As calls for action and advocacy are sparked by the recent wave of attacks on older Asian Americans, experts encourage the use of truthful, accurate language to address the violence.
The robberies and assaults have led to widespread media attention and outrage from protestors in many big-city Chinatowns, many of whom have labelled hate crimes cases. But recent higher-profile incidents that have gone viral on social media, law enforcement officials claim, are not being investigated as such. Officials say the incidents do not display signs that they are politically motivated.
Social media posts have merged abuse against Asian American individuals with hate crimes against the population at large, linking the crimes to racism linked to pandemics. Some outlets, claiming an astronomical rise, have declared a “spike” in hate crimes. But the number they refer to directly represents the police data collected by NBC Asian America from New York City and New York, which revealed three anti-Asian hate crimes in 2019 and 28 last year. So far, no hate crimes have been identified this year.
Other sources point to 18 cases in Alameda County, California, involving Asian Americans this year. But local law enforcement said there was no indication that any of them were racially motivated.
Not all towns showed increases, either. For instance, Washington, D.C. reported a decline from six to one from 2019 to 2020.
Almost 3,000 “hate crimes” during the pandemic have also been identified by some sources. Over five months last year, almost 2,800 accounts of hate crimes nationwide were compiled by the reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate. But the events were not inherently hate crimes; they included forms of discrimination, including shunning, verbal abuse and name-calling, that were less serious, yet insidious. In addition to a physical injury, Stop AAPI Hate said 69 incidents contained racial words. The non-profit agency would not report them to the authorities.
Nevertheless, at this moment, Asian Americans have every right to their rage and terror, said Michael Eric Dyson, a scholar of race and religion at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
“The suffering we have to accept. It is no longer possible to urge Asian brothers and sisters to be quiet as the entrance, as the price they have to pay for acceptance in the larger American ethnic community, “Said Dyson.
Although anti-Asian sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic has increased markedly, experts claim it is necessary to personally assess each case. They said both defendants and victims deserve a fair trial, no matter what color they might be, rather than a public one.