I hate to admit this, but I’ve become numb to mass shootings. Which means I’ve become numb to the loss of life. Living in a country that has the highest amount of mass shootings of any country on the planet, this isn’t surprising; but it’s awful nonetheless As I read an article about a terrorist killing 8 Asian Women on Tuesday in Atlanta, I was saddened and deeply pained for their families. This executioner was apprehended without incident, while peaceful Black men and women have been killed for far less. Sometimes the way that we treat our fellow humans, is beyond comprehension.
As I write this, the supposed motive behind this act of terrorism is an addiction to sex with the terrorist saying it is not racially motivated (this is hard to believe and might be a ploy at taking the hate statute off his charges). Hate crimes against Asian-Americans have increased 150% in the last year, in huge response to Former President Trump’s continued use of labeling Covid-19 by derogatory terms such as “Kung Flu.” Even though the US has had the highest number of deaths and cases of Covid-19, it’s easier to blame those we deem as outsiders than claim our own shortcomings.
Racism and hate against the Asian community is nothing new. During the Gold rush of the 1800’s, Chinese immigrants migrated to the US for work. At the time, it was a good thing, because the work was beneath white people. But as their population grew, so did the backlash against their arrival. By 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law which prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers.
It’s true that tension between the Asian community and the Black community is nothing new. Both are marginalized groups living in a predominately white country. To not be the lowest caste on the rung, we are constantly pitted against each other with Asian immigrants often considered to be the “model” that other groups should hope to imitate. Many Asians have continued to perpetuate and believe the same negative stereotypes about Black people because racism has affected every aspect of our society. But two truths do not cancel each other out. The root problem is racism and white supremacy, and in this case misogyny since many of the victims were women. Women of color are often seen as disposable and wanton in contrast to their white counterparts, who are often seen as the epitome of femininity and womanhood. Is it any wonder that this white man felt justified to take the lives of 6 Asian women for his perceived shortcomings and hate?
No, it’s not. I think this mass shooting feels especially jarring, because we are still amid a pandemic and because we have been on lockdown there have been less opportunities for mass gatherings and shootings. It’s ironic how something so terrible can sometimes be a saving grace. Nothing will come of this story; mass shootings will continue as will violence against people of color and women. America is so deeply entrenched in it’s own cycle of hate and racism that they will never move to make the necessary changes. My prayers and condolences to the families and loved ones affected.