As much as we don’t like it, the world continues to be poisoned by hate and hate speech, much of which is aimed towards marginalized groups and minority communities. Unfortunately, this hateful rhetoric was exemplified during the previous administration, especially against Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Asian Americans.
Civil rights advocate and Director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Manju Kulkarni, talks about the impact of this hateful rhetoric on Asian American communities in an NPR article. Kulkarni talks about how phrases like “Wuhan virus, kung flu, China virus, China plague”, espoused by former President Trump, have been weaponized against Asian American communities. This type of hateful speech has led to an uptick in hate crimes against Asian American people, so much so that some stores, owned by Asian Americans, have had to reduce their hours.
Credit: Gum Kuo Restaurant
Unfortunately, these hate crimes have claimed some victims’ lives. Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year old man, was going for a walk in San Francisco when he was attacked and smashed to the ground. Ratanapakdee died of his injuries two days later. Others have been injured, property has been vandalized, and many have been subject to verbal assaults and slurs while in public.
Part of the reason why we at Jezuba have turned our attention to these attacks is because many of them have occurred so close to where Jezuba is based, in Oakland. We hope that by increasing awareness of hate crimes against minority groups, particularly Asian Americans, others will be able to educate themselves about this hate before it strikes close to them.