This past Tuesday, a white man bought a gun and went on a shooting spree in the Atlanta area, killing eight people — six of whom were women of Asian descent.
There’s so much more to the story than just this, so much more to unpack.
The shooter claimed that his motivation was to remove the sexual temptation the spas and these women represented (never mind that any reports of prostitution at these places have been unconfirmed; never mind that this just further plays into the exotic fetishization of Asian women; never mind that this is yet another case of the police parroting the killer’s claims verbatim).
Then there’s the police officer who, in a press conference, said that it was “a really bad day” for the shooter. A police officer whose Facebook page advertised shirts that blamed China for Covid said it was the white guy with a gun who had the bad day.
And now the big debate is whether or not it qualifies as a hate crime, with the shooter’s word being the biggest argument against it, to say nothing of the six dead.
More than anything I, as a Singaporean-Chinese man, am just so damn tired.
For over a year now I’ve heard vitriol about the current pandemic because caused by people who look like me, I’ve heard slurs thrown about from the office of the US President on down, I’ve seen stories of women who look like my grandmother attacked on the streets, I’ve seen stories of men who look like my cousin attacked in a train.
In the process, I’ve remembered and rethought every racist incident I’ve experienced over my years in the US, from a driving instructor telling me that I was Asian so I should be disciplined to a stranger on the internet calling me a chink over a video game voice chat. The sentiment’s nothing new, the locating of Asian-Americans as being permanent foreigners is not new. I also don’t owe you my trauma, I don’t owe you a recounting of every slight, insult, and threat I’ve received for my race. But you owe it to listen if we do.