Today, Southborough’s Neighbors for Peace posted an announcement about events this weekend to “Rally and March Against Anti-Asian Hate Crimes and Racism”.
Two rallies are scheduled to take place on the St. Mark’s field at the corner of Main Street and Route 85. (Across the street from the Southborough Library.)
The gatherings will take place from 2:30 – 3:30 pm on Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21.
Yesterday, Neighbors for Peace teamed up with the group “Hate Has No Home” to issued a joint letter on social media and as a letter to the editor on this blog. It referenced the shootings in Atlanta and denounced hate-fueled violence.
The letter included:
Far too often when we live further away from horrific events like this, we tend to move on with our already full lives. Yet, as poet John Donne described, when a bell tolls anywhere for the loss of life, we must realize it tolls also for us, for none of us is an island by ourselves. . .
As our Jewish, Christian, and Muslim neighbors begin their celebrations of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan in the coming weeks, we keep the calls of redemption, new life, and charity in the forefront of our hearts so that we might continue to seek peace for all people.
You can read the full statement here.
Updated (3/19/21 3:33 pm): One of the organizers shared a revised flyer.
Andrew Sullivan’s media criticism adds perspective to the story. An excerpt:
When The Narrative Replaces The News: How the media grotesquely distorted the Atlanta massacres
We have yet to find any credible evidence of anti-Asian hatred or bigotry in this man’s history. Maybe we will. We can’t rule it out. But we do know that his roommates say they once asked him if he picked the spas for sex because the women were Asian. And they say he denied it, saying he thought those spas were just the safest way to have quick sex. That needs to be checked out more. But the only piece of evidence about possible anti-Asian bias points away, not toward it.
And yet. Well, you know what’s coming.
Accompanying one original piece on the known facts, the NYT ran nine — nine! — separate stories about the incident as part of the narrative that this was an anti-Asian hate crime, fueled by white supremacy and/or misogyny. Not to be outdone, the WaPo ran sixteen separate stories on the incident as an anti–Asian white supremacist hate crime. Sixteen! One story for the facts; sixteen stories on how critical race theory would interpret the event regardless of the facts. For good measure, one of their columnists denounced reporting of law enforcement’s version of events in the newspaper, because it distracted attention from the “real” motives. Today, the NYT ran yet another full-on critical theory piece disguised as news on how these murders are proof of structural racism and sexism — because some activists say they are.
Mass killers, if they are motivated by bigotry or hate, tend to let the world know: The suspected attacker in Pittsburgh allegedly said he wanted to “kill Jews” while rampaging inside a synagogue. Police said the man charged with killing people at an El Paso Walmart told them that he was targeting “Mexicans” that day. And the man who massacred Black parishioners inside a Charleston church detailed his racist motivations at length.
This mass murderer in Atlanta actually denied any such motive, and, to repeat myself, there is no evidence for it — and that has been true from the very start. And yet, a friend forwarded me the note swiftly sent to students and faculty at Harvard, which sums up the instant view of our elite:
“Many of us woke up yesterday to the horrific news of the vicious and deadly attack in Atlanta, the latest in a wave of increasing violence targeting the Asian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander community … This violence has a history. From Chinese Exclusion to the nativist rhetoric amplified during the pandemic, anti-Asian hostility has deep roots in American culture.”
And on and on. It was almost as if they had a pre-existing script to read, whatever the facts of the case!
…The media is supposed to subject easy, convenient rush-to-judgment narratives to ruthless empirical testing. Now, for purely ideological reasons, they are rushing to promote ready-made narratives, which actually point away from the empirical facts. To run sixteen separate pieces on anti-Asian white supremacist misogynist hate based on one possibly completely unrelated incident is not journalism. It’s fanning irrational fear in the cause of ideological indoctrination. And it appears to be where all elite media is headed.
Sullivan goes on to put anti-Asian bias and associated hate crime statistics in perspective. Worth a full read at the link.
Some important context:
1. The killer targeted the Asian American women. He told the police that he blamed them as the source of temptation. And the police spokesperson speaking to the press casually, and insensitively referred to it as the killer having a bad day.
2. Asian Americans have been subjected to hateful racism and violent acts linked to that have increased.
The Washington Post on March 18th – Attacks against Asian Americans are up. It’s time to pay attention.
Some additional context.
1[a]. The killer targeted the Asian American women. He told the police that he blamed them as the source of temptation.
According to the police interviews with the suspect, the shooter said he targeted the massage parlors because he “sees these locations as temptations for him… that he wanted to eliminate.” (Video at the link below.)
