April 20, 2021

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Editorial: Beware of the deep contradictions of American racial hatred


Demonstrators protested against the hate crimes against Asians in the streets of San Francisco. (AFP)

Demonstrators protested against the hate crimes against Asians in the streets of San Francisco.

Three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia, were attacked by a 21-year-old white gunman last week, killing eight people, six of whom were Asian. The police stated that the suspect’s motive for the crime was to eliminate the temptation from massage parlors, but the Asian Americans attributed the incident to the phenomenon of racial hatred in the United States, and called for “stop hatred of Asians” in many places in the United States. Parade on the streets.

The United States is an immigrant society that flaunts pluralism, but racial issues are deeply rooted. In fact, incidents of excessive use of violence by white American police officers against suspects of African descent have been heard from time to time. In 2013, the African American community set off a “black life is expensive” movement to protest against violence and systemic discrimination against blacks. Last year, an African-American man was killed by a white policeman with his knees pressed on his neck, triggering protests in many cities and pushing the “black life expensive” movement to its peak.

Today, the Asian American community in the United States has also launched the “Asian Life is Expensive” movement to combat racial hatred. In response to the massage parlor shootings that occurred last week, US President Biden stated that no matter what the murderer is, “too many Asian Americans are worried when they walk on the road. In the past year, they woke up every morning and felt that they were and loved ones People who are in danger will be at risk.” In addition, US Vice President Harris, who is of black and South Asian descent, categorically stated after the shooting that racism is real in the United States.

Last Thursday, at a hearing against Asian hatred by the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress, a Chinese congressman stated that since January last year, discrimination against Asians has escalated from verbal attacks to physical violence. On the other hand, according to the statistics of an anti-discrimination organization in the United States, since March 19 last year, it has received a total of 3,795 cases of attacks against Asians; in January and February this year alone, there were more than 500 attacks against Asians. Among them, 68% were verbal attacks and 11% involved physical violence.

The hatred and attacks of Asians have deteriorated since last year, and the former President Trump cannot shirk the blame. Trump has been accused by his opponents of advocating white supremacy, further tearing apart American society. He labelled the coronavirus as “Chinese virus” and “Kung Fu virus”, and Asians were also attacked as “virus spreaders” unclearly.

The United States is a multi-ethnic immigrant society. When the economy is prosperous, there are always opportunities. However, during the economic recession, the contradiction between the disparity between the rich and the poor and cultural differences emerged in the form of racial opposition. This time the epidemic has hit the U.S. economy severely, and the U.S. has the highest number of deaths from coronary disease in the world. With the help of politicians, the frustration and hate speech permeated the American society and turned to the Asian catharsis of “model ethnic minorities.” On the other hand, the geopolitical conflicts between China and the United States have also affected the Asian American community.

In fact, Asian Americans are not a homogeneous body. In addition to Chinese, they include Koreans, Japanese, Indians and other Asian Americans. They only account for 6 percent of the total population in the United States. Generally speaking, the poverty rate of Asians in the American ethnic group is low, and the education level is high, but there are also poor groups in the Asian group. However, racist prejudices often conceal the heterogeneity within the ethnic group.

The irony is that the “black life is expensive” movement, while upholding the rights of blacks, also hurt the rights of Asians. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Ivy League institutions such as Harvard had already been accused of discriminating against Asians with excellent grades when admitting freshmen and giving places to blacks with poor grades and were sued in court. In the end, the judge ruled that the crime was not guilty. The “Asian Life is Expensive” campaign this time tested the Biden administration’s ability to handle ethnic relations.

Biden signed an executive order requiring the federal government to take comprehensive actions to promote racial equality, and ordered the executive authorities and various departments to ensure that official actions, documents and statements, including before the outbreak of the coronavirus, cannot promote Asian Americans to be racist. , Xenophobia and harsh treatment. In addition, he also listed racial justice as one of the goals of U.S. foreign policy. From this perspective, if the Democratic Party government can resolve domestic racial conflicts, it will help enhance its international soft power.

The hateful attacks on minorities in the United States have a warning effect on other multi-racial societies. In a multi-racial society, we must stop racial hatred speech, and we must also guard against racially colored verbal or physical attacks. In addition, in an era of increasingly complex geopolitics, we must also be wary of external factors transforming into internal contradictions, or external forces using and manipulating racial issues. The integration and understanding of ethnic groups is an endless nation-building.

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