Updated: Feb 28
The deadly cost of racism, the weaponized words of a President, and a media's unrelenting fixation on partisan one-liners and Cancun outrage.
Anti-Asian violence isn’t new, what is, is the unavoidable fact that violence against Asians has increased since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, I knew very little about it.
The advocacy group ‘Stop AAPI Hate’ reports in excess of 2800 anti-Asian attacks since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, yet I was hearing nothing about it.
Aside from old-fashioned, deep-seated racism handed down by generational ignorance, some attribute the influx to phrases like “The China Virus” or “The Kung Flu” that were often hurled into the airwaves like rhetorical weaponry by the former administration.
I knew that there was a teacher in the town where I live that was being harassed to the point of feeling the need to purchase a gun to protect his family. I also knew that some residents of a neighborhood in Queens were being turned away from bodegas they frequented without problem before the pandemic. I had no idea what was really happening until I started seeing posts from Asian-Americans on Twitter.
Videos of a senior citizen being shoved so hard to the ground he died of his injuries. Another report of a 64-year-old grandmother being assaulted, a young girl being gang raped and murdered in a park in broad daylight, a man’s face being slashed from ear to ear on the subway and unfortunately the list goes on.
Why am I getting my news on Twitter when at the break of dawn I’m toggling back and forth between CNN and MSNBC? Hell, I even toss in some Fox News just to be fair. Where are these stories? Why does this not matter to the mainstream media?
In the United States, hate crimes targeting Asian Americans are and have been on the rise. In September of 2020, the Queens Chronicle brought to light the data from the NYPD. In the city, Anti-Asian hate crimes had risen 1900 percent. In 2019 there was one reported incident for the entire year. In 2020 there were 20 reported incidents for the first half of the year alone.
New York Magazine’s reporter Madeleine Aggeler points out that the U.N also discovered that there were 1,800 attacks against Asian-Americans between March and May of 2020 and it didn’t stop there.
Finally, last week in the wake of another horrendous attack, the Asian-American community finally had something to celebrate. Not only was an arrest made but light is finally being shed on this issue.
Thanks to actress Olivia Munn, social media and, a helpful witness who was able to capture pictures of the assailant, an arrest was made.
In this particular situation the victim, a 52-year-old Chinese woman was pushed violently to the ground on a sidewalk in front of a bakery in Queens. She hit her head causing loss of consciousness and a severe cut on her forehead that required ten stitches.
One brave witness followed the man and took a picture that was good enough to see his face clearly. Unfortunately for him, his victims’ son happened to be friends with a celebrity who took that picture to her social media feeds.
The man was quickly identified as 47-year-old Patrick Mateo, who has since been arrested and charged with second-degree harassment and third-degree assault. It’s important to note however that the crime is not being labeled as a “hate crime” and Mr. Mateo has been released with supervision, court date pending.
It may not be a full victory but if I am aware so are others and that’s a start. Because of the celebrity status of Ms. Munn, this story was all over from Good Morning America to Live: Weekends on MSNBC and the other stories were highlighted as well.
It shouldn’t take an actress to bring the news to the masses. Perhaps the media would do better by laying off the profit-centered, ratings-driven, dumpster fires-chasing 24-hour shit-take cycle you call “news” and just report on matters that are impacting people’s lives. Ted Cruz. Went to Cancun. During a statewide crisis. WE GET IT! Or shall we go over it for another week?