Atlanta spa shootings in March 2021, which claimed the lives of six women of Asian descent, have reopened the debate about the discriminatory and cruel treatment meted out to the Asian communities across the United States for more than a century.
This awful incident occurred when a man opened fire in three Atlanta-area spas or massage businesses, killing eight people. The suspect – a 21-year-old white, identified as Robert Aaron Long – was arrested within hours.
The police charged him with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault, saying that it’s not clear that there was a racial motive for shootings. This approach, however, gives a clear idea about the motive of American authorities and speaks volumes about their overall process towards the maltreatment of Asians.
The same apathy is also depicted from Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office statement defended Mr. Long by saying that he was attempting to “eliminate a temptation.” His all out sympathies went to the white killer instead of the Asian victims.
It is clear from the history that Baker’s viewpoint has been shared by all Americans as they have been considering Asians, even those who have been residing in the US for centuries, as impure and inferior.
Such Americans, including the former US President Donald Trump, believe that Asians will conquer their world if not stopped. This twisted logic explains why Trump and like-minded Americans blamed the Chinese for outbreaking the coronavirus pandemic. For them, Covid-19 is a Chinese-developed bioweapon, which is being used against the world to end the white domination.
The Anti-Asian Racism and xenophobia, which seemed to be in Americans’ blood and bones, is fueled up in the wake of the eruption of Covid-19. Even the international human rights organizations have noticed these issues and urged the governments to take urgent measures to prevent racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Similar events and developments have previously been used as a pretext for meting out discriminatory treatment to Asians for more than 150 years. During this time, immigrants from Asian countries, including China, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, India, Macau, Samoa, Fiji, Taiwan, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Guam, Mongolia, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and many more.
A perfect example of this discrimination is the Asian Exclusion Act of 1882, which was the first significant law restricting immigration into the US. This law banned Chinese laborers from immigrating to the US, prohibited Chinese immigrants from becoming US citizens, and required Chinese people to obtain certification to re-enter the US if they left.
There are various other legislations passed by Congress against Asian immigrants. The Immigration Act of 1917 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 are a few discriminatory legislation to mention.
Even after imposing immigrant laws and segregation of Asians, the frequency of crimes against them was not reduced owing to the general hate against Asians and xenophobia. In the recent past, such incidents have ballooned as nearly 3,800 hate incidents targeting Asian-Americans have been reported nationwide since last March.
On the other hand, Asians have been ensuring their complete vindication since 1850 by playing a significant role in the US’s development. However, the Americans have not vacated any considerable place for the Asians in their hearts even after Biden’s appeal to the nation: “For all the good that laws can do, we have to change our hearts. Hate can have no safe harbor in America. It must stop. And it’s on all of us — all of us together — to make it stop.”