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Since March 2021, incidents involving discrimination and attacks against people of Asian descent have been rising. The Stop AAPI Hate forums recorded in March 2020 that nearly 3800 hate crime incidents were committed against Asians, with more incidents targeting women rather than men. From March 2020 to March 2021, that number increased from 3795 to 6603 cases. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino claims that hate crimes against Asians have increased by 149 percent in 2021.
One particular incident occurred on March 16 2021, where a series of shootings took place in Atlanta, Georgia. Three spas/massage parlors were targeted and eight people were killed, six of whom were Asian women. Many people immediately claimed that this was a hate crime. According to the police, however, the shooter’s motives were a result of him “dealing” with his sexual addictions. A Georgia district attorney is seeking the death penalty and has added hate crime charges. Regardless, this event struck fear among many Asians across the nation.
Here in the Bay Area, unprovoked attacks against Asian Americans have been occurring more frequently. In one incident, a 70 year old Asian woman, Xiao Zhen Xie, was attacked by a 39 year old man for no apparent reason. She was left with two black eyes. A donation fund was set up for her medical bills and her family decided to donate any extra funds to the AAPI community. In Oakland, the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce President, Carl Chan, was attacked on the 29th of April. Chan was running errands when he was suddenly attacked. Chan said that the perpetrator repeatedly cursed at him and called him racial slurs. The police were able to catch the suspect and he is being charged with hate crimes.
New York has also seen an increase in hate crimes from 3 in 2019 to 28 in 2020. One incident was when Brandon Elliot punched and kicked a 65 year old Asian woman. Before he committed the crime, he yelled “You don’t belong here, you Asian.” The Asian woman suffered a fractured pelvis and contusions to her forehead and body.
We interviewed one Washington High School student who is Asian to hear what he thinks about the situation. He wanted to remain anonymous. We asked if he felt safe knowing that there were people actively targeting people of Asian descent. He responded with “I feel safe in Fremont, but if I were to travel farther away, it would be a bit more concerning to me.” When asked if he had encountered any hate crimes himself, he said “I have not but I see a lot of them on news and social media.” He believes that the authorities could reduce hate crimes by being more active in areas with high numbers of people of Asian descent.