Stop the prejudice

Conor Kelly (TheLorian)

In these trying times, there has been a steady amount of vitriol and prejudice, with many people looking for someone to blame for our current plight. That has been the case for many Americans throughout history, and in our time, the current scapegoat seems to be Asian-Americans. If we turn a blind eye to the prejudice that is taking hold of our community, we will be complicit in all of the violence that will follow it as well as all the violence that has already occurred. 

Though numerous groups of people have been targeted based on their race, Asian Americans have borne the brunt of the hatred as it relates to COVID-19. Whether it was legitimized by former President Trump’s obscene comments like “Kung flu” or not, the fact of the matter is that violence against Asian-Americans has increased. Between March 2020 and February of 2021, there were 3,800 reported hate crimes against Asian Americans, which skyrocketed from where they were in 2019, rising by 150 percent into 2020. Women, already targeted in crime, have been targeted even more so, representing 68 percent of the reporting victims. Asian women were 2.3 times more likely than their male counterparts to report being the victim of a hate crime. 

This hatred is largely the result of xenophobia against Asian Americans due to COVID-19. Indeed, the trend of Anti-Asian bigotry has spread rapidly throughout the world, with political parties and leaders in numerous governments using that hatred as a weapon. The fact that this is happening worldwide is not grounds to turn a blind eye. If anything, it is the reason for us to act. In the face of such violence and hatred surging across the world, Americans—both in government and in everyday life—must show that such hatred will not be tolerated. Americans must push back against the rhetoric that creates this hatred.

Already, Asian Americans have called out the prejudice that they have endured. Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim posted screenshots of the racist messages she has received on her Instagram, including a post calling her a “dumb Asian b*tch.” Others have decided to show their loyalty to America through public displays of defiance.  At a West Chester Township meeting, Chairman Lee Wong yanked off his shirt to reveal his wounds from his years of military service, saying “This is sustained through my service in the U.S. military…Now, is this patriot enough?” If a man who has served his country has to prove his loyalty again just to satiate the prejudices of people who have never served then our country has failed.

Already the Biden administration is making plans to address the rising attacks, but relying on the federal government is not enough. Local leaders and common people must act now. If this violent prejudice is to end, it will end when the people demand its end. We are responsible for what happens next.

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Conor J. Kelly was the Opinion Editor for the Lorian and a prolific staff writer. He graduated from Loras College in April of 2021 and is now pursuing his master's in political science at the University of Illinois, Springfield. You can find his new work on The Progressive American newsletter.

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