In three months, there were 832 documented cases of anti-Asian hate incidents just in California. Between March and June, an existing epidemic had sharpened its claws and began attacking the Asian American community. What exactly is this epidemic? It is called racism. In the span of three months, 2,120 hate incidents occurred across America with 832 cases originating in California, making up about 40 percent of the total 2,120 cases1. These cases consist of physical attacks, verbal assaults, workplace discrimination, and online harassment with some incidents even violating civil rights laws.
Here are some cases:
- As Donalene Ferrer, a 41-year-old Filipina, and her family were walking in the Oceanside neighborhood, a car pulled up to them. In that car, an unmasked woman with her baby and toddler yelled, “You started the corona!” Ferrer responded back with, “Why are you targeting us? I am a nurse and my father fought for this country. You shouldn’t be teaching your children racism.” When the unmasked woman taunted Ferrer to approach, Ferrer left fearing the woman had a weapon.
- Lena Hernandez of Long Beach was arrested on July 3rd for a misdemeanor battery incident last year. Hernandez has been exposed through viral videos for her racist tirades. She has been caught saying, “Go back to whatever … Asian country you belong in.” In another incident, Hernandez berated an Asian man for parking close to her car and called him a “Chinaman” who “need[ed] to go home.” Shockingly, on the same day of her arrest, she was also released on a $1 bail.
- Posted on the door of a cookware shop, a threatening letter was addressed to the owner: “Go back to Japan… We are going to bomb your store if you don’t listen and we know where you live.”
- One Asian American reported that a man kicked his dog, spat at him, saying “Take your disease that’s ruining our country. Go home.”
Sadly, these are only a few of the reported cases. There are many more documented and undocumented physical/verbal assaults that could have been even more violent. With solid proof that there are astronomically high amounts of hate incidents, Asian Americans need to be more cautious when they go out. The Asian American community must prepare themselves mentally for the racism they could face in public and online. This situation is heartbreaking as elderly Asian men and women get attacked, stores get destroyed, and Asians of all ages are being blamed for the Coronavirus. In order to combat this racism, the Asian community must speak up about their own encounters with racism. Collectively, the Asian community has to help stop the normalization of racism against Asians by calling them out when it happens and educate other people on the forms of hate Asians receive.
Luckily, the organization, Stop AAPI Hate, documented the previous incidents specifically in California and released this information to the public. As a response to this alarming increase in hate incidents, Stop AAPI Hate requested Governor Gavin Newsom for $1.4 million to fund programs against racism and research on the correlation between the Coronavirus and racism3. However, the final vote for the state budget excluded funding for these programs2. Despite this setback, Stop AAPI Hate has not given up: LA Times quotes Manjusha Kulkarni, a founder of Stop AAPI Hate, where she reassured the Asian community that they will do their best to work with California legislation to “ensure that we can live free from racial discrimination and enjoy equal rights and access.” There are many other organizations looking out for the Asian population all across America such as The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. While these are trying times, the Asian American community needs to know what is happening to their peers and know that they can support these organizations fighting to protect their civil rights.
- Donaghue, E. (2020, July 02). 2,120 hate incidents against Asian Americans reported during coronavirus pandemic. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from cbsnews
- Do, A. (2020, July 05). 'You started the corona!' As anti-Asian hate incidents explode, climbing past 800, activists push for aid. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from latimes
- Mack, E. (2020, July 05). California Gov. Asked to Take Action Amid Spike in Harassment of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from newsmax
- Staff, A. (2020, July 04). Torrance Tirade: Woman seen in anti-Asian rant arrested for 2019 incident. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from abc7