More Than a Hashtag

Edna Bonsu

150%. Hate crimes and violence towards Asian Americans have increased by 150% in the last year. Take a moment to process that. In the last twelve months, Asian Americans worldwide have reported discrimination in the workplace, verbal harassment, physical assault, and some even describe being coughed or spat on. On a national scale, these disgusting behaviors have decreased by 7%, yet the rate of hate crimes against Asians continues to grow at an alarming rate. What is even more jarring is that these occurrences have spiked since the beginning of the pandemic.

Ignorant, degrading, humiliating “jokes” made at the expense of the Asian community by former administrations, in the workplace, at home, or even in the back of your mind are part of the problem. Stereotypes that hold absolutely no truth whatsoever are part of the problem. The perpetuation of these harmful biases that appear in the media is all part of the problem! The model minority title that is often placed on Asians is also detrimental. For instance, some people have accepted the notion that Asian Americans are good at math, super successful, and ivy-league bound. These things are not inherently malicious, but when an individual’s identity is reduced to just their successes, people fail to see them as anything more, and that is unacceptable.

Years and years of sly, subtle hostility in addition to indifference have given life a monster. Asian communities across the nation feel unsafe, unheard, and endangered. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, and children are afraid. These people are our friends, classmates, co-workers, teachers, coaches, and counselors. Above all these titles, these are human beings, and that alone should be all it takes to speak up. They are more than the hashtag that you post on your story then forget that you uploaded. Their names are Christian Hall. Bawi Cung. Douglas Kim. Xiaojie Tan. Daoyou Feng. Hyun Jung Grant. Soon Chung Park. Suncha Kim. Yong Ae Yue. These people and countless others have experienced the wickedness that is racism, prejudice, and ignorance firsthand.

Even one life lost was one life too many. Enough is enough. No more beautiful, innocent people have to lose their lives. Take the time to educate yourself. Sign the petitions. Speak up when the people in your life make derogatory comments because that is where it all begins. Do not be afraid to stand against injustice in any shape or form because we are all aware that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And who knows, your courage might save a life.