Over the past few months, the world has woken up to the growing threat of violence toward Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. But to AAPI communities, the threat of anti-Asian racism—which intensified drastically since the onset of the pandemic due to scapegoating, according to critics, by political figures including former president Donald Trump and their followers—is not a new one.
Although overall hate crimes in America’s 16 largest cities dropped 7% last year, hate crimes against Asians increased 149%, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. One of the first public statements President Joe Biden made after taking office addressed the issue. He followed it up with plans last month for his administration to combat anti-Asian violence more aggressively. “We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans,” President Biden tweeted. “These attacks are wrong, un-American and must stop.”
On April 18, the U.S. Senate will vote on an anti-Asian hate crimes bill put forward by Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono and Democratic Rep. Grace Meng. But for many, the measures are too little too late.
“It’s troubling to me that almost a year later we are just now addressing Asian discrimination, stereotypes and microaggressions,” says Frannie Rhodes, senior VP and U.S. executive director of creative talent at MullenLowe U.S. “I have experienced these actions throughout my years in the industry.”
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