Confronting sources of violence and attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Don’t let this conversation dwindle.

Please+dont+forget.

Alyssa McConkey, The Horizon

Please don’t forget.

Micah Sapienza, Guest Writer

Amidst the news of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a chance you heard about the disturbing spike in hate crimes and violent attacks directed at people of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent. In April 2020, various AAPI organizations reported a staggering 1500 attacks of Anti-Asian violence. In particular, California saw up to a 1200 percent increase in anti-Asian violence in Orange County and 115 percent increase in LA county compared to 2019. During the Trump administration, many media outlets blamed Trump’s rhetoric against China as the cause of the violence, although attacks have continued to rise during the Biden administration. So, what then is contributing to these attacks, and what can we do about it?

Despite the clarion call from many news outlets decrying white supremacy as the root of all evil, the resulting crime data paints a startling picture: in recent high-profile attacks against Asians, almost all suspects were from minority groups. While the motivation of some of these attacks have not been classified as race-motivated, it undoubtedly muddies the waters. 

This dynamic isn’t particular to the pandemic, either. A 2008 San Francisco Police Department survey found 85% of physical assault crimes consisted of a Black attacker and an Asian victim. While this interplay by no means accounts for the entirety of hate crimes committed during the course of the pandemic, it is a dynamic that seems to have preceded the pandemic and has only been aggravated further throughout the unrest of the year. 

To further complicate matters, there has been a disproportionate increase of hate crimes towards the Black community as compared with previous years, raising further questions as to whether this increased violence is a manifestation of internalized anger from previous forms of injustice carried on down the line. Violence begets more violence after all. 

Where do we go from here? It is important to first recognize the reality of our world as explained through Scripture: that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, and that racial discrimination is not limited to any one group of people. The present racial tensions and increased rate of hate crimes are emblematic of a more complex dynamic than perhaps initially perceived. As tempting as it is to attribute these conflicts as rooted in systemic racism, or as many media outlets would have you believe “white supremacy,” the various dynamics cannot be answered so simply. 

There are no simple answers, but that does not excuse us from searching for them with honesty and accountability as our goal. Above all, we must maintain a Christ-like heart for those suffering, which by definition extends to both those victimized and those instigating. 

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Opinions expressed in letters and other editorials, unless otherwise stated, are those of the writers and not of The Horizon staff or the college collectively.

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