The world has been dealing with COVID-19 for a little over a year now, and to say it has turned our lives upside down would be an understatement. One of the results of COVID has been an increase in racism and hate crimes toward Asians worldwide, and it is long over due that we all stand up and say “Stop.”
Hate crimes toward Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are up across the globe, here in Orange County, they are up a jaw-dropping 1200 percent. No, that isn’t a typo, 1200 percent. Hate crimes range from verbal and written words of hate, spitting, assault, and the tragedy that recently occurred in Atlanta. The really sad thing is that hate directed at AAPI isn’t anything new in America. From the Chinese Massacre of 1871 and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to Japanese Internment during World War II to the burning of Korean businesses during the LA riots in 1992, just to name a few, AAPI have been used as a scapegoat, and the former man in the White House perpetuated racist attitudes when COVID arrived in the US, using words like “China Virus” and “Kung Flu” thus stoking the flames of hatred and racism.
So, what can you do about it? Lots!
Learning about the AAPI experience is vital, and I recommend the PBS docu-series, Asian Americans, currently available to stream for free on PBS’s website or app, as a way to understand the history of AAPI in America.
Back in August I reviewedThey Called Us Enemy, a graphic novel written by George Takei, of Star Trek fame, about his childhood in a Japanese Internment Camp. It is an easy read, and I think a good way to introduce children to the topics of racism. I recommend taking a look at this list of AAPI owned bookstores and seeing if they have it in stock.
Have tough conversations, both with yourself and others. Recognize and correct any prejudices you may have, and then call out your friends and family when they vocalize any racist or prejudice attitudes.
It may not be an election year as I write this, but I’m never not going to remind you to vote. Double check that you are registered to vote or register to vote by clicking here. If you are in a state that doesn’t offer vote-by-mail, find your polling place here.