reside in the United States, which constitutes the 5.8% of the total population and in the last census, they represented 37.4 percent of legal migrants. Academic training is what distinguishes them from other migrants in the USA, since they are a highly specialized force of the 21st century. Currently six out of 10 Asians between the ages of 25 and 64 have a bachelor’s degree and 65% have attended university, 49% have an academic degree. Contrary to the historical migration of their ancestors who arrived with few economic resources and no educational level.
For this article, I could find reference to specific laws that protect Asians against harassment, discriminatory attitudes and various forms of violence such as those they are currently experiencing. According to CNN Politics, there are laws in the USA against these forms of violence, but not specific to protect Asians from what they are currently experiencing as a result of the pandemic. It is a fact that laws are very important and help to solve problems, however a profound cultural change is required in the United States, in fact the growth and rejection of the population of the United States in general is positive, which has joined the defense of Asian migrants.
I think that anti-Asian hatred should not be allowed to be a legacy of Covid 19. To avoid it, citizens, governments and authorities must propose and demand concrete actions; First of all, it is very important that the attacks against Asians are made visible, that they continue to be recorded and documented as the NGO Stop AAPI Hate is doing. Second, governments must take steps to promote respect, counteract hate speech that comes out of public institutions, the media, and social media. Third, promote a change in behavior and respect for other cultures, through the adoption of special public education initiatives in schools, universities, churches, public and private institutions. And fourth, governments must offer direct support to communities that are victims of racial discrimination.