Framing the narrative of violence and racism . . .
The Atlanta shooting on Tuesday that left eight people dead at three massage parlours, including six Asian women, has left the Asian-American community reeling from pain, outrage, and trauma. Despite the victims’ race, Atlanta authorities maintain that the incident may not have been racially motivated based on the accused Caucasian male’s self-proclaimed motivation to remedy his “sex addiction.” The massage parlours have no evident connections with sex work. Many Americans have voiced their support for the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, whose members have been the victims of increased hate crimes in the U.S. The U.S. president and vice-president acknowledged the impacts of the incident on the Asian-American community, and the AAPI community remains worried that the shootings are indicative of an increasing pattern of violence in the country.
Four victims of Korean descent, South Korea responds . . .
South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his condolences for the victims’ families after the South Korean foreign ministry confirmed that four of the victims were of Korean descent. Eight major South Korean newspapers ran front page headlines on the killings on Thursday. Chosun Ilbo cited witness testimonies reported by an Atlanta Korean-language paper that claimed the suspect shouted “I’m going to kill all the Asians” during his attack. An editorial in The Hankyoreh called on the U.S. to “face the serious reality of racial hate crimes,” and several other outlets pointed toward recent American statistics indicating a tripling of anti-Asian hate crime incidents over the last year.
Anti-Asian racism on the rise in Canada . . .
The Atlanta shooting has also left many in Canada shaken. Racism, violence, and discrimination against Asian communities has increased in Canada over the past year. According to the Vancouver Police Department, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 717 per cent from 2019 to 2020. Vancouver-based community organization Project 1907 reports that “Canada has a higher number of anti-Asian racism reports per Asian capita than the United States,” and that women are impacted the most. For sex-workers, specially migrant Asian women, anti-Asian sentiment is compounded by a lack of rights, stigma of sex-work, and immigration policies. Such incidents are not isolated, but rather mark a pattern of increasing violence against marginalized communities, highlighting the need for more education and a unified stand against racism and discrimination.