By Gared Wong
FRAMINGHAM – Growing up, I remember my father telling me about all these racist attacks towards Asian Americans throughout history. I remembered not caring or believing that these incidents really happened. Like many others, I fell victim to the ideologies associated with the model minority myth. This is the myth that erases the hardships of the AAPI community, the myth that divides and silences POC (People of Color) and the myth used to disregard the need for change in the American economic and political systems. It was not until I educated myself on the history of my community, that I discovered the lies hidden within this myth. I would like to make it clear that these racist ideologies combined with the dangerous rhetoric used by the former president were bound to create this current mass of hate towards Asian Americans.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have been increasing throughout the United States due to fear and Anti-Asian rhetoric stemming from the Coronavirus. According to Stop AAPI Hate, 3,800+ Anti-Asian hate crimes were recorded, with numbers still increasing.
On March 17, six Asian women were shot in the Atlanta area. In Boston alone, Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 133%. It is also important to note that although we have seen an increase in hate crimes, Anti-Asian hate crimes are NOT new. Racism and hatred towards Asian Americans has occurred in the United States since the first Asian Americans arrived in this country.
For too long I, as well as many people in my community have felt invisible, helpless, forgotten and alone. Racism towards Asian Americans has been and continues to be normalized. These hate crimes and the normalization of racism MUST stop before others get hurt.
The AAPI community like all Americans deserve to live a life of comfort, safety and happiness. But instead targets have been put on our backs. Now we live in a life of fear, anxiety and hopelessness. We are Americans and we deserve to feel like Americans.
I urge all of you here to make change and make it now. If we do not address this issue right away, it will get worse. Racism and hatred will continue to spread and I assure you, it will spread rapidly. After hundreds of years of racism, correcting injustices will always be a challenging battle, but with unity, education and consistent effort, it can get better
Gared Wong is a junior at Framingham High School. He is president of the Asian Student Association, a student organization at that was founded to advocate and raise awareness for the normalized racism and xenophobia against the AAPI community.