U.S.A: Spa mass shooting puts spotlight on anti-Asian bigotry — By Mohamed Hamaludin

While investigators try to unravel the motive behind the mass killing at three Georgia massage parlors/spas, this much is clear: The nation has not been paying nearly enough attention to the racist attacks against Asian Americans.

It took the killing of six Asian American women – and two others — at the spas to spark national outrage, the killer’s motive notwithstanding. And the full picture finally emerged. Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy group for Asian American and Pacific Islanders, said it received more than 3,750 anti-Asian hate crime reports since the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic started early last year. News reports drew a direct link to then President Donald Trump’s penchant for referring to the virus as “China virus,” “Wuhan virus” and “Kung Flu,” most likely sparking the attacks.     

Democratic New York Rep. Grace Meng blamed Trump for racist messages which she told CNN flooded her voicemail. During a House Judicial Subcommittee hearing two days after the March 16 spa shootings, Meng, who is of Taiwanese descent, accused Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas of trying to shift the debate to relations with China and free speech. “Your [ex-]president, your party and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other countries that you want but you don’t have to do it by putting a bull’s eye on the back of Asian Americans across the country, on our grandparents, on our kids,” Meng said.

Meng and Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii have introduced a bill to “require the Justice Department to appoint an official to review all pandemic-related incidents that are reported to federal or local officials,” The Washington Post reported.

Asian Americans total 20.9 million or 6.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to Wikipedia, representing about 18 countries, with Chinese Americans numbering about 5.1 million, followed by Indian Americans at 4.5 million. California has the most, 5.5 million, followed by New York, 1.5 million. Florida is eighth, at 573,083.

Their history of racist attacks goes back to at least the 1850s, when Chinese brought in to work in mining and railroad construction were accused of stealing jobs from Europeans Americans. The Supreme Court ruled in 1854 that Asians could not testify in court against European Americans, enabling a killer to escape punishment. At least 17 Chinese men and boys were lynched in Los Angeles on Oct. 24, 1871.A 60-year ban was imposed on Chinese immigration in 1882. Vigilantes killed 28 Chinese miners and burned 79 homes in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in September 1885. Japanese Americans were forcibly interned during World War II. Vietnamese fishermen were harassed in Texas and elsewhere.

And the Chinese community was accused of bringing the bubonic plague to San Francisco in 1900 because the first victim was Chinese man, whereas the virus was spread by rats. “The episode was a prelude to the racism that has been aimed at Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, which former President Donald Trump frequently called ‘the China virus,’ the ‘Wuhan virus’ and the ‘Kung Flu’,” The Washington Post’s Gillian Brockett remarked.

Meanwhile, as the nation grapples with the latest attack for whatever reason, noted Post columnists Jonathan Capehart and Eugene Robinson have called attention to the differing ways in which police treat suspects, including mass murderers. Police said the suspected killer was arrested “without incident.” Jay Baker of Georgia’s Cherokee Sheriff’s Office told a press conference the shooter blamed “sexual addiction” and wanted to “take out that temptation.” Baker added, “Yesterday was really bad day for him and this was what he did.” Baker himself became part of the news after reporters discovered a Facebook page showing photos of him wearing a T-shirt with the words ‘‘IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA’’ – an apparent nod to Trump’s bigotry.

Capehart recalled how police described the Marjory Stone Douglas High School shooter: “He looked like a typical high school student.” He said also that officers bought a burger for the killer of nine African American parishioners at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., and took it to him in jail. “Meanwhile, far too many Blacks don’t survive their encounters with police,” Capehart said.

Robinson argued that it was “intolerably wrong for this standard to apply to White suspects but not to African Americans or other people of color.”

Fort Lauderdale-born novelist and law professor Alafair Burke, daughter of a Chinese American mother and a European American father, wrote in the Post about the spa shooting,  “I found myself thinking, ‘If this were happening to any other racial group, we’d treat it differently.’ But I reminded myself that there’s nothing to gain from comparing the various and pervasive forms of racism and bias.”

She added, “The ‘model minority’ stereotype of Asian Americans that is used to argue that we are an exception to the gravitational force of American racism — good students, hard workers, non-threatening people of color — is constantly weaponized to simultaneously demonize Black and Latino communities and constrain Asian American activism.”

Burke said that Trump’s Justice Department “blatantly pitted Asian Americans against other people of color by suing elite universities in an attempt to ban admission policies that valued diversity and inclusiveness,” adding, “When communities of color fight with one another, the racists win.”

She has that right. Without the solidarity witnessed in the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, all non-European Americans are vulnerable to bigotry and racist violence.

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who worked for several years at The Guyana Chronicle in the 1970s and on publications in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating in 1984 to the United States, where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a commentary every week or two for The South Florida Times (sfltimes.com) in which the above column first appeared. He may be reached at hamal1942@gmail.com.

