March 17, 2021
In shock and horror, we mourn the deaths of the eight victims of yesterday’s shootings at Atlanta-area spas. With the families of the victims, we grieve their loss.
Law enforcement in Atlanta have so far declined to deem the incident a hate crime, despite the fact that six out of eight victims were Asian women, the exotification of Asian women in media and sex work, and the shooter’s stated motive to “eliminate his temptations.”
But they are missing the point. The intersection of racism and misogyny has stood out starkly in the exponential violence experienced by the Asian community over the last year. When we locate last night’s incident within the surge of violence against Asian women, it becomes clear that misogyny against Asian women is so embedded into our culture that we do not notice it until it manifests into lethal violence.
And when we consistently allow sweeping generalizations and the model minority myth to dominate the narrative, we obscure the experiences of Asian families struggling with disproportionately high unemployment rates during the pandemic. When we brush incidents like yesterday’s off as isolated events motivated by opportunity, we fail to do justice to the Asian immigrant workers who are terrified to return to work today, and to the Asian elders who are afraid to stroll to the market in their own neighborhoods.
Violence against any community–and the misogyny, racism, and hate that spark it–hurts all of us. We remain heartened by the actions the Biden-Harris administration has taken to condemn racism against AAPI communities to recognize this. We stand in solidarity with our community, allies, and families of the victims to demand a thorough, transparent review of yesterday’s incident; and we call on leadership, policymakers, and law enforcement to listen to AAPI voices, uplift our experiences, and hold our safety and well-being as a priority.
3800+ incidents of hate, harassment, or racism have already been reported against Asian and Asian American individuals. Please visit the Stop AAPI Hate page to learn more, or to report an incident.