I’m trying to collect my thoughts about the murder of 8 AAPI in Atlanta last night. We don’t have all the details, but I do know this:
I know it’s a hate crime.
I know it’s a culmination of a year of heavy racism and targeting by the former occupant of the White House, but also that it goes back centuries.
You can’t bomb and kill one part of the world for decades and expect bigotry to end with the wars.
You can’t exclude people from immigrating from specific countries and not expect that distrust and resentment to linger.
You can’t place an entire population in internment camps and expect peace and love when they’re let free. In a country where they should have had freedom to begin with.
But the thing is, it’s not just these big events in our past and present we need to reckon with. All of us need to examine the way in which we perpetuate Asian-American stereotypes. “Jokes” about who’s good at math. Comments about names or whatever are not jokes and they aren’t ok. They are micro aggressions. They perpetuate stereotypes. They “other” an entire group of people and lead to violence. It’s easy to inflict violence on a population you don’t see as human. That was literally the basis of slavery in this country.
AAPI are dynamic and diverse. They bring so much to America. They are America. They are Americans. We need to look at how “innocuous” jokes or the sexualization of Asian women in media builds a foundation of hate and leads to someone murdering anyone who looks female and Asian.
They weren’t just Asian women. I’m sure as we’ll learn over the next few days the stories of who these women were. Who they loved. Their hopes and dreams. I hope we take some time to say their names. I hope we all consider how we individually can make life better for marginalized folx. Whether it’s committing to stopping making “that joke,” calling in our friends, intentionally seeking out art produced by AAPI’s, visiting their stores and restaurants to spend our coin, donating or volunteering for organizations that seek to end the violence.
I’ve included some organizations from TW user Alice Wong (@sfDireWolf) in Atlanta for you to consider donating too. Let’s look at the Asian-American community in Atlanta for guidance and what they need during this time.
And finally I leave you with some tweets that I found myself nodding along with or solemnly “hearting.”
We need to do better. All of us.