As Covid 19 numbers rose, so did hate crimes against people of Asian descent. U.S. Leaders using derogatory and inflammatory rhetoric such as the “China virus” only stoked the flames of hatred and blame on Asian populations further until the flames had spread into an uncontrollable bonfire, with nearly 3800 instances of hate crimes against Asians recorded in 2020 by the Stop AAPI Hate coalition. The Atlanta shooting is the most violent act yet, in the large amount of hate crimes that have been perpetuated since the pandemic started March 2020, with six of the victims being Asian women. #StopAsianHateCrimes as well as sister hashtags #AsianLivesMatter and #StopAsianHate started trending on Twitter after the news of the Atlanta shooting hit the public. Twitter users have used the hashtag to educate others on what it has been like to be Asian during the pandemic, dispel the rumors that brought on the hate crimes in the first place, and talk about how others can help Asians during this difficult time.
Being anti-racist isn't about celebrating 'diversity'.
It's about acknowledging the pervasive existence of systemic racism.
It's about actively confronting & dismantling unequal power dynamics between groups & the very structures that sustain them. #StopAsianHateCrimes
— Naheed Dosani (@NaheedD) March 18, 2021
You have the AUDACITY to blame us for the virus but refuse to wear a mask.
You have the AUDACITY to justify hatred towards a race with the pandemic.
You take EVERYTHING Asian culture brought to you and claim it as your own UNLESS IT'S A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
— 🌈Piper🍀 (@PurplePotatOwO) March 18, 2021
I’m pretty sure you, who’s following me, love everyone despite race, gender, sexuality. So please RT this to those who DO need to be reminded. We are “humans-being”. Hate does not belong in our vocabularies. Seek help if you feel doing harm is an answer. #StopAsianHateCrimes
— Mars at Home (@JasonMarsden) March 18, 2021
Many of the supporters of the hashtag also supported black lives matter, with many drawing parallels between the current shooting and events such as the Emmanuel nine shooting, where nine people were murdered by a notorious white supremacist. The most obvious parallel was the treatment of the suspect by the police. In both cases, the criminal was treated decently by the police, a privilege Twitter users say most minorities never experience.
Robert Long was arrested unharmed after killing 6 Asian women.
Dylan Roof was arrested unharmed after killing 9 Black people.
Yet the cops can’t seem to do the same w/ UNARMED People of Color.
This country is loud & clear about whose lives matter#StopAsianHate #BlackLivesMatter
— Angel Jones, PhD (@AngelJonesPhD) March 17, 2021
Guess what? Attending church doesn't make a person's crime any less heinous. Dylan Roof attended church too before he murdered 9 people in Charleston. Let's focus more on the murdered, rather than trying to sanitizer this hate crime. #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/cMWOIznpk4
— TSgt Kevin Edwards (Retired) 🇺🇸 (@KLE1967) March 18, 2021
Speaking as one member of the black community to my friends in the Asian community please remember the black community gets it. Please don’t forget that #StopAsianHateCrimes
— A Diabetic Comic✊🏾BLM (@ChelcieRice) March 18, 2021
Let's be clear. Let's be specific.
White racist violence in America needs to stop.
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) March 18, 2021
In addition to the parallels to the Emmanuel nine shooting, Twitter users also used the hashtag to express discontent at the way the Republican party handled Covid 19, which many believe led to the rise in hate crimes. Among those expressing their discontent were several prominent politicians.
In their effort to create a scapegoat for #COVID19, Donald Trump and the Republican Party put a bull's-eye on the backs of Asian Americans.
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) March 18, 2021
Dear Rep @chiproytx: Unlike you, I served on active duty in the US military. I’m aware of who the bad guys are. But today’s hearing is about anti-Asian violence in the US. Americans who happen to be of Asian descent are being targeted. Get the difference?#StopAsianHateCrimes https://t.co/SnovDL6BP8
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 18, 2021
It’s clear that there are those who are fighting strongly to stop the wave of hate against Asians since the advent of Covid 19. They have given the public a clear message on what has been happening to them and what will continue to happen unless others take action. It is the same message thousands of Black Americans have sent and continue to send daily. The only question is when will the public listen?