It has been over a year since the pandemic reached America and we all experienced the first-ever lockdown. Within 2020, an estimated 3,795 racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans occurred. Yet this number is highly likely to be much greater than it actually is when you take into account the number of unreported attacks. Furthermore, 68% of these racially motivated attacks were reported by women. And again, in Acworth and Atlanta, Georgia, on the night of March 16th, we have seen another horrible hate crime committed that led to the deaths of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Kim, Suncha Kim, and Yong Ae Yue.

In total, there were eight people murdered by 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long. Six of the victims were Asian American women. According to the police, Long stated that he had a “sexual addiction” and frequented these spas. In his mind, he saw these spas as an outlet for his sexual urges, yet berated himself because it was something “that he shouldn’t be doing,” said Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Capt. Jay Baker also stated that Long claims his actions “were not racially motivated” and adds that Long was “attempting to take out that temptation… [he was] fed up and at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.” Long went to three different spas that disproportionately had Asian women employees, and one of which explicitly had the word “Asian” in its name. Moreover, more than half of the victims were Asian women. These murders were targeted against Asian women and are now being excused as a man having a bad day trying to deal with his sexual addiction.

The term, “bad day” itself is normalizing these murders. The victims who died and the families who are grieving the permanent loss of a loved one wrongfully killed are experiencing the absolute worst days of their lives, all because a man was having a "bad day". The humanization of the murderer is ridiculous. Masses flooded Twitter criticizing Capt. Baker’s choice of words and viewed it as him trying to excuse the murders. What person decides to kill eight people during a bad day? No matter what, this incident is domestic terrorism and a hate crime.

An underlying issue with Long’s excuse for these killings is that his claim of having a sexual addition further fetishizes Asian women. This fetishization stems from “yellow fever.” In White Sexual Imperialism: A Theory of Asian Feminist Jurisprudence, Sunny Woan can explain “yellow fever”: “[that] white sexual imperialism, through rape and war, created the hyper-sexualized stereotype of the Asian woman. This stereotype, in turn, fostered the over-prevalence of Asian women in pornography, the main-order bride phenomenon, the Asian fetish syndrome, and worst of all, sexual violence against Asian women.” This “yellow fever” dehumanizes Asian women to be seen simply as “exotic” sex objects. In the case of the Atlanta shootings, the Asian women who worked at the spas were murdered. The “yellow fever” is racist and stereotypes Asian women. Long’s acts of murder were an appalling mixture of racism, misogyny, and violence against Asian women.

This hate crime can not be excused as a man having a bad day simply trying to get rid of his problems. Long committed murder laced with Anti-Asian racism. The sexual fetishization of Asian women is racist, and therefore, these murders are hate crimes. Call it what it is: a hate crime. There is no excuse for racism and murder.

All Asian-Americans are suffering from this second pandemic called racism. Even though the word “Asian” often generalizes to East Asian countries, we have to acknowledge that under the umbrella of “Asian” exist Asians from India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Mongolia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and so many more. There are 48 countries and 3 other territories in Asia. No longer can we allow hate crimes to be dismissed as something it’s not. No longer can we allow hate crimes to be “someone having a bad day.” No longer are we going to remain silent when our family suffers the loss of life at the hands of a racist. We can not allow lives to be lost without proper justice being served.


Advocate for equal rights. We are the instigators of change. We are granted the right to life, liberty, and happiness. There’s no time to wait around. There never was a time to rest. There are hundreds and thousands of lives lost due to hate crimes fueled by racism. Who are we to let murder be normalized? Who are we to allow racism to continue?

We can not be blind to racism. We can not allow this to continue. We must stand together to combat racism.