“White supremacy and hate are haunting Asian Americans,” the CNN headline screamed, leaving an almost unbearable ringing in my ears. As the husband of an immigrant Filipino American and father of two beloved biracial children, I couldn’t ignore the message. And so I read more.
The article had appeared in the wake of last week’s heinous murder of eight people—including six Asian women—at three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. Which itself had occurred the same day that Stop AAPI, a national coalition combatting discrimination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, reported nearly 3,800 incidents of hate against Americans of those ethnicities from March 2020, through last month.
“The face of hate is white,” bellowed a headline on the Op-Ed page of the Los Angeles Times. And a popular digital magazine published an article by a contributing New York Times opinion writer characterizing whiteness as a “public health crisis.”
All of which made me literally cringe for my race.
Then other facts emerged. The FBI reported it had found no evidence of a racial motive in the Atlanta killings. Instead, investigators said, the white suspect told them he was a sex addict and regular massage customer bent on “eliminating” the source of his temptation. And writing for The Spectator, a retired economics professor analyzed FBI statistics to reach a startling conclusion; that black men age 18-44 are 40% more likely than their white counterparts to engage in hate crimes against Asians. Even more troubling, he wrote, they are 94% more likely to physically assault victims as opposed to merely destroying or vandalizing their property.
“Unfortunately,” author Robert Cherry wrote, “social justice advocates rationalize away these and other anti-social behaviors.”
Indeed, those same social justice advocates wasted no time in rationalizing away any motives for the Atlanta killings other than white supremacy. Despite what the suspect may have said, they argued, his racism had obviously expressed itself as a sexual fetish for Asian women. And statistics be damned; what’s happening to Asians Americans, they maintained, is a natural consequence of centuries of white supremacy originating in the days of American colonialism.
I can’t prove with any authority that either of those claims is untrue. What has struck me increasingly, however, is the extent to which political considerations have motivated them. Specifically, the narrative—put forth by far-left Democrats and supported by mainstream media—that the upsurge in anti-Asian violence stems from former President Trump’s dubbing of Covid-19 as the “China virus” and, more broadly, from a systemically racist country in which ethnic minorities suffer more than achieve.
One problem with that narrative, of course, is that Asian Americans as a group are markedly more successful than whites. And that millions of them worldwide—and many other ethnicities as well—aspire to emigrate to this allegedly racist country because they still see it as laden with opportunities that they are free to explore.
That said, however, anti-Asian bias is a genuine issue; one that political hypocrisy ought neither inflate nor revise. A recent article in The Libertarian Republic expressed that idea exceedingly well under the title “Dear White Liberals: Asians Aren’t Your Pawns.”
In the piece, a young Asian American identified as K. Lee describes the recent conversation his brother had with a white friend who called to express concern regarding all the anti-Asian violence supposedly inspired by Trump’s “China virus” rhetoric. “My brother got irritated,” Lee writes. “He asked the dude, ‘what’s Trump got to do with the Georgia shootings, and where was this phone call last year?’”
The friend replied he hadn’t known about the violence last year.
“Of course not,” Lee’s brother said, “because no one besides us Asians cared. But now that you see the perp is a white male from the South, you care. You have to make this about YOU making a political statement rather than really caring about us Asian Americans.”
White liberals, of course, aren’t the only ones who failed to grasp the full scope of the problem. Yesterday, I couldn’t resist asking my lovely dark-skinned wife a question I incomprehensibly had never asked her before. “Have you ever experienced hatred because of your race?” I wanted to know. “Have you ever felt threatened?”
Thankfully not, she replied. But what she experiences regularly are Americans of all ethnic stripes questioning her competence. “Do you understand?” people ask her way more often than they should.
I pray that’s as bad as it ever gets. And that one day even that racial cloud will disappear.
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David Haldane’s latest book, a short-story collection called “Jenny on the Street,” is available on Amazon. A former Los Angeles Times staff writer, he is an award-winning author, journalist, and broadcaster currently dividing his time between homes in Joshua Tree, California, and Northern Mindanao, Philippines.
Originally published in Mindanao Gold Star Daily