Anti-Asian hate has existed for as long as we remember. Asian Americans as well as Pacific Islanders have long received aggressions either physically or verbally due to racism and xenophobia.
The previous year has witnessed a huge spike in Anti-Asian hate crimes. In fact, there’s been a total of 3,800 reported first-hand accounts of Anti-Asian hate crimes between March 2020 and February 2021.
According to BBC, there is a 115% increase in anti-Asian hate crime in Los Angeles County, while it increased by about 1200% in Orange County.
Unfortunately, the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities do not receive much representation either in media or politics. This systemic silence has led some to believe that Anti-Asian hate crimes no longer exist when in fact, they have rapidly increased.
Anti-Asian Hate Crimes – How To Protect Yourself
If you’re an Asian American or Pacific Islander, you may feel uneasy and worry about your safety. Here are some things you can do today to protect yourself and other members of your community against Anti-Asian hate crimes.
Build a Rapid Response Network
A lot of Anti-Asian hate crimes are not reported. This stems from a lack of trust in the justice system, language, and cultural barriers, and fear of entanglement with the police and immigration officials.
But in order to help prevent Anti-Asian hate crimes, we need to keep track of related incidents. That’s why it’s important for members of the Asian American community and those who wish to help build a community-based rapid response network that is self-sufficient and does not rely on local police enforcement.
Such a network should allow victims to communicate in their native language and must entitle victims to anonymity to encourage them to report incidents of Anti-Asian hate crime.
Moreover, such networks should coordinate with local government authorities so that they can issue community-wide alerts and organize language-accessible press events and meetings that will help foster community awareness and involvement.
These should help develop community-wide responses to put safety plans in place and help victims receive funding and other means of support.
There are many ways donations can help Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. You can donate through GoFundMes and other community fundraisers.
Such funds often go into helping Anti-Asian hate crime victims recover from their violent experiences. This includes finances for basic sustenance as well as mental health care to help them recover from trauma.
You can also donate to Restorative Justice Programs to support systemic change.
Because Anti-Asian hate crimes are always underreported and offenders often recidivate.
Restorative justice programs can equip offenders with tools to address their needs and challenges so that they are less likely to commit the same offenses again.
There are also community programs, like community-based ambassador programs, that seek to actively help vulnerable Asian Americans. Donating helps employ multicultural and multi-linguistic individuals to assist those who are most at risk of being victimized by Anti-Asian hate crimes.
Most recorded Anti-Asian hate crimes were done in public areas like streets, public transportation, places of worship, and so on.
If you’ve ever witnessed violence against Asian Americans or Pacific islanders, submit an incident report to the community’s rapid response network or to the Asia Pacific American Advocates (AAPI).
Many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are first-generation immigrants who struggle with the language barrier. This, along with a general distrust of authority and unwillingness to deal with the police and immigration office, prevents the victims from reporting their hate crime experience.
By reporting Anti-Asian hate crimes on their behalf, you are providing authorities with information to apprehend the offender, preventing them from attacking someone else. You also provide authorities data to identify trends in hate crime to help them put safety measures in place.
Educating Yourself and Those Around You
A lot of the Anti-Asian hate crimes are done in public. A good way to protect potential victims of Anti-Asian hate crime is by educating yourself and anyone else interested to combat violence against Asian Americans so they know what to do when they witness Anti-Asian violence in action.
Providing yourself and people in your community bystander training equips you with tools and tactics so you may help victims, document incidents, and ideally, safely intervene to deescalate confrontations and prevent violence.
Supporting Asian-American or Immigrant Owned Businesses
With the growing Anti-Asian sentiment brought forth by the pandemic and the increasing number of hate crimes, Asian-American and immigrant-owned businesses are suffering a tremendous loss.
This is particularly challenging for small business owners who have little in terms of defense against microaggressions and full-blown attacks.
Not only do Asian-American business owners worry about their safety and their workers’ safety, but they also get turned down when they apply for bank loans or financial assistance.
Though there are private organizations helping these businesses out, they will greatly benefit from having more clients or customers patronize their business. By purchasing from their stores or visiting their shops, you are giving them support morally and financially, which goes a long way in combating Anti-Asian hate.
There are many community programs aimed at helping Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. Though they have some funding to hire workers to maintain their operations, a lot of them are in great need of funds and will benefit from having more people on board.
You can volunteer to help in many ways. If you are multilingual and multicultural, you may help at-risk Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders by assisting them with communication and helping them navigate through the city. You can also offer to chaperone elderly Asian Americans to help ensure their safety as they travel.
If you’re not multilingual nor multicultural, you can volunteer to help educate members of the Asian-American community as well as any concerned Americans on bystander intervention. This helps them identify situations of Anti-Asian hate and equips them with tools to safely intervene and deescalate such situations.
Hire Protection Services
Prevention is best but it is not always enough. If you think you, your business, or your family is in danger from Anti-Asian hate crimes, consider hiring protection services.
Professional protection services provide 24/7 surveillance and executive protection agents who make your safety their priority. They not only step in when you are in danger, but they also make it their business that you avoid and minimize your risk of danger.
This is a great investment for businesses whose stores and products are at risk of being damaged, destroyed, or desecrated.
For individuals and families, this also gives them the peace of mind that their homes are secure, and that should someone attempt to hurt them, someone is ready to step in and ensure it does not happen.
The resurgence of xenophobia and racism in America can be scary. But we are not helpless. With proper guidance and through the help of every concerned American, we can combat Anti-Asian hate one crime at a time through the accumulated efforts of everyone who wishes to help.
Photo by Darina Belonogova from Pexels