While anti-Asian sentiment is nothing new, it is jarring to see just how astronomical the numbers of hate crimes have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Just in the past few weeks, there have been violent assaults, robberies and vandalism towards Asian Americans. But while these racially-charged attacks have gone on, many have criticized the mainstream media’s lack of coverage. In response, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community leaders took matters into their own hands in order to shine a light on the issue.
2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Amanda Nguyen took to social media to call forth major news outlets to report on the murder of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee.
Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu offered $25,000 as a reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrator who assaulted three citizens in front of the Asian Resource Center in Oakland, California, including a 91-year-old man.
The skyrocketing number of hate crimes against Asian Americans continues to grow, despite our repeated pleas for help. The crimes ignored and even excused. Remember Vincent Chin. #EnoughisEnough. @danielwuyanzu & I are offering a $25,000 reward.. https://t.co/ImXYhzNuRH— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) February 5, 2021
Soon after, further calls to recognize the rise of racism against Asian Americans flooded social media.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka voiced her concern about having to learn about the incidents from Instagram.
The amount of hate, racism, and blame for COVID towards the Asian community is disgusting. The fact that this topic is not very widely covered makes me concerned. I only found videos and information because I was scrolling through my IG feed and by some algorithm it appeared.— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) February 7, 2021
“Crazy Rich Asians”’s Gemma Chan included a harrowing statistic of attacks against Asians in the UK during the pandemic as she asked others to raise awareness.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans have skyrocketed but too often these attacks are ignored & underreported. This is not limited to the US; in the UK attacks against East & Southeast Asians have increased 300% during the pandemic. Please share & raise awareness #EnoughIsEnough https://t.co/J9VEh5hUh1— Gemma Chan (@gemma_chan) February 6, 2021
David Yi of beauty blog, Very Good Light, reminded us in an Instagram post that anti-racism must “acknowledge the Asian American experience.”
Actress Olivia Munn lamented her frustration with the rise of hate crimes and continuous silence from the mainstream media.
Rappers China Mac and Mistah F.A.B. met to have a conversation about the tensions between the black and Asian communities and emphasized the need for solidarity with one another.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support of the Asian American community.
We stand with our Asian American & Pacific Islander community against the rising tide of racism and hate crimes that have been stoked to a fever pitch, much of amplified by the actions of our last president.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 10, 2021
It’s on all of us to speak up against bigotry & protect our neighbors. https://t.co/WmZFmHt17L
Author May-lee Chai tweeted a comprehensive thread of recent racial attacks as well as a brief history of violence against Asians in America.
Attacks against Asian Americans is as old as America itself but the sheer volume and number have gone up astronomically since the COVID panic. Here’s a few examples: 1) 84 Thai grandfather shoved and killed last week in SF https://t.co/1On9BUlHU2 1)— May-lee Chai (@mayleechai) February 7, 2021
MTV News correspondent Yoonji Kim dissects the rise in anti-Asian violence and the political rhetoric that caused it.
Major media outlets have since reported on the assaults, however, activists in the community are now asking for more than just coverage.
In a CBSN interview, Kim and Wu expressed the need for help from the government to help prevent these racially charged hate crimes in the future and to bring justice to those affected.
AAPI visibility in mass media is still widely underrepresented and while the makeup of entertainment is diversifying, that will mean nothing if people fail to pay attention. As Kim said, “Those of us who have been following these issues since COVID started have seen these kinds of incidents pop up almost daily and yet we see very little being done about it.”
The Asian American community should not have to solely rely on social media and celebrities for the news as they have every right to be a part of the national conversation, but until then, they must continue to rally together and protect one another until then.
Learn more about what you can do about the attacks made against Asian Americans or report an incident through Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition addressing the anti-Asian hate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.