On March 16, Robert Aaron Long was suspected of opening fire on three separate spas in Atlanta, killing eight individuals, six of which were Asian-American women. Long is a 21-year-old Caucasian male from Woodstock, Georgia: a town slightly Northwest of Atlanta. Local authorities and investigators prompted that Long’s reasoning might have been his own sex-addiction that tempted him to commit such inhumane acts. Capt. Jay Baker held a joint press conference with the Atlanta police department and said, “Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.”
As the victims’ families mourn the losses of their loved ones, athletes, celebrities and other social figures took to social media to express their disdain against Long’s acts. Although authorities are unsure if Long was specifically targeting Asian-Americans, nonetheless, these are acts of a hate crime and should not be watered down to anything less than that. As another opportunity arose for leaders to acknowledge domestic terrorism within the United States, to no surprise, individuals failed to show leadership. Capt. Baker’s words were highly insensitive and are a part of the problem of xenophobia and racism we have present in the U.S. Minority groups within the U.S. have been terrorized for decades on end and yet one thing remains true: those in power continuously attempt to dilute situations of domestic terrorism routinely involving a White middle-aged male. As hate crimes and discriminatory acts continue to occur without accountability and action against them, another evil will reign: white privilege.
Recently in the UTSA community, local San Antonio restaurant Noodle Tree was a victim of hate speech as phrases such as ‘Kung-flu’ and ‘hope u die’ were spray-painted across the storefront. Although it is unknown who vandalized the restaurant, investigators believe that the crime was retaliation against Mike Nguyen, Noodle Tree’s owner. He is half Vietnamese and half French and, to some degree, found humor in the derogatory messages implying that he was Chinese because it was based on an assumption. Nguyen recently spoke against Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to end the state-wide mask mandate and allow businesses to open to 100% capacity for economic reasons. Gov. Abbott since then has labeled the vandalism against Noodle Tree as ‘abhorrent.’ Nguyen also added that some individuals wanted to accuse the vandalism as part of an inside job to bring attention to his restaurant. Disheartening, to say the least, stereotypes and stigmas associated with the Asian-American community should be exposed for their role in violence as well.
In March 2020, Former Pres. Donald Trump labeled COVID-19 as the ‘Chinese virus’ before attempting to retract his statements by proclaiming the need to ‘protect the Asian-American community.’ However, his Republican colleagues and some Americans-alike took the opportunity to continue using demeaning stereotypes. Unfortunately, accurate statistics on the number of hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the U.S. are unavailable because of a major flaw in the system where a group of minorities is clustered together in hate crime reports.
Seemingly, minorities and allies alike are having to bear the responsibility of exposing discriminatory practices in the U.S. Different terms to describe these heinous acts are being used, yet another constant problem remains: the lack of acknowledgment by White individuals who are unaffected by the discrimination in the U.S. As a country, it is time to stop scapegoating and acting oblivious to the trend of domestic terrorism, specifically against minority communities. We mourn the losses of the Asian-American community and send our deepest condolences to their families. As an independent student publication, we stand in solidarity for justice and equality of all. The Paisano condemns all forms of discrimination and hate.