To the editor: We mourn the victims of the mass murders in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian women. This "bad day" ended the lives of eight individuals and permanently changed the lives of their families.
We say their names. The Asian women who lost their lives in the shooting were Daoyou Feng, 44; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Delaina Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; and Yong A. Yue, 63 and two others, Paul Andre Michels, 54; and Ashley Yaun, 33. This violence is another example of the intersectionality of racism, misogyny, classism, and sexual violence against Asian American women.
This act is within the context of a larger system of historic and current racism and sexism of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Chinese were brought to the United States to work on the transcontinental railroads when shortage of labor threatened its completion. Once it was completed, Chinese were no longer wanted and in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act barred all immigrant Chinese labor. In 1943 legislation allowed 105 Chinese yearly, and it was not until the Immigrant and Nationality Act of 1952 that there were no restrictions..
Trafficking of young Asian girls for sex slaves began in the 19th century and continues today. It is fostered by the belief in the eroticism of Asian women and girls.
Japanese in America, and not Germans were seen as a threat in World War II ; 110,000 of them including 66,000 U.S. citizens had their land and possessions taken and were put in internment camps.
Asians and Pacific Islanders are seen as the “model minority” but, in fact, Asian Americans come from many countries and not all are highly educated or wealthy. This myth serves as a benefit to those in power by driving a wedge between POC communities and attempting to align Asians with white people in power.
In 2020 when the U.S. government failed to protect its citizens from the raging pandemic, it became the “Wuhan flu” or “Chinese virus" or “Kung flu.”
Asians suffered. More than 1,800 racist incidents against Asian Americans were reported between March and May of 2020, according to a United Nations Report. STOP AAPI HATE Reports has received a staggering 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents. More than 68 percent of reported incidents of anti-Asian harassment and violence have been against women, and new polling commissioned by NAPAWF (National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum) revealed that nearly half of AAPI women have been affected by anti-Asian racism in the past two years. Racism intertwined with sexism has always been a part of Asian lives — this horrific mass shooting laid bare what they are used to facing unnoticed.
Asian businesses suffered disproportionately, not only due to closings by the pandemic, but by prejudice of customers fostered by the anti-Asian rhetoric.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by historic and current individual hate and bigotry, and systemic racism/misogyny. However, it is important to do what we can. Here are some things we can each do:
• Learn more about the history and current situation of Asian Americans
• Make donations to Asian-led organizations
• Support Asian owned businesses
• Stand up to any anti-Asian incidents you witness
• Discuss this with your friends and colleagues
• Write an article for your newspaper or professional journal
• Demand lawmakers at the state and local level levy a response
Dummerston, March 25