Asian Americans hate crimes rise during pandemic; Baton Rouge woman shares experiences

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The folks behind the movement, “Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate,” released new data showing more than 9,000 reports of hate towards people with Asian ethnicities since the pandemic began.

Several folks chose to quarantine when COVID-19 first hit the U.S., but how many chose to stay home because of the fear of being blamed for it? That’s what happened to Nicole Jiang.

“They just talk in front of me like, ‘Oh this is the China Virus, this is the Wuhan Virus.’ I do understand why people say so because it’s like the first outbreak is coming from China,” says Jiang.

Jiang is from China. She moved to the States for school for about seven years ago. When the pandemic hit, she wanted the news intently, worried about the virus spreading. However, a deeper fear set in when she learned of from a friend about a family being attacked while shopping in Texas, targeted because they’re Asian.

“So, she wanted to tell me be careful and don’t go out if it’s not necessary. So, all of that information coming to me, I tell myself I should hide myself better and be at home would be best,” adds Jiang.

Jiang isolated herself for several months after that incident. She says it took a while for her to feel comfortable leaving the house, but the way she got through it was the kindness of others.

“I received a lot of kind messages from American friends here, so they are trying to help me, check whether I am fine or not. What I need and they are willing to provide any help.”

Tuesday afternoon at LSU, a panel of local academics, activists, and journalists, including WAFB’s Liz Koh, held a virtual conversation about the Asian American experience with racism and its effects.

“While our cultures and experiences are distinct from Asian Americans as noted from the other commentators we have a lot in common,” says Craig Santos Perez who sat on LSU’s panel today. The conversation from today ranged from COVID, to immigration, to how people perceive one another.

Jiang says she’s grateful for conversations like this creating a safe outlet to talk about the differences in cultures, but when it comes to the pandemic she says, “Everyone is actually equal and they are in the same situation.”

She still hopes that hate crimes against Asian Americans will stop and that people who are like her can go out in public without feeling the guilt over a virus that had nothing to do with her.

LSU’s Manship School plans to host more free discussions about racism, the next discussion will be on Oct. 26.

Here is the link to view the upcoming panel discussions:

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