The Invisible Racism of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

It’s taken me a while to write a new blog post. To be honest, I felt timid about writing something new. I’ve had so many ideas on what my next blog post will be, but something always gets in the way. We moved (a few times) and our family was affected by COVID-19 and illness at the same time. With these situations, I basically gave myself a two month pass of not doing anything. 

Today I finally had some inspiration. 

It was a very busy day at work — we have lots of projects on the go right now and when you work from home it is very difficult to compartmentalize work with the rest of your life. When your work is largely on Instagram, you can also become desensitized to content. I saw the social posts today, I read them, and I shared them. But, as things started to calm down this evening, I began to reflect. 

The inspiration of today’s blog post is sadness. 

  • Xiaojie Tan
  • Daoyou Feng
  • Julie
  • Ah Young
  • Hyeong Jeong
  • Unknown Name

These are the six Asian American women murdered during the mass shooting in Atlanta. The murderer was a white man with a sex addiction, who targeted these spas to resist his temptations. In other words, “Yesterday was a really bad day for him”. 

In an interview with The Atlantic, Cathy Park Hong, writer of Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning explained, “The act of violence itself is wrong. You cannot excuse it. I think many Asian Americans have never talked about it, and so white people still don’t believe that Asian Americans face racism. Because we’re invisible, the racism against us has also been invisible.”

As a kid, I never let being a minority bother me. I was considered “whitewashed” because of the sports I played, the way I was parented, and I did not participate in many Chinese or Filipino traditions. When you’re a blend of two Asian cultures, it can also get confusing and sometimes the races can cancel each other out. 

  • “Why didn’t you have a debut?” 
  • “What is your Chinese name?” 
  • “You don’t speak Cantonese?” 
  • “You can’t speak Tagalog?” 
  • “Are you good at Math?” 
  • “You’re basically white.” 

I would respond to this with laughter. It’s easy to laugh these things off, when it does not physically hurt to be asked. 

But the microaggressions add up. 

Now that I have a career, I can’t help but reflect on how my ancestry could have affected opportunities for me. Kwan is my last name through marriage, but before that it was Chiu. 

  • Have I been racially profiled by the name on my resume?
  • Was I sent a Lunar New Year email from Sephora because of my last name? I asked white people, they did not receive this promotion. 
  • Why are all of the leaders around me white?

It starts with these microaggressions, but things can escalate very quickly. This is not the first anti-Asian hate crime to happen and it won’t be the last, but it’s taken six deaths in one shooting for many to finally notice. As an Asian woman, I will admit that I don’t feel as safe as I used to. Areas that I thought were safe have incidents of racists attacks. 

These events happened in 2019 and May 2020 and there has been even more instances of anti-Asian sentiment since then — a 717% increase from 2019 to 2020. 

I don’t have any answers, I don’t have any more words. I just feel a sense of sadness and loss for these women. 

One thought on “The Invisible Racism of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

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