“The country many times over has witnessed dissent and disruption far more violent than anything seen in recent years. But earlier episodes featured profound ideological and moral questions — easily visible to the naked eye, in the present and to historians afterward — that lay at the heart of the matter.
The real Civil War was about slavery — at the start, to restrict its territorial expansion, by war’s end to eliminate it entirely. Capitalists opposed to the New Deal knew why they loathed FDR — he was fundamentally shifting the balance of power between public and private sectors — and FDR knew, too: “They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred.” The unrest of the 1960s was about ending segregation and stopping the Vietnam War.
Only in recent years have we seen foundation-shaking political conflict — both sides believing the other would turn the United States into something unrecognizable — with no obvious and easily summarized root cause. What is the fundamental question that hangs in the balance between the people who hate Trump and what he stands for and the people who love Trump and hate those who hate him? This is less an ideological conflict than a psychological one.”
“Two recent studies found that online animosity and offline hate incidents against Asian Americans heightened after Trump linked China and COVID-19 in his tweets; another study found that Trump’s framing of the pandemic as China’s fault increased anti-Asian sentiments and xenophobia in survey experiments; and there’s evidence, too, that rank-and-file Republicans have become much more hostile toward China during the pandemic — views that experts warn pose a threat to all Asian Americans.”
“Over the past year, anti-Asian incidents have surged across the country: There have been more than 2,800 since last spring, according to Stop AAPI Hate, which has been tracking people’s reports. Ranging from verbal abuse and workplace discrimination to storefront vandalism and physical violence, many of these assaults have been fueled by xenophobic sentiment that seeks to scapegoat Asian Americans for the spread of the coronavirus, given its origins in China.”
“Kulkarni emphasizes that Trump’s rhetoric had a clear effect in stoking xenophobia and fueling these attacks, many of which fed off longstanding tropes about Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners who can never be fully American. “We would often see increased violence or hate and discrimination when the president would make remarks. We saw that was having direct impact on the perpetrators,” she said, regarding the Stop AAPI Hate tracker. Additionally, the association of Asian Americans with the coronavirus activated age-old stereotypes that have associated immigrants of Asian descent with “weird” foods, dirtiness, and illness.
Anti-Asian attacks in the past year have been wide-ranging. According to the Stop AAPI Hate tracker, they’ve included an Asian American child getting pushed off her bike by a bystander at a park, a family at a grocery store getting spat on and accused of being responsible for the coronavirus, and vandalism outside businesses. Then there is the death of Ratanapakdee in San Francisco this past month: Members of his family told KTVU that they believe the attack on him was racially motivated.
In a recent executive action, President Joe Biden condemned anti-Asian racism, marking a stark change from the Trump administration. He’s also instructed the Justice Department to begin gathering data on these attacks and to strip discriminatory language from federal documents. But it is going to take more than one message denouncing such acts to maintain this dialogue and ensure that members of these communities get the funding and legal backing they need.”
“To provide some context for the range of discrimination that’s been experienced — and show what Asian Americans have been facing as they walk down the street or make a quick stop at the grocery store in towns and cities across America — here are some accounts that have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, in people’s own words.”