You’ve likely seen the hashtag #StopAsianHate circling on social media, but do you know why the campaign is trending, or what events originally sparked it going viral?
Six Asian women were murdered on Tuesday during mass shootings in Atlanta. The shootings took place at massage parlours across the city.
21-year-old Robert Aaron Long has been arrested in connection with the shootings, and while the motive isn’t yet confirmed, it took place at businesses with a high percentage of Asian staff members and killed eight women, six of whom were Asian. The Sheriff reporting on the arrest refused to confirm it as a hate crime, despite the law saying if a crime is motivated by gender or race, it qualifies.
This isn’t a one off. Anti-Asian hate crimes, violence and murders have been happening globally, and are still happening.
This is not ok. Racial hatred is never ok. But you know that, and that doesn’t implement change.
Here at Marie Claire UK, we believe it’s time to use that knowledge. To use our platforms to call out racial hatred, to actively stand with those targeted, and to shout loudly so change has to happen. We will keep up the pressure, and we will advocate for change—until change happens.
What is the #StopAsianHate movement?
In short, a response to the hatred Asian people are currently facing. The hashtag is being used globally to show support and solidarity with the Asian community.
Many victims, particularly the elderly, are being attacked in supermarkets and on the street. Heartbreaking videos are circling on social media showing elderly Asian victims sobbing after experiencing vicious hate crimes.
Rise in such hate crime seems to have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic, although exactly why remains unclear. Some believe it’s because COVID-19 originated from China.
What is clear is that these humans are being targeted, and both verbally and physically abused.
According to stats from Stop AAPI Hate, from March to December 2020, 126 incidents were reported against Asian Americans over 60 years old. Plus, researchers at the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found a 149% increase in these crimes compared to 2019, it’s been reported.
If you’re wondering why Asian elders are being targeted, Jennifer Chen offers an explanation for Oprah magazine. “They’re easy targets; most don’t speak English. In New York City alone, 1 in 3 Asian seniors live in a limited English-speaking household, can’t defend themselves, and likely won’t report what happened,” she shares.
“Anger, like pressure cooker steam, needs an outlet, but healthy means of expression may include releasing it through sport, channelling it through creative pursuits, or even a primal scream. Taking it out on another person who you might misguidedly see as a ‘representative target’ is abhorrent,” explains doctor Audrey Tang, a chartered psychologist and author of The Leader’s Guide to Resilience.
“As a British born Chinese-Malay of Perenakan heritage, the report of the Singaporean Jonathan Mok being attacked on Oxford Street in February 2020 was the start of my own concerns for safety,” she explains.
Sadly, she goes on to say they haven’t been eased throughout the year. “Now, we’re seeing abhorrent levels of hate crime in America. I’ve also been filled with sadness reading reports about East and SE Asian doctors being subject to abuse when they’re simply trying to do their very best for all.”
Sharn Khaira, business and mindset mentor at AFE Collective, agrees. “This movement has united people from a variety of backgrounds to come together and stand as one as they voice their concerns. We’re letting the world know that this is not ok. It must stop, before more innocent lives are lost,” she emphasises.
So, why now?
Just last month, 61-year-old Noel Quintana was attacked with a box cutter in New York, and a 91-year-old victim was shoved violently to the floor in California.
COVID-19 may not have helped, shares Khaira. “It’s no coincidence that this violence comes now, a year on from the pandemic originating in China,” she explains. “I also truly believe that Trump has fuelled a racist rhetoric and narrative,” she shares. “He has normalised being racist; he kept calling coronavirus the ‘Chinese flu’, which has only instilled racism and hatred in people,” she explains.
Sure, SARS-CoV-2 may have started it’s life in Wuhan, but this certainly does not mean being Chinese makes you responsible, stresses Tang. “If you were bitten by a dog, you wouldn’t blame all dogs,” she highlights.
Sadly, the ability to feel but not act on an emotion still feels like a lesson many need to learn, shares the psychologist.
What types of abuse are being seen?
For all the horrific physical violence currently being experienced, there is also a whole barrage of emotional and verbal abuse at play here. “68% of incidents reported are verbal harassment, while 11% were physical,” shares Khaira.
“As someone of Asian heritage, this makes me really sad,” she continues. “Especially as there hasn’t been mainstream coverage of this in UK media outlets. I do feel scared as an Asian woman and I know many of the women I know fear for their children, and the world they’re bringing them up in.”
Bottom line, racism should not still exist. The fact that racist attacks are still happening is not okay, and should never be allowed. “Media narratives don’t help. When the Capitol was stormed, the perpetrators were called thugs, despite being local terrorists and white supremacists. Had the Capitol been stormed by black or Asian people, the media would have called them terrorists,” expresses Khaira.
“It suggests that the core foundations our countries are built on need to be totally re-evaluated and overhauled,” she says. “That is, to make way for a new world where the colour of your skin or your ethnic origin doesn’t matter.”
Another issue? “These events might expose the unconscious bias of our very own friends and community,” shares Tang. For example, if people you hold close dismiss the events as over-dramatising, or fail to see why you might be concerned.
If this happens, remind them that this is about acknowledging that racism still exists, Tang advises. “Sometimes it’s unconscious, and while its consequences vary, it’s still wrong.”
#StopAsianHate is not about you. It’s about what you can do, how you can show solidarity. and how you can impact positively, too.”
What celebrities have spoken out to Stop Asian Hate?
- Kylie Jenner
- Daniel Dae Kim
- Gemma Chan
- Chrissy Teigen
- John Legend
- Barack Obama
- Olivia Munn
- Celeste Ng
- Eva Longoria
- Ellen Degeneres
- Jameela Jamil
- Harry Shum Jr.
- Simu Liu
- Ava DuVernay
- Janet Mock
- Mindy Kaling
- Olivia Munn
- Dionne Warwick
3 ways to stand in solidarity with the Stop Asian Hate movement
1. Share on social media
Open the conversation on your platforms, advises Khaira.
2. Support people of colour
“Don’t question racism and hate – just show your support instead,” she shares.
3. Call out racism
“That better future that we all dream of starts with you,” Khaira explains. “Make sure that you are doing your part and watch the ripple effect of your actions. Call out racism and have those difficult conversations with your racist family members.”
“As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’. We all have a part to play.”
For more information, do head to the Stop Asian Hate website.