I grew up with a grossly racist grandfather — he survived the Pacific War of WWII and came out of it with alcoholism and an abiding contempt for the Japanese. I heard so many racial slurs! He knew them all, and hated them. What I got out of it, though, was the stark contrast between what he said and what I knew. This was in the Pacific Northwest; I had many friends of Asian descent, I worked my way through summers in high school in the employ of Taki Nagasawa, who’s ethnicity you might guess from the name. What I learned from the experience was that my drunken grandpa was full of shit. That’s all. That when a racist starts spewing racism you should simply disbelieve everything he says.
So when Donald Trump started babbling about the “Chinese Flu” or the “Kung Flu”, what I saw was Drunk Grandpa raging from his armchair, sloshed to the gills on Budweiser. He’s wrong. I can ignore everything he says. Unfortunately, I can’t ignore the criminally moronic people who believed him, now fueling a wave of anti-Asian violence.
Asian Americans reported nearly 3,800 hate-related incidents during the pandemic, a number that experts believe to be just a fraction of the true total.
From 19 March 2020 to 28 February 2021, Asian Americans from all 50 states experienced everything ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults, from getting coughed on to getting denied services because of their ethnicity, according to a report released on Tuesday by Stop AAPI Hate, a not-for-profit coalition tracking incidents of violence, discrimination and harassment.
More than 68% of the abuse was verbal harassment or name-calling, while 11.1% was physical, the report found.
Once again, I find myself looking from my Asian-American friends to these abusive assholes, unable to comprehend how wrong they are. It’s madness. Why are you saying these outrageous untruths, why are you treating your fellow citizens with such contempt?
I haven’t even begun to plumb the depths of the hatred. Yesterday, a man deliberately walked into three Asian-American businesses and opened fire, killing 8 people, including 6 women of Asian descent. It’s a clear case of racial targeting and mass murder. They’ve caught the murderer, a scraggly-bearded 21 year old white man. We’re already hearing what a good kid he was.
Long was described as a religious person by a former classmate at Sequoyah High. The 21-year-old graduated in 2017. The classmate said Long’s dad was a pastor, and he had seemed “innocent” and “nerdy.”
“He was very innocent seeming and wouldn’t even cuss,” the classmate told The Daily Beast. “He was sorta nerdy and didn’t seem violent from what I remember. He was a hunter and his father was a youth minister or pastor. He was big into religion.”
Social media posts from the Crabapple First Baptist Church show Long and his family had a lengthy history with the church. Long’s father is not listed as a pastor at the church. The elders of the church released a statement to Heavy.com, saying they were “grieved” and “heartbroken.”
“We are grieved to hear the tragic news about the multiple deaths in the Atlanta area. We are heartbroken for all involved,” the statement said. “We grieve for the victims and their families, and we continue to pray for them. Moreover, we are distraught for the Long family and continue to pray for them as well.”
Posts indicate he attended the church with his mom, dad and his younger sister. His mother organized events at the church, like a movie night with a cotton candy machine.
He wouldn’t even cuss! But he could draw a gun and cold-bloodedly kill young women.
His mom sponsored movie nights! With a cotton candy machine! I bet the movies were all rated “G”, too. But she raised a son with a broken moral compass.
Long was also involved with the church’s Student Ministry Team as recently as 2018, according to minutes from a meeting of the elders. He was one of 11 people who served as team members, which “exists to see students receive Jesus Christ as Lord, and walk in Him, being rooted in the faith.”
The Daily Beast reported an Instagram account that “appeared to belong” to Long professed his love of God and guns.
“Pizza, guns, drums, music, family, and God. This pretty much sums up my life. It’s a pretty good life,” a tagline for the account said.
Maybe the church and his family taught him the wrong things, and failed to teach him the important things.
You know what else perpetuates the bigotry? That we know this much about the shooter, that we’ve been served up these little dollops of presumably worthy things about him — religion, cotton candy, guns, prayer, nerdy, innocent — and we know nothing about his victims, who are all faceless Asian women who worked at a spa (wink, wink), and whose lives aren’t summed up with a list of trite objects. Now they’ve been reduced to objects themselves, the murderer is the subject, the verb is “killed”. Maybe eventually they’ll send a junior reporter off to get a quick summary of their lives, but it won’t be a front page story.
I wonder if some editor is thinking now that it would be a good idea to send a young Asian woman reporter off to cover that story (and get traumatized all over again) that’ll get buried somewhere in the back of the paper, and looking over the newsroom, is dismayed to notice they haven’t hired anyone to fit that role.
They also need to find someone to rewrite the puff pieces they’ve done on the murderer, to point out that he was a hate-filled gun-waving homicidal Jesus freak from a morally bankrupt family, with no excuses.