In their eyes: AAPI students and staff share stories of racism

Anti-Asian hate crimes have increased over the past year.

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Art by Tae Yun (Erica) Kang/Bear Witness

Tae Yun (Erica) Kang, Editor

With the spread of the coronavirus, another virus has spread with it – racism. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have become targets for hate crimes.

Recent tragedies such as the deaths of six women of Asian descent in Georgia, and attacks on the elderly population in major cities such as San Francisco and New York have revived long-buried feelings of normalized racism among students.

In an online Bear Witness poll of 114 readers, nearly 30% said that they have experienced or witnessed anti-Asian prejudice at Branham, such as being called slurs and other gestures.

Junior Catherine Tran, who is Vietnamese, said that she has been attacked on social media.

“I’ve gotten two death threats over the past three months because people say that since I’m Asian, I caused the virus,” she said. “People have also said racist things to my face or called me slurs, such as ‘chink.’ “

The group Stop Asian Hate has seen a dramatic rise in number of reported hate crimes in the U.S., correlating its spread to the spread of the coronavirus. The terms “Kung Flu” and “China Virus” have been used in reference to the coronavirus, sparking further emotions of AAPI hate.

Awareness of the issue affecting the Asian American community is getting more attention. The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to put resources in exploring and addressing anti-Asian hate crimes.

We explore the virus of anti-Asian racism further in our upcoming issue.