Attacks against Asians in California, in 2021 alone:
On January 28, 2021, an elderly Thai-American man, Vicha Ratanapakdee, was assaulted in San Francisco, later dying from his injuries. Two were arrested in connection with the incident, with one of them being charged with murder.
On January 31, 2021, an elderly man was attacked in Chinatown, Oakland, in an incident that is widely believed to be motivated by racism. A suspect has been arrested and charged in relation to the incident.
In February 2021, racist graffiti was found near a Chinese American school in San Francisco.
An Asian woman walking in Brentwood was racially harassed by a man. The man was later fired from his job as a real estate agent.
On Chinese New Year, an Asian-owned preschool in Alhambra was found vandalized with feces and an insulting message.
On February 15, 2021, an elderly Filipino woman was attacked on a San Diego trolley.
In Ladera Ranch, several teenagers had harassed an Asian-American family by repeatedly pounding on their front door at night then running away, leaving a pornographic print in front of their home, yelling racial slurs, and throwing rocks at the home.
In February 2021, a Korean-American Air Force veteran was attacked in Koreatown, Los Angeles. The veteran says he was called “Chinese virus” and “Ching chong”.
On February 22, 2021, a man walked into a Chinese-American butcher shop in Sacramento and left a box containing a dead cat in the parking lot.
On February 23, 2021, a man from Berkeley was arrested for making threats to kill Asians on social media.
On February 27, 2021, a Japanese Buddhist temple in Los Angeles was vandalized, with property set on fire. This follows past security breaches and assaults on security personnel in the past two weeks.
On March 7, 2021, an Asian-American Uber driver in San Francisco was assaulted by his passengers after he asked them to wear masks. The passengers made statements appearing to make fun of the driver’s race. The passengers were later banned from Uber and Lyft.
On March 8, 2021, a woman was arraigned for spitting on an Asian-American stranger having lunch in Santa Clara County.
On March 9, 2021, a 75-year-old man was assaulted in Oakland and later died from his injuries. A man was arrested, who police say had a history of targeting elderly Asian-Americans.
And most recently in Georgia:
On March 16, 2021, a man carried out a mass shooting at 3 Asian massage parlors, leaving 8 dead—6 of whom are Asian women.
Look at it. Look at it and tell me that racism against Asian Americans, xenophobia against Chinese people, only exists within my mind.
It seems like almost every day this year, I’ve grieved for those the Asian community has lost due to ignorant people with racist ideals. I am tired of fearing for our safety when my family leaves the house, even knowing that Palo Alto is a better community than most. In 2021 alone (a little more than 3 months worth of time), there have been too many attacks against Asian Americans in the Bay Area and California, and I wonder when I will be able to let out a small breath of relief. But I see no respite in sight.
Too often, people view discrimination against Asians as new, as something that only appears in issues like the bamboo ceiling or affirmative action. It is not new. Asians have been in America in large numbers since the Gold Rush era in the 1850’s, and one of the only immigration bans on the basis of nationality was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Portrayed as the “yellow peril” and refused employment by American business owners, Asian citizens were forced into ethnic enclaves, and the only jobs they had access to consisted of railroad building or managing laundromats. We are not foreign to America or its racism, and it’s time people start recognizing that racism against Asians in this country is runs painfully deep.
In light of recent events, I am scared, angry, and disappointed. I’m scared to take walks in my neighborhood, to embrace my culture, to eat Chinese food in fear of being ridiculed. I’m angry because when I attempted to speak about this issue almost a year ago, people acted as if I had imagined the racism against Asians, as if I was complaining about an issue that didn’t exist. And I am disappointed in the way people have responded to such news, the way people still assert that Asian Americans don’t experience racism. I find myself disappointed over and over again.
Perhaps you may think that I dislike America, for pointing out places in our history where we have not been so great. But you can love a country while admitting its faults. You can love a country by wanting it to be better. And I want America and its people to be better, to stop letting hatred guide its actions. I’m done being silent, and I’m done listening to people who play devil’s advocate for murderers.
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