Asian Hate Is Being Ignored: We Need Change


Since the start of the pandemic, the number of AAPI hate crimes have increased. Data courtesy of Stop AAPI Hate’s National Report. (Graphic made by Amy Batmunkh)

In the past year, the Asian American community has been a victim to countless insidious attacks that were perpetuated by President Trump’s rhetoric. Asian people were unfairly blamed for the “Wuhan Virus” and the “Kung Flu.” While the daily indignities I face are incomparable to the violent attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, they come from the same place of ignorance that I’ve always been aware of. 

Each day on Instagram, Twitter, and various news sources, I see too many incidents involving Asians across the country being attacked solely for existing. It deeply pained me, because in these attacks I saw people like my mother and grandmother, people in my life who I love whose suffering would destroy me. I realized that it could happen to any one of us, and that’s terrifying. 

According to the Stop AAPI Hate organization’s national report, there were 3,795 reported hate incidents (almost 70% of which targeted women) from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, an increase since the start of the pandemic. This doesn’t include the Atlanta spa shootings that took place in March, with six of the eight victims also being Asian women. 

Two of my identities, being female and Asian in America, are being threatened. Damaging stereotypes portray Asian women as submissive and falsely characterize us as weak. Our daily experiences and the media tell us that we must be “this” because we are “that.” It gets exhausting.

“I bet you got a perfect grade on that test.”

“You’re so quiet, do you speak English?”

“But where are you really from?”

These are just some of the harmful stereotypes and microaggressions that I, as well as many other Asian American students, have been hearing since the start of my education. We need this to stop. 

This discrimination also takes a toll on our health. In a study conducted by professors at Cornell, Harvard, and USC, one hundred and fifty two Asian American college students were exposed to 20 microaggressions every day. These included statements about being seen as perpetually foreign, performing above average in academics, and not actually experiencing racism. Ultimately, the study found that in 37 of 40 cases, there was an increased risk of sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression when faced with discrimination every day. We are continuously battered, both physically and mentally.

The feeling of being expected to look, act, or speak a certain way because I am Asian is damaging. The model minority myth that paints Asian students as living in two-parent homes, excelling in everything, and as obviously foreign is false and dangerous to our mental and physical health. It’s not true for all AAPI; I don’t have two parents at home, I don’t get straight A’s, and I was born and raised in the United States. The idea that all Asians in America have it “easy” because we are the model minority ignores the struggles of working class, single parent, immigrant families.

The ignorance is made even more clear when people choose not to address and confront these microaggressions when they happen. I want you to be aware and actively work to eliminate this other deadly pandemic. I want you to stop ignoring the hate, and do something to make change. Do something to protect Asian mothers, fathers, grandparents, and community members. Speak out, preach peace and tolerance to others. 

Staying silent only breeds more hate.