On July 22nd, an Asian American bus driver was attacked by a group of passengers in San Francisco, California. The outrageous incident occurred when the bus driver asked the three young men who were boarding the bus to wear a face covering to respect San Francisco’s mask mandate in public settings. When none of them did so as instructed, the driver pulled over and rightfully asked them to exit in order to follow the rules and protect the health of other passengers.
Upon hearing the demand, the group refused to leave the bus and began to yell racial slurs and obscenities to the Asian American driver as well as other passengers of Asian descent. The men continued hollering that the driver is more prone to COVID-19 because he is Asian, which is a common myth. As the driver remained idle and insisted them to leave, one of the three pulled out a baseball bat and clubbed the driver multiple times, leaving him with a severely fractured finger. The three passengers then just left the scene.
This is yet another infuriating example of the hundreds of hate crimes committed towards Asians during this pandemic. It is also quite ironic that the three attackers spat and ranted about how they were in danger because the Asian passengers, whom they all wrongly assumed of being more prone to carrying the disease, were around. Healthwise, the most dangerous groups are in fact ones like theirs— people who deliberately refuse to follow health protocols that were initiated to protect them. These cases too often originate from one’s refusal to learn, change, and to question their deeply rooted sense of racial bias.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asians had faced countless attacks simply because of their race, as the injured driver stressed that “It’s hard right now being a bus driver, especially being an Asian driver.” There had been many incidents, similar and different, happening in major states that were directed to bus drivers who asked passengers to wear masks. There were more than 800 reported cases of anti-Asian incidents solely in the state of California throughout the pandemic. Many more were never reported and any more must be prevented. It’s on all of us to do so.