Photo cred: @ShirienDamra
“Why are you hesitating to speak up? I feel so alone and disheartened by the hate crimes against Asians and utterly baffled at the way people continue to ignore the pain and crisis.”
-Kristina Rodulfo, Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center has received 3,270 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents between March of last year and February of this year. According to the report, women are reporting crimes 2.3 times more than men. This data certainly reflects the racialized sexism that Asian American women face, and it sheds light on the violence that Asian Americans have always dealt with even prior to the pandemic. Michelle Lee, chief-in-editor of Allure says, “Racism was always there, but now the pandemic is giving people an excuse to act on it.” While many wrongly people claim that Asian people are secure as a “model minority,” Asian people have seen too many atrocities for this to ever ring true.
Last night, there was a mass shooting.
On Tuesday night of March 16th, 2021, 3 Asian-owned businesses were targeted by a perpetrator named Hatred or “Robert Aaron Long.”
8 women were suddenly killed, and 6 of the victims were Asian women.
As mentioned before, this is not an isolated event. It is undeniable that The United States of America has seen a rage of violence against humanity that is inconceivable. From Asian harm and homicide, to the killings of African-Americans, to ICE Camps - when does it stop? It doesn’t make sense, and it will not. There is nothing we can say, there is nothing we can imagine, and there is nothing we can surmise to make sense of senseless violence. Hatred is such a difficult thing to make real in our minds so how do we go after it? What can we do?
It all starts with speaking up. Every time we are compliant, and we do not feel compelled to stand up for other human beings who are being targeted, hate feels secure, and it feels arrogant enough to grow. We cannot ignore it any longer. Today, racialized hate is no longer the elephant in the room
It’s the real virus in the room.
Kristina Rodulfo, a Filipino woman, says, “I don’t know what else to do. I’m really angry, and I’m really sad. I put on makeup this morning because I thought I could sign on to work and act like normal even though I feel anything but. Over the last few months, I’ve been swallowing the pain and the anger not just because of recent events, but because of the lack of care. What we need right now is for people to see our humanity and to empathize and to hear our experience. It seems like people can go on and post things that come from Asian culture. They can enjoy bits and pieces of our culture, but they don’t want to support us as humans. It makes me so angry that people are hesitant to speak out. How can you use a community for profit, but not talk about this? Why don’t you see me? Why don’t you see my humanity?”
As Kristina says, right now, we need to see each other’s humanity, not devalue or ignore it. We do that by speaking up even when we are uncomfortable and by taking the time to understand why a community is hurting. Compliance inadvertently perpetuates violence. So, we need conversation. We need discourse. We need solidarity to challenge hate’s narrative and to put pressure on the people in power to take action. Most of all, we need to listen. Our ears are the most vital organ to empathy, and empathy is the heart of change.