Atlanta attack shouldn’t be surprising

Elise Fjelstad, Copy Editor

On Tuesday, March 16, eight people were shot and killed in an Atlanta, GA shooting spree, with the majority of victims being Asian American women. While some speculate on whether the crime was racially motivated, that is disingenuous to the trends of the last year.

Since the COVID-19 strain was traced back to Wuhan, China, there have been spouts of anti-Chinese sentiments and blaming the U.S.’s failure of a pandemic response on Chinese people. This, and calling the coronavirus “Kung-Flu” as well as the media’s negative painting of China as a country, have all contributed to the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

While racist attitudes against Chinese people are nothing new, the trends of 2020 and 2021 are unacceptable. It is not the fault of individual Chinese citizens that the U.S. COVID death toll is so high, and blaming such a tragedy on a single marginalized group of people is a signature mark of ostracization and xenophobia.

Just as it is ridiculous to blame individual Muslim people and Arab Americans for the 9/11 attacks, blaming individual Asian Americans for a global pandemic is ridiculous, and like Arab and Muslim Americans, also leads to even worse acts of racism. That is why non-Asian Americans (including myself) cannot be shocked by the Atlanta attack, and instead take time to reflect on how they have possibly contributed anti-Asian hate, and how they can help combat it.