The AHA stands in support of the Asian American community, and our hearts are with the families and loved ones of those who senselessly lost their lives in the March 17 shootings in the Atlanta area, as well as all other victims of anti-Asian hate across the nation. As humanists, our values of empathy and reason lead us to recognize the attacks on the Asian American community as ethically and morally wrong. We condemn any such behavior and stand against racism in all forms.
The March 17 Atlanta-area shootings are an abominable tragedy and come at a moment of increasing violence against the Asian American community. Six of the eight victims were working-class women of Asian descent, one of our country’s most vulnerable groups. Asian women have a history of exploitation and sexualization, dating back through a history of colonialism and re-enforced by unfair stereotypes and generalizations. These mass shootings are rooted in white supremacy, anti-Asian hate, and misogyny.
The Trump administration’s xenophobic language and attempts to divert blame onto China for the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and attacks over the past year. In New York City, anti-Asian hate crimes jumped by 1,900 percent in 2020 compared to the year before. There were at least 700 incidents of anti-Asian hate in California’s Bay Area alone, including violent, sometimes fatal, attacks and robberies. Asian American elders and women are especially vulnerable within the community, and they are also the ones primarily targeted by these crimes.
Although we’ve seen a rise in anti-Asian hate within the past year, it is not a new phenomenon. Asian Americans have a long and complicated history that is fraught with discrimination and xenophobia. However, in large part due to the ‘model minority’ myth, racism against the Asian American community is largely diminished or brushed aside. Although recent events have hit the community hard, they have emboldened Asian Americans to step up and speak out, especially among younger generations who are tired of suffering in silence. We stand in solidarity through this fight and join their calls to address anti-Asian discrimination, xenophobia, and violence.
As humanists, it is imperative to uphold our values of ethics and empathy by supporting and amplifying the diverse voices of Asian Americans, and specifically listening to women and those most vulnerable. Countering discrimination and racism in all forms is a necessary step toward a more just and equitable future in America.