NOTHING NEW

18 Feb 2021

As you know, the media has been reporting a recent rise in hate crimes towards Asian-Americans, especially the elderly. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating. But, I’m not gonna outline infographics, share anecdotal experiences with racism, or teach an Asian-American history lesson here. There are better-informed activists and leaders who’ve done the work (see @amandangocnguyen @nextshark). Truthfully, I found myself between a rock and a hard place in posting something about this. I wanted to be thoughtful and impactful in how I responded. I also didn’t want this to be some viral social justice trend that Americans are granting space for, just because there’s not another “more pressing” activism matter to tend to right now. Because the cold and gnawing reality is that none of this is new. You can Google articles from a decade ago covering trends of physical assaults against our Asian grandparents in SF and NY Chinatowns. Even last year, as COVID erupted and Trump leaned into his “Kung Flu” rhetoric, the Asian-American community circulated daily nightmares of innocent victims being painted with epithets or harmed. But, unless you are Asian-American or have positioned yourself in our spaces, you probably didn’t hear much of it. I waited a while to say something because I didn’t want to be emotional and reactionary. Sensational moments can be fleeting and I want to leave this permanent mark: Hate towards Asian-Americans is NOTHING NEW. Although the statistics are higher, the biggest reason why these reports are in your face is that We are getting louder. Even though we’re few, there are more of us in this country than ever, we are emboldened, better organized, and uniting our efforts. This might be the story of the month and in March, we’ll find a new topic to be outraged about. Meanwhile, Asian-Americans will still be getting attacked, spit on, and discriminated against. But you know what? We’re also still gonna be here, plotting, mobilizing, and building. The next time you pay attention to us, we’ll look differently to you. And then it’ll get to the point where you won’t be able to forget our grandparents, our communities, our stories. You won’t step over us.

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