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Comments

  • guyaneseonline  On 03/25/2021 at 3:27 am

    Asian Hate and Racism Video..

    The following video gives viewers an idea of what is going on in the USA in regard to violence against Asian residents.

    https://guyaneseonline.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/video-asian-hate-and-racism.mp4

    • Bernard  On 03/25/2021 at 11:29 am

      There can be no doubt that Trump is largely responsible for the Asian hate in America with his reckless rhetoric.

      Calling the coronavirus Kung Flu and the China Virus has generated much anger and disdain for people of Asian descent. A descent, dignified holder of the Office would never use such language.

      No one should have to worry about their safety anywhere on American streets. Everyone including the President, the media, state and local governments should call for an end to hatred.

      Bernard

      • brandli62  On 03/25/2021 at 11:46 am

        There is not much more to add to Bernard’s comments, which are right on spot!

        My wife is Vietnamese-American and is horrified about recent developments in the the Bay Area, her home region. She would have never thought that she would have to experience anything comparable.

  • wally n  On 03/25/2021 at 11:54 am

    If it was so easy….just saying stop it..and it goes away

    4.1 Spanish flu (1918–1920)
    4.2 Asian flu (1957–1958)
    4.3 Hong Kong flu (1968–1969)
    4.4 Russian flu (1977–1979)
    4.5 H1N1/09 flu pandemic (2009–2010

    That Trump caused every problem in the US today..

    • Dennis Albert  On 03/25/2021 at 2:27 pm

      But it was a white wupremacist Trump voter who murdered a bunch of Korean women while praising his white God to murder non-whites.

      Don’t think for a second that Indo-Caribbeans and Indian-Americans are not next on the line to be massacred for being non-white. Continue worshipping these rapists, pillagers, enslavers and mass shooters.

      Imma tell you this I know a few mixed race friends living in America and Canada who are at a point of no return in terms of their sanity after being attacked by racists who assume that they were from a country called “Muslim”, “Allah” or Islam.

      One Hindu Guyanese ended up dropping out from school after a racist Canadian nationalist assaulted him by assuming that he was a Muslim because he was brown.

  • wally n  On 03/25/2021 at 2:30 pm

    Doc Vietnamese I know are mainly Conservative (TT Club) you managed to find a Liberal? or forced convert, kiddin

    • Dennis Albert  On 03/25/2021 at 2:33 pm

      When those right wing mass shooters in the Trump camp start accusing you of being a refugee from a country called Muhammad or Islam, then the joke’s on you.

    • brandli62  On 03/25/2021 at 4:10 pm

      Second-generation US-Vietnamese are mainly supporting the Democrats. First generation Vietnamese supported the Republicans because they were more supportive for the South Vietnamese cause than the Democrats.

    • Brother Man  On 03/26/2021 at 8:48 am

      You have no credibility. You continue to support a certain white supremacist even after he called your country of origin s-hole, even after after he tried to steal the election on January 6. You come on this site to label others “you Liberals”.

      Georgia, where six Asian women were recently gunned down by a white man, just passed election laws to make it more difficult to vote. It is now easier to buy a gun than it is to vote in Georgia and many other places in America.

      MLK was gunned down as he fought for basic human rights. What would it take for you to see reality?

      Brother Man

      • wally n  On 03/27/2021 at 2:58 pm

        Chew on this..
        A Michigan judge has released the bombshell report on the audit of Dominion Voting Systems, uncovering that the machines and their software were simply “designed” to “create systemic fraud.”

        The report covers the forensic audit of Dominion’s machines in Michigan’s Antrim County, which received national attention after it was discovered that 6,000 votes for President Donald Trump were “flipped” to Democrat Joe Biden due to an “error.”

        13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer ordered the report’s protective order to be lifted, allowing the details of the audit to be unsealed and released to the public.
        BREAKING NEWS: Dekalb County, GA Is Throwing Away Ballots, Envelopes, Other Information Required To Be Retained By Law For 22 Months… Why?

        A Lil suspicious, maybe??

  • wally n  On 03/25/2021 at 4:18 pm

    Don’t know much, the ones I know are bright, ambitious, hard working, but what I like the most.. competitive, beat the crap out of you, but with a smile (table tennis)and low key sense of humor, now I miss them, covid crap.

    • brandli62  On 03/25/2021 at 5:07 pm

      Can’t comment as I am biased. My wife of 26 years is Vietnamese-American…. 😉

  • Dennis Albert  On 03/26/2021 at 1:40 am

    I invite Joseph to buy property in Guyana, or in Suriname. Australia is a racist country:

  • Kman  On 03/27/2021 at 2:12 pm

    America was founded and built on white supremacy.

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