As America continues to unravel in its foundational racism; the vicious attacks against the Asian community seem to be far from declining. The worst incident so far happened just weeks ago when a young mass shooter in Atlanta murdered employees at an Asian spa. The shooter claimed to be simply “having a bad day” brought on reportedly by deep psychological conflicts between his religion and his sexual desires.
Though authorities were quick to state they didn’t know if race was a motive, it seems obvious since the shooter specifically targeted two Asian-themed spas back to back in which to unleash murderous mayhem.
Even before the shooting, there was a growing list of physical assaults against members of the Asian community and video surfaced today of a new brutal attack on a 65-year-old woman on the street. She was randomly kicked in the face and stomped on the ground by a man twice here size, and in broad daylight. Shamefully, even with witnesses watching, nobody came to her assistance after the attacker fled. My heart aches for this woman and all the victims.
African Americans and Asians – though of different heritage, share in a similar dynamic that is our physical appearance easily marks us as targets for racists. It’s a struggle both groups have had to deal with in a country founded on brutal oppression of African heritage people, from slavery in 1619 to Jim Crow’s end in the 1960s. Within that that there was also the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, that segued promptly into anti-Asian hate and America creating internment camps for Japanese-heritage citizens. This action despicably forced the relocation of Japanese families into prison-like camps while the US government confiscated their homes, wealth and possessions.
Yes, America did that. Add it to the list of race-driven atrocities it has yet to atone for.
Today, just like African Americans, Asian people have had it with this country’s egregious discrimination and bias. It’s especially disheartening considering the generations of contributions both groups have made to the country. Through everything, we remained optimistic for decades. Then we were certain that things were heading in the right direction for racial equality after Barack Obama became the first black president. However, that sentiment was short-lived. The 2016 election of Donald Trump seemed to undo all threads of hope as he awakened and summoned racist, white nationalists from across the country to surface from beneath the rocks, emboldened with their hate of the “others.”
Of course Donald Trump is not to blame for America’s cancerous affliction of racism; however, he did not help. In fact, he instigated much of the current acts of hatred acted against our Asian brothers and sisters. For over a year, Trump’s consistent and deliberate branding of the Coronavirus as the “China Virus” fueled anti-Asian animus. It only grew worse as such sentiments were echoed by members of his cabinet and the talking bobbleheads over at FOX who continued to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many high-profile Asian-heritage citizens have spoken out in the past few weeks against the rise in violence against Asian people; among them Lucy Lui, George Tekai, Daniel Dae Kim, and Margaret Cho. Be they American-born or Asian-born naturalized citizens, the Asian community has had it with the plague of anti-Asian violence
One lesser-known but powerful Asian voice arose this week. U.S. Army Veteran and elected official Lee Wong left a town hall audience speechless in Ohio as he addressed the wave of attacks on the Asians. Wong shared how he proudly served in this country’s military and fought in active combat. He drove the point home by sharing,
“There are some ignorant people that will come up to me and say I don’t look American or patriotic enough.”
He then removed his shirt and lifted his undershirt to reveal significant military battle scars across his entire chest. In that brilliant moment, he posed the question, “Is patriotic enough for you?”
It was indeed a “Wow” moment as Wong, an elected official in West Chester, Ohio, also affirmed he has served in the United States military for 20 years. Citing past racially-biased attacks he has personally endured, Wong further expressed,
“I have put up with a lot of s*** in silence … too afraid to speak out, fearing more abuse and discrimination.”
He, along with the entire Asian community, and anyone else who is a decent human being, clearly agreee these attacks must end. After Wong’s scar-baring chest video went viral, he was interviewed by CNN, where he revealed the removal of his shirt was spontaneous and not planned.
Wong explained, “Even I didn’t know I was going to do that — take my short off. It was just in the heat of the moment; I ripped my shirt off, lift it to show my scar. I thought I need to show them what Americans look like.”
Indeed, you did, Mister Wong. It was a stunning moment, and I thank you for your service.
See the story at Now This
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.