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How to Truly Stop Asian Hate

Updated: Feb 18

“Stop Asian Hate.” I take issue with merely saying that slogan.

I do not believe that it is somehow a “radical” demand, or that it is reverse racist, or that it makes non-Asians uncomfortable. My problem with “#StopAsianHate” is that it only focuses on the symptoms and ignores the root causes of the issue. It’s basically a command to individuals, not society, to stop the hate.

The mass shooting which killed eight people in Georgia left Asian-Americans in shock at how far the hatred had gone. Some protested, demanding an end to this hate. US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the hate on the podium and signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a law that pledges to address the increase in hate against Asian Americans.

Despite these efforts, the amount of hate crimes have almost tripled since the pandemic began. Stop AAPI Hate’s tally of incidents grew from 2,800 at the end of last year, to 3,800 after the Georgia shooting happened, to 6,600 in May and then 9,000 in August. In some places, hate crimes increased by twenty times. Clearly, shouting “Stop Asian Hate” is not enough.

Stop Asian Hate: What’s causing anti-Asian hate? “Yellow peril”


Though it seems that America is a welcoming place for immigrants, history shows otherwise. Irish immigrants came to the US to escape the potato famine of 1845-1862 and economic opportunites, but instead of acceptance, there was discrimination. “No Irish need apply” appeared in newspapers, in advertisements, and more. Italian immigrants arrived in the US for similar opportunities only to receive name-callings and lynching.

Asians, mainly Chinese, also immigrated to the United States for a similar reason to escape opium addiction and the hardships in China as a result of lost wars and colonialism. As Asians took jobs in various fields, earning a living for themselves and their families back home, non-Asians feared that “the Asian ‘horde’ [was] coming for their jobs.” The sentiment eventually evolved into the yellow peril.

Asian Americans were portrayed as this “threat” that needed to be stopped. Pamphlets raving against Asian Americans were published in droves, decrying them as an “evil menace” and a bunch of “filthy yellow hordes.” People blamed their so-called “backward cultures” for whatever problems Asians might have exhibited and labelled them as “lazy and entitled” and “job thieves coming for our livelihoods.” Horace Greeley, an orator, even raved, “The Chinese are uncivilized, unclean, and filthy beyond all conception without any of the higher domestic or social relations; lustful and sensual in their dispositions; every female is a prostitute of the basest order.”

In the 1870s, America went through an economic depression. Many Americans sought a scapegoat to blame for this downturn and the loss of jobs. They found a viable one: Asians immigrating to America.

Front cover of pamphlet, “Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion; American Manhood against Asiatic Coolieism: Which Shall Survive?” published in 1901 by the American Federation of Labor. The American Federation of Labor, now AFL-CIO, represents labor unions across the United States. Pamphlets like this “justified” the need for Chinese exclusion.

This sentiment led to laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigrants from entering the US or becoming citizens. It was the only such law that banned immigrants on the basis of ethnicity or nationality. The laws were passed despite China’s despair brought by colonialism. These tropes continued to persist, even today.

In early 2020 when China detected the first coronavirus cases in Wuhan at the Huanan Seafood Market, some