The horrific Atlanta area shootings among other acts of violence against the AAPI community are shining a light on anti-Asian sentiment — serving as a catalyst for a national cry for change.
Now there is a surge in momentum to #StopAsianHate. Last week’s tragedy fueled the all-time high MFactor of 68.
Anti-Asian rhetoric has been trending up from the start of the pandemic — with Asian Americans left bearing blame for COVID-19.Momentum for “violence against Asians” initially spiked to an MFactor of 35 in March 2020. Discussion & debate about violence against Asians started to subside, until recent events caused the momentum to spike back up to a peak MFactor of 44 this week.
Further contributing to the surge in momentum: new data revealed over the past year that the number of anti-Asian hate incidents — which can include shunning, slurs and physical attacks — is greater than previously reported. And a disproportionate number of attacks have been directed at Asian women.
Now America has once again had enough. People are coming together to call for the end to AAPI discrimination and hate crimes.
Read on to see what it will take to sustain momentum for the #StopAsianHate movement and create lasting change.
DISRUPTION: Ending hateful behavior begins with rejecting the status quo and rejecting hateful speech and acts of violence.
- Anti-Asian bias had been in steady decline for over a decade. The trend reversed in days after a significant uptick in discriminatory coronavirus speech and ties to the Asian community. Researchers believe the language led to an increased subconscious belief that Asian Americans are “perpetual foreigners.”
- In an effort to put an end to the violence and discrimination, President Biden signed a memorandum to combat bias incidents toward Asian Americans in January 2021. The directive was signed as part of a group of racial equity-focused executive orders, memorandums, and actions. The memorandum issues guidance on how the Justice Department should respond to the heightened number of anti-Asian bias incidents.
INNOVATION: Social media is fueling the conversation for #StopAsianHate and uniting diverse communities to rally around a common cause.
Like other movements over the past year, the Stop Asian Hate movement has leveraged social media & new tech platforms to educate, share information on where to rally (like the one in Columbus Park last week), provide recommendations on where to donate, and encourage others to take action to be anti-racist.
- One key commonality between the BLM movement and the Stop Asian Hate movement is the rise of micro-influencers — prominent voices within the community are opening up about their experience. Micro influencers like Amanda Nguyễn, Liz Kleinrock, David Yi, and Michelle Kim are leading the way.
- Algorithm-driven digital protesting is a hyper-personalized way to provide people with the easy & effective tools to learn, discuss and take action.
- Sites like GoFundMe have been promoting and supporting AAPI organizations on their homepage to drive support to the affected communities.
- Resources like Hollaback are helping people learn the active tactics to effectively and strategically intervene when you see someone being verbally or physically harassed. They’re offering virtual training and bystander guides to face discrimination head on.
POLARIZATION: Debate over who’s to blame and how to fix the Anti-Asian discrimination initially drove velocity.
Upon deeper dive, we see there’s new data revealing that Asian Women have experienced disproportionately more hate crimes over the past year — Asian women report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.
Further examination of the following report shows that in many cases, the verbal harassment that women received reflected the very intersection of racism and sexism.
- Verbal harassment and shunning were the most common types of discrimination, making up 68.1 percent and 20.5 percent of the reports respectively.
- The third most common category, physical assault, made up 11.1 percent of the total incidents.
- More than a third of incidents occurred at businesses, the primary site of discrimination, while a quarter took place in public streets.
In response to speculation of where the violence stems from, Ying Ma, a conservative activist and author of the memoir “Chinese Girl in the Ghetto” says:
“A lot of Democratic national leaders, particularly the left-wing Asian-American political leaders, they constantly blamed, they’ve repeatedly blamed former President Trump for his COVID rhetoric, they’ve repeatedly blamed white supremacists for these attacks… They’ve blamed Republicans. But if you look at the two states where the highest number of attacks have come from, they’re not Republican states. These states did not vote for Trump.”
STICKINESS: New voices coming forward to share their stories will put a face to the movement and humanize the message until it becomes impossible to ignore.
There is a call to have more nuanced intentions of how to respond to racism in the Asian community. Conversations that contextualize the Asian American experience aren’t new, but they haven’t always made headlines. Now they are breaking through.
“I think, at least from my family, we have such a deep well of shame when it comes to racism and how much we don’t want to upset other members of our family, of our community by sharing what happened. I think this practice comes out of PTSD from wartime, you know, and having all of these things occur in your family’s history. And then to bring it over here looking for the American dream, for some kind of escape from all of the trauma that we experience there. And then to have this new, new terrible thing, racism, which my family experienced, such intense racism coming to San Francisco from Korea in 1964 that they’ve never discussed. And I think all of these incidents now bring up so much shame, so much heartache, so much past trauma that I’m sure this is so underreported.” -Margaret Cho
SOCIAL IMPACT: Change can be a snowball effect. The brands and organizations leading the charge by speaking out and becoming involved are amplifying the momentum by inspiring their followers & consumers to do the same.
Brands and businesses learned from the Black Lives Matter movement in June 2020 that saying nothing is not an option. The same applies to the Stop Asian Hate movement.
Brands and businesses are amplifying voices within the AAPI community and committing to new diversity practices and action.
On March 19, Estée Lauder Companies announced that it will be donating $450,000 to organizations including Asian-Americans for Equality, Stop AAPI Hate, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Other beauty brands that have addressed the issue on Instagram include Sephora, Tatcha, Hero Cosmetics, Milk Makeup, Fenty Beauty, Morphe, and Tula.
“The number of anti-Asian hate crimes has alarmingly grown since the pandemic. We also recognize that discrimination towards Asians and Pacific Islanders has been a longstanding and global issue.
Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to our mission and our commitment to fight racism in all forms. Airbnb is donating a total of $500,000 to Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Atlanta (with funds going directly to support families of the victims of last week’s violence), Center for Pan Asian Services, and GoFundMe.org’s AAPI Community Fund.
Join us in standing up to these injustices. Link in bio to learn more. #StopAsianHate”
Netflix shared a tweet from Lana Condor, the Vietnamese-born American actress who recently starred in Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved” series, in which the actress implores people to reach out to their Asian friends who might need someone to talk to. Netflix shared the statement from Condor along with the hashtag #StopAsianHate.
The NBA shared a tweet on March 17th, following the shooting in Atlanta, calling for an end to the “violence and discrimination towards Asian Americans.”
- “To our Asian community, we respect you, we are with you… Nike condemns racism. Until we all win. #StopAsianHate.”
- In the VC world, Venture capitalists are joining forces and calling on peers to match around $1 million in donations to groups fighting anti-Asian hate.
GGV Capital put out the call for action, and partners from other venture capital firms agreed to match donations.
- The support of fellow investors is important. Nearly 80% of investment partners — or people in equivalent roles — at firms in the U.S. were white and 84% were male, according to the National Venture Capital Association’s 2020 “Human Capital Survey.”
People, organizations, and companies that measure their commitment and keep themselves and their employees accountable for real change can help strengthen this momentum long term.