Steph Cha on the Atlanta Shootings

Steph Cha: The Atlanta shooting is another reminder the cops are not our friends

By Steph Cha

Something shifted when three Asian-owned spas were shot up in Metro Atlanta on Tuesday night: A white man became the face of anti-Asian violence in America.

Less than a day later, after months of drumming up support by decrying anti-Asian hate crime, American law enforcement gave the game away once again. A white man had targeted Asian spas, killed eight people, six of them Asian women, and the police refused to recognize a racist motive.

Asian Americans have suffered an onslaught of harassment and hatred and violence since the beginning of the pandemic. Stop AAPI Hate, a tracking center for these incidents, recorded almost 3,800 firsthand accounts between March 2020 and February, the majority of them reported by women. There are no good data on the races of the perpetrators — presumably, with these numbers, they come from all kinds of backgrounds — but before Tuesday’s killings, some of the most publicized incidents involved Black assailants and elderly Asian victims. Mug shots and surveillance videos went viral, stoking old, unresolved tensions between Black and Asian Americans. Calls for ending anti-Asian hate sometimes mingled with anti-Black dog whistles and demands for increased policing. In this atmosphere, bolstered by a heightened fear of Black people, police departments were unequivocal in their condemnation of the violence. They expressed their concern to the media; they assembled task forces to fight anti-Asian hate crime. Read the full story at the L.A. Times.

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