Yesterday, a white gunman in Atlanta killed eight people in three attacks, six of whom were Asian women. On this same day, the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate released a report on thousands of incidents of anti-Asian harassment and violence reported to them over the past year.
The gunman in yesterday’s Atlanta shooting denies race was a factor, however, the fact is that he predominantly murdered Asian women in his killing spree, and this is compounding the pain and fear many members of the Asian American community are already living with. The perpetrator has blamed his “sex addiction,” which is sparking some Asian women to speak out about the intersection of racialized and sexualized harassment they’ve been subjected to.
Sex addiction is a controversial and disputed diagnosis, but regardless, sex addiction does not cause a person to commit murder. Those who commit murder and other forms of violent crime often justify their actions by dehumanizing the person or people they are committing violence against. Unfortunately, they are too often supported by a culture that does the same thing. We must always be vigilant in standing up against words and actions that dehumanize and devalue people’s lives, and of challenging a culture that fails to address these behaviors.
Let’s be clear. This is a hate crime. Recently, increasing attention has been brought to the rise in reported hate crimes against Asian people in the past year in the U.S., leading many Asian people across the nation to feel less safe in their communities.
We encourage our supporters to follow the work of Stop AAPI Hate and for those who have not lived it, to read the stories of harassment and violence included in their recently released report. By bearing witness to these stories, let us become more moved to speak out and act to raise awareness, intervene when we witness dehumanizing words and abusive actions, and support policies that more strongly address this type of violence and discrimination.