Michigan Coalition for Human Rights Statement on the Rising Hate Incidents among the Asian Community

Posted March 30th, 2021  |  Statements

The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community amid rising hate incidents and is committed to holding those responsible accountable. The AAPI peoples have been living in the United States for more than 160 years and have long been the target of racial animus and violence.

One of the most infamous acts of anti-Asian violence in last century occurred here in Detroit in 1982 with the brutal murder of Vincent Chin. As a direct result of the anti-Asian racist rhetoric coming from former President Trump since the beginning of the pandemic, these acts of racial hatred toward all Asian people have spiked 150 percent. These incidents ranged from verbal harassment and physical assault to civil-rights violations and online harassment.

The tragic shooting deaths of 8 people in Atlanta on March 16, 2021 – 6 of whom were AAPI and 7 of whom were women – is the most recent example of the multi-faceted ways in which race, gender, class, and the continued hyper-sexualization and dehumanization of Asian women led a racist white man who is blaming “sex addiction” for his motive to kill these women.

Asian American women have historically been victimized by the dual sources of violence borne of both racism and sexism, as certain men fetishize AAPI women, seeing them as submissive, exotic, and sexually available. Nearly 70% of the 3,800 hate crimes reported in 2020 were directed toward women.

While MCHR does not deny that sex addiction is a serious mental illness in this country that must be addressed, there is no denying that whatever this killer’s full range of motivations were, anti-AAPI racial hatred was indisputably at the core of how he selected his victims.

With the rise of overtly racist anti-AAPI attacks across the country – and the fact of their underreporting — it is imperative that we stand in solidarity with our Asian sisters and brothers, to call out this hateful violence for what it is: racism pure and simple.

What is needed is addressing the root cause of the violence which requires more education, more expanded civil rights protections and more restorative justice models, allowing for a more holistic approach to combating racism against Asian Americans in public streets, transit, private businesses and other settings. The only way out of the vicious cycle of violence is through deep, unrelenting, and principled inter-community solidarity.

MCHR calls on our members and coalition partners to join with us in taking the following steps:

  1. Acknowledge, amplify, and denounce the ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes. Say it in your own words. Say this is not OK. Say you condemn it. Say you believe it is wrong. Say it personally and organizationally. Make space for our pain because there is always enough space for all of us—all our pain, healing, and liberation can coexist without diminishing the other.
  2. Interrupt racism in all its forms. No form of racism is OK, in any context. When you see Asians being called “chinks” “dog-eaters” “disease spreaders” “dirty” or otherwise blamed for the violence we are experiencing—we all must take personal responsibility to shut it down. When others engage in anti-Blackness by saying “Black people are criminals,” “Black people are dangerous”—we must call that out, too. We must be principled in our anger and channel it to dismantling the real enemy: White supremacy culture that encourages and perpetuates a “divide and conquer” mindset, that leaves us all powerless and fighting each other for the scraps.
  3. Interrupt generalizations: “Your generalization of an entire community based on a few examples is harmful. There are plenty of people fighting in solidarity with Asian people right now. Do you know them?”
  4. Interrupt the active and persistent erasure of Black and Asian solidarity work. Talk about how throughout history, our solidarity work has been erased deliberately and intentionally by our education system and the media to worsen the divide. We need to amplify these examples of solidarity to heal and build trust together.
  5. Invest in community-based interventions. Rather than calling for more policing, FBI surveillance, and funneling money towards the deeply racist criminalization system that seeks to uphold White supremacy, invest time, money, and energy into creating and supporting community-based interventions that seek to keep all of us safe.

MCHR stands with the Asian American community and seeks to do the work needed to end hate and injustice for all people.