After eight Asian Americans were killed last week in Atlanta, the conversation around hate toward the race has grown nationwide. We spoke with Dr. Karen Kuo from the Asian Pacific American studies department at Arizona State University, in order to get the historical context of these hate crimes along with the local Arizona data.
To begin the conversation host Ted Simons asked Dr. Kuo why this is happening.
She responded, “Two things. One; that historically there’s a lot of anti-Asian racism in this country starting from the immigration exclusion laws of the turn of the century and I think recently we’ve seen a very steep rise in anti Asian hate crimes and assaults and incidents since Covid and march of last year and some of this did not get better because of our former president referring to the Covid as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Kung Flu”. I think those kinds of ignorance and also racism against Asian Americans fuel long-standing historical animus towards Asian Americans.”
Dr. Kuo continued to explain, “I think we have to sort of understand that anti-Asian racism is not something that certain racial or ethnic groups carry out but it’s part of the systemic structural racism of our entire country and what it’s been focused on in terms of how they feel about Asians seeing them as perpetual foreigners and in particular we see the kinds o hate crimes that are being carried out, women and elderly are disproportionately the ones that are victims and their also the most vulnerable people in the Asian American community.”
In regards to what can be done moving forward to take steps in the right direction, Dr. Kuo said the first thing to do is educate. She believes incidents like the Atlanta massacre bring a national spotlight to this issue and we as a country should be using it to learn more about Asian American hate.