Perhaps we're not ready for this conversation. But we need to be.
Because Robert Aaron Long, age 21, purchased his first firearm in under 10 minutes, drove straight to Young Asian's Massage Parlor, and left four dead innocents in his wake. He then drove to another spa where he killed an additional 3 women. After his parents made yet another 911 call, his phone was finally traced while he was on his way to Florida to kill more people. The police calmly pulled over a rampaging murderer, where he was successfully apprehended. Robert told police that he had a serious sex addiction and that he murdered those women to suppress his own temptation. Despite the obvious targeting of Asian-run establishments as well as the fact that 6 out of the 8 victims were women, the police refuse to call the crime a hate crime or a femicide.
One police officer's response was, "he was having a really bad day, and that's what he decided to do." Below you can view the full press conference.
Here are the names of the victims:
Delaina Ashely Yaun
Paul Andre Michels
Hyun Jung Grant
Soon Chung Park
Yong Ae Yue
Elicias R Hernandez-Ortiz was seriously injured.
Asian discrimination should have been addressed before 8 people had to die, and thousands more over time. With the epidemic still afflicting the United States over a year later, many Americans take their frustrations out on Asian people, going so far as to avoid their businesses and spouting slurs in public places. Before the pandemic really unfolded, I would have liked to believe that people couldn't possibly be so foolish to equate one individual or perhaps an unaware tourist with an entire race, especially when America's response to Covid19 has directly resulted in its continued spread. However, it wasn't really about being foolish or not. If there's one thing the Trump Administration as well as the last two years in general have taught me is that there are a lot more racists and bigots among us than I thought. They didn't have spoken permission to speak out until Trump did it first, but now the shock factor and the absolute cruelty of derogatory stereotypes and racial slurs is being social condoned by many in power.
There's something to be said about the intersection of violence against marginalized groups and women. Long targeted these women because of his own fetishes and obsessions with Asian women. He's certainly not the only one. I myself have seen men on line bully gamer girls out of their spheres for not fitting the kawaii image they're supposed to. Asian women in particular are idolized for their meekness, their innocence, their almost childlike submissiveness and appearance. What if a woman does not fit this image? What if an Asian women is masculine presenting? What if she or they have a much more dominating personality? It's as if women cannot exist as themselves but must reside within a fantasy. However, even within a fantasy they aren't safe. Because Long fantasized about Asian women to the point of obsession. To the point of resent. To the point of murder.
Simply put, we need to do better. We need to keep demanding for positive Asian media representation, acceptance of different practices and traditions, and protection, especially for women. Racism is alive and well, but so is a will to change things.
How do you think we can continue to #stopasianhate ?