We are enraged and saddened by a White man’s murder of women, six of Asian descent. Their names are Daoyou Feng, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon C. Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong A. Yue.
Racism and violence against Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders began long before the pandemic, and has roots in the 1875 Page Act, an anti-immigration law that targeted Asian women; the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; and the internment of more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. President Biden’s predecessor deliberately stoked anti-Chinese xenophobia, and the results have been catastrophic for Americans of Asian descent.
A police officer in the Atlanta case was quoted as saying about the murderer: “He was pretty much fed up and had been kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.” The news media’s uncritical, exculpatory coverage of the police officer’s explanation made it seem as if it’s normal for a White man to murder women of color when he’s having a rough day. In addition, the “rationale” that the killer was a “sex addict” deflects the racism and misogyny, and reinforces the meme of Asian women as “exotic sexual objects” particularly for White men.
The media’s normalization of violence perpetrated by White men against women and members of historically marginalized groups can never be accepted. We mourn the senseless loss of life in Atlanta, and the 150 percent increase in assaults against Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in the US over the past year. We condemn the White supremacist system that allows White people to perpetrate violence and to be excused from responsibility for that violence.
We support our Asian American/Pacific Islander friends and neighbors, and will redouble our efforts to dismantle racism and White supremacy in our society so that we can participate in repairing the country's broken bonds of human community.
A WPCR co-facilitator drafted this statement for another racial justice group and we adapted it for WPCR because it reflects our values.