Racism against Asian-Americans has been prevalent since they arrived in the United States in the late 1800s. Recently, however, with the coronavirus pandemic, the crimes and prejudice against Asian-Americans have risen tremendously.
Many people, even former President Donald Trump, have blamed either people of Asian descent or Asia itself for the start of the global pandemic. Trump has gone so far as to call the virus “The Chinese Virus” because it had originated from Wuhan, China.
This year alone, crimes against people of Asian descent have been extreme, as anti-Asian hate crimes have risen by 145%, while overall hate crimes have dropped by 6%.
In March of this year, eight people were killed in mass shootings at three different locations in Atlanta, Georgia. The suspect, a white man named Robert Long, killed all eight people. Six of the eight people killed by Long were Asian women.
There was the most influx of anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City, which saw an increase of 223%. Following those in New York, hate crimes in San Francisco surged by 140% and in Los Angeles by 80%.
With all of this darkness, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. On May 20, 2021, after tweeting, “Hate has no place in America – and I look forward to making that clear this afternoon by signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law,” Joe Biden signed the law into place. This law will focus on all hate crimes on the spectrum, but primarily Anti-Asian hate crimes that have sprouted in the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
This new law will help victims of hate crimes on a national level by making the reporting of hate crimes more accessible and efficient. According to NPR.org, the law will also direct “the Department of Justice to designate a point person to expedite the review of hate crimes related to COVID-19 and [authorize] grants to state and local governments to conduct crime-reduction programs to prevent and respond to hate crimes.”
Kamala Harris, the first female and Asian-American Vice President of the United States, shared her experience with Anti-Asian hate. She also explained that she understands and sympathizes with Asian-Americans who struggle with acceptance and safety in this country. Harris expressed that “Racism exists in America. Xenophobia exists in America, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia — it all exists. And so the work to address injustice wherever it exists remains the work ahead.”