Breaking the Cycle of Hate Crimes



A woman carries a sign during the 2020 Lunar New Year Parade in an effort to bring awareness to the xenophobia in the United States.

After a series of spa shootings in Atlanta that left six Asian women dead, Asian-Americans fear for their safety more than ever. The controversy over whether or not these crimes were racially motivated shows the ignorance of our society. This lack of knowledge created a path for Asian-Americans to be ostracized and live in constant danger.

Robert Aaron Long, 21, the suspect of the Atlanta shootings, went on a rampage on March 16, killing eight people while clearly targeting the Asian-American community. He told police that he was driven by a “sexual addiction,” which is a blatant excuse for the fact that his actions were racially motivated hate crimes. 

The Atlanta shootings were some of the many violent crimes directed at Asian-Americans this year. Three weeks prior, Don Lee, a Chinese-American man, was knifed in Chinatown, New York, and suffered severe damage to his liver. Authorities arrested Salman Muflihi, who was also charged with assaulting another Asian man months before stabbing Lee. While the court ruled that both incidents were not hate crimes, it would be remiss to say these men were not attacked because of their race. 

To understand the root of the rise of xenophobia in America, we must address former president Donald Trump’s repeated reference to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.” As a public figure whose actions were constantly publicized, he failed to consider the consequences of his words. People began to blame China for bringing the disease to the United States, which created an outbreak of discrimination against Asian-Americans. It is unfair to condemn an entire race for a pandemic that affected and was spread by people of all ethnicities and racial backgrounds. 

As an Asian-American, I was sickened by Trump’s comments that alienated an entire community of citizens in this country.

— Kihana Schicatano

There have been many more instances of the brutalization of Asian-Americans by racist assaults. Before reading this, had you heard about the incident with Don Lee? Too many Asians in this country have been harassed, brutalized and even murdered to turn a blind eye to, and the problem stems from a lack of awareness. If Americans take the time to learn about the hate crimes directed at Asian-Americans as well as other marginalized groups, our country can work toward ending violent racism. 

Americans fail to realize that ethnic groups have been scapegoated and stereotyped due to their societal and economic issues, when the members of these groups came to this country to seek freedom. As an Asian-American, I was sickened by Trump’s comments that alienated an entire community of citizens in this country. Seeing fellow Asian-Americans victimized in the media in the previous months leads me to believe these will not be the end of bigoted hate crimes toward this community. 

My mother, a Japanese immigrant, also questions her safety during these unpredictable times. After seeing the recent hate crimes in the news, she now fears for her life for the first time in her 24 years of living in this country. She expressed that she is afraid of doing normal everyday activities like going to work or the gym. To prevent further violence, people must educate themselves on the struggles of marginalized communities so history does not continue to repeat itself.