Regardless of the alleged motivation behind the Atlanta-area spa shootings, Asian Americans everywhere are experiencing a range of emotions.
“Since last night, it's just been nonstop texting from friends to make sure we're okay. And yeah, it's hard. You know, the women are vulnerable workers, they are immigrant women having to go to work to feed their families,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation.
Yoo spoke to us about how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the community. Hate incidents against Asian Americans have increased and are really just starting to come to light. They are also thought to be drastically under-reported.
“We are suffering from the perpetual myth, foreigner myth. Everybody thinks Asian Americans are doing well, through, you know, the model minority myth, and that is certainly not the case,” said Yoo.
“Realizing that the ripple effects are going to be significant, it’s going to make members of our community just that more fearful, that more mistrusting, that less safe,” said Doris F. Chang, PhD, a psychologist and associated professor at New York University.
Chang, along with a colleague, conducted a survey that found 40% of Asian Americans reported experiencing at least one of several acts, like being coughed or spit on, verbally or even physically attacked.
Chang encourages people to break through cultural norms and report these incidents, and for everyone to talk about what's happening.
“To not be hearing more widespread condemnation and support of Asian Americans, that feels really upsetting and deeply disturbing,” said Chang.
“It’s a shared burden. You can't put the burden of, you know, finding a solution on the victims,” said Yoo.
Asian American leaders and activists will testify Thursday before a House panel on the rise in discrimination and violence.
The Asian American Federation is organizing in-person peace vigils possibly as early as Friday.