More Than Just ‘Hate’

Following increased reports of violence against Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., the writer Nicole Chung speaks with an organizer about the limits of the “hate crime” designation, the community data we’re missing, and much more.

One year has passed since a gunman took the lives of six Asian women and two others at spas in the Atlanta area. The shooting spurred new activism and awareness around violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. And yet reports of such violence are on the rise: One recent study found that anti-Asian hate crimes jumped more than 300 percent in the United States last year, and cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., reported dramatic increases as well. Women are disproportionately likely to be targeted.

On the anniversary of the Atlanta attack, Nicole Chung, the author of the newsletter I Have Notes, spoke with Connie Wun, Ph.D., the executive director of AAPI Women Lead. They discussed the legacy of violence against Asian and Pacific Islander women—and the resistance to it.

“There is a long history of aggression against our bodies and communities, here and abroad,” Wun told Chung. “People need to understand that we experience racial and gender violence beyond the deaths. They only see or hear about the terror when people die, but this violence is an everyday experience—and by that, I’m talking about the racism and sexism Asian women experience in corporate America, at the hands of the medical industry, on the street.”

Calling every form of this violence a “hate crime,” Wun added, “is actually a problem, because it can minimize everything else that causes the violence—as if violence is only interpersonal, something you see on the streets, something Instagrammable. Violence against us is layered and systemic.”

Last month, Chung wrote about the questions she struggles with when talking to her teenage daughter about violence against Asian women. “Should I tell you that I don’t want you to walk through the world afraid, even though I have sometimes walked through the world afraid? … Should I share the bitter truth I have learned: that many will only see or pretend to care about us after we are targeted or attacked or murdered—because, as another Asian American writer said to me last week, we are only relevant to them when we are suffering?” she asks.

“You deserve to be safe. We all deserve to be safe.”

A man wearing all black walks with a bike in the middle of a road which is surrounded with debris from the war.
Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

The news in three sentences:  

(1) Survivors emerged from the rubble of a bombed-out theater in Mariupol as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine moves into its fourth week.

(2) Experts are tracking a new wave of COVID cases in Europe, where surges have sometimes—but not always—been bellwethers for the U.S.

(3) Russia extended the detainment of WNBA star Brittney Griner through late May.

What to read for the latest on Russia’s war on Ukraine:

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a message for his Russian friends: “The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me. That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine and what is happening there.

Today’s dispatches:

In this week’s edition of Deep Shtetl, Yair Rosenberg reveals that Tucker Carlson’s go-to foreign-policy expert is a longtime purveryor of anti-Semitic ideas.

On The Experiment podcast, our hosts tell the story of the engineer who tried to build his way out of tragedy.

Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Watch HBO’s Hacks, starring Jean Smart, “a riveting study of two comics and their differences—as well as the limits of gender, age, and success,” Shirley Li writes.

Find that and more on our list of 20 perfect shows for short attention spans.

A break from the news:

Offline jerks and online jerks tend to be the same people. Here’s how to keep them from affecting your happiness.

9-Across, eight letters: Bread that’s not freshly made?

Try your hand at our daily mini crossword, available on our site, which gets more challenging through the week.

Sign up for The Good Word, a weekly newsletter in which our crossword-puzzles editor, Caleb Madison, takes a deep dive into a favorite recent clue.

Thanks for reading. This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce.

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