Hate Rises Again
Asian Americans under attack
Sadly, hate comes in many forms. It is diffuse and targeted, rooted in history and newly created, dormant and eruptive.
It has always been part of our emotional toolkit as humans, and always will be. Some people believe (at least as an ideal) that hate is never justified. Others believe that it is sometimes justified — for instance, an enslaved person's hatred for their enslaver — but far too often, hate is driven by ignorance, bias, and unwarranted fear.
Despots, autocrats, and others who seek power through divisiveness and scapegoating have long recognized that hate can be a potent tool. It can be used by those who benefit from entrenched privilege to instill a false sense of victimhood and retain an unjust status quo. This tactic was a hallmark of Jim Crow.
Hate is often directed at those a dominant segment of society demeans as the “other” for reasons of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or physical ability, among other criteria. But in fact, our variations across these categories make this world a wonderful and interesting place to live. Hate, in short, is a potent threat to pluralism, and ultimately, to democracy. That it is ascendant now alongside the other threats to our constitutional order is no accident. That is the entire point.
We have written here at Steady about many kinds of hate. And we will continue to do so, even at the risk of being repetitive. These rising threats can never be deemed “old news.” Violent hatred can never be allowed to seep into an accepted normalcy. It must be called out whenever and however it appears. And it is especially incumbent on those outside the targeted community to stand in solidarity against oppression and violence.
With this responsibility in mind, we want to shine a light on what took place in Bloomington, Indiana, several days ago. An 18-year-old woman, a student at Indiana University, was stabbed in the head as she rode a city bus. According to court documents, the woman was attacked because she is Asian. The perpetrator, a 56-year-old white woman, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, and battery. She allegedly told investigators her motivation was to have “one less person to blow up our country.”
The story has attracted some national attention, but not nearly enough. It is one horrific example of a general trend that should concern all Americans: an increase in anti-Asian hatred and attacks.
Asia is the world's largest continent, and that means those who qualify as Asians represent a wide and diverse set of cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds. India is vastly different from Japan; similarly, the Philippines from Afghanistan. So when we discuss anti-Asian sentiment, we should recognize it comes in many odious manifestations fueled by a spectrum of noxious stereotypes.
Asians were spuriously and shamefully targeted after 9/11 for being “terrorists” and after the start of the pandemic for “spreading COVID.” They have been disparaged as supposed economic and cultural threats to American prosperity and security, from the Japanese Americans interned during World War II to those blamed for the manufacturing decline in the Rust Belt. Chinese laborers helped build the American railways — at great personal risk — only to find themselves unwelcome as fellow citizens. With the rise of China as a global competitor to American hegemony, Asians have faced an entirely new flavor of animosity.
Asians have also been deemed a “model minority” due to the perception that they have achieved higher socioeconomic status than other minority groups. This gross generalization diminishes the challenges Asians have faced, ignores the diversity within the Asian American experience, and becomes a means for pitting Asians against others seeking to find equality and justice in a nation where those ideals often go unrealized.
The obvious truth is that Asians, like every other group that has come to this country either voluntarily or in bondage, have helped to create America.
In combating racism and xenophobia, we would be well-advised to keep two truths in mind. Each group facing persecution confronts unique obstacles and historical contexts. At the same time, a culture of hatred is an immediate danger to all groups. History has shown, time and again, that pitting groups against each other serves the needs of those already in power. They fear a coordinated movement seeking to level the playing fields. And for good reason.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we just celebrated, understood how an unjust status quo benefits from divisions among those who seek to challenge it. He preached for unity — a brotherhood and sisterhood — among the marginalized rather than a zero-sum game in which the seeming advance of one group comes at the expense of another.
We need to learn from our history — its ugliness as well as its beauty. Our story is one of intolerance but also inspiration. Discrimination but also diversity. Hatred but also healing.
Asian Americans are an integral part of our ongoing national narrative. Their pain, fear, and anger are a direct threat to all of us who believe in an America of freedom and justice.
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Haters are ALWAYS going to find something to hate. If there were no "minorities" left, it would be people who wear their hair long.....or like the color purple.....or....or.....or. Unfortunately, unlike the flu or covid.....there is no vaccine against hatred and we must remain ever vigilant and rise up to counter it as best we can.
Steady is my News Info. Yes, I do not watch news on TV, You Tube, Twitter, or anywhere else if I can avoid it.
I had a terrible attack from my Niece this week.
She avoided her Grandfather and I at the Supermarket. She said, I SAW her, and avoided her. ( I didn't see her, nor did my Father)
Therfore, she hates me for that. I am a mean Aunt.
Isn't this very sad. Yes, I cried my eyes out.
I would have hugged her and asked her how she is doing. My Father would have been happy as well.
She already SPREAD my hate TO OTHERS.
What she doesn't know, is I didn't have my glasses on my face to see in the FAR distance.
My Father can't see well or hear. That's why I am with him. But she knew that. It is very upsetting for the Asian people and all people of the World.
I am still waiting for my 30 year old Niece to contact me so we can make amends.