That mostly Asian women work at these locations may indeed be indicative of a range of bias suffered by Asian women, including within their own communities. Limited choices about where they can work may have resulted in a disparate impact because of the target of attack. But that is not evidence that the shooter targeted Asian women for murder because of their race.
1[b]. And the police spokesperson speaking to the press casually, and insensitively referred to it as the killer having a bad day.
The Media Got It Wrong: Police Captain Didn’t Say the Atlanta Spa Killer Was Having a ‘Bad Day’
The full video shows that Jay Baker was paraphrasing what Robert Aaron Long told investigators about his motivations.
The comment struck many people as overly sympathetic toward Long, as if Baker was making excuses for someone who stands accused of killing six Asian-American women in cold blood. A 20-second video clip of Baker’s statement was shared on Twitter by Vox journalist Aaron Rupar and swiftly went viral, earning widespread condemnation. Many saw it as evidence that cops are desperate to discount the culpability of white male criminals. For instance, Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor and inventor of the term “intersectionality,” described Baker’s comments as “bone-chilling,” and castigated him for refusing to acknowledge “the misogynistic dimensions of anti-Asian racism.”
A police officer excusing Long’s actions as merely the result of him having a “bad day” would indeed be contemptible. But that’s not what Baker did. In fact, many of the people so infuriated about the quote were misled by Rupar’s edit of the video.
The full video (the relevant section starts at about 13:50) makes clear that Baker was not providing his own commentary, but rather summarizing what Long had told the investigators. The “bad day” line was proceeded by a clarification that this was Long’s own explanation, as related to the police. Baker did not endorse it.
Nor did the captain endorse Long’s statement that the killings were unrelated to racism. He makes clear he’s relaying comments from Long. “He claims that—and as the chief said this is still early—but he does claim that it was not racially motivated,” said Baker. Again, the police spokesman is telling reporters what Long said, not applying his own spin. Later, when another reporter asked about this, Baker stepped aside so that Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms could explain the efforts being undertaken to protect Asian Americans at this time of heightened concern.
It would be naive of the police—or the public, or anyone else—to accept what alleged killers say at face value. It’s similarly naive to assume that the sex and ethnicity of the victims tells us everything we need to know about the crime. The police should investigate the matter dispassionately, and relay to the public whatever information they gather. Too often, law enforcement uses such press conferences to engage in wild speculation; this was a refreshing example of the cops not doing that.
But media coverage of the “bad day” comment gave almost zero indication that it was a paraphrase of Long’s confession. The Washington Post, for instance, wrote about Baker being taken off the case and used this headline: “Captain who said spa shootings suspect had ‘bad day’ no longer a spokesman on case, official says.” The article’s introduction contains no context, and incorrectly parrots Rupar’s bad framing.
DD, “how racist” the killer who targeted 3 Asian owned businesses and killed 6 Asian Americans is, is completely besides the point. We also don’t get to tell our Asian American neighbors how they should feel in light of not just this horrific murder spree, but about the measurable increase in attacks on Asian Americans. These documented increases in hate crimes don’t include the countless undocumented transgressions undoubtedly fueled by disgusting rhetoric like “Kung Flu” which has been disgracefully adopted by many of our national leaders. Have you spoken with Asian Americans? Have you heard their stories? I’ve heard too many. I am proud of our community for showing support for our friends and neighbors. I’d much rather overcorrect in a show of support than sit silently while they fear for their safety or feel like outsiders in their own country.
DD, “how racist” the killer who targeted 3 Asian owned businesses and killed 6 Asian Americans is, is completely besides the point.
So, why did you just inject that? Criminal intent is what matters in charging a hate crime or redressing its motivation.
We also don’t get to tell our Asian American neighbors how they should feel in light of not just this horrific murder spree, but about the measurable increase in attacks on Asian Americans.
I certainly didn’t do that.
These documented increases in hate crimes don’t include the countless undocumented transgressions undoubtedly fueled by disgusting rhetoric like “Kung Flu” which has been disgracefully adopted by many of our national leaders.
For that matter, official government action, like the Biden administration summarily dropping the Dept of Justice claim against anti-Asian discrimination in college admissions. Shockingly, Harvard had used as a pretext bigoted stereotypes of Asians possessing negative “personality traits” such as lacking “likability, courage, kindness and being ‘widely respected’.”
Have you spoken with Asian Americans? Have you heard their stories? I’ve heard too many. I am proud of our community for showing support for our friends and neighbors. I’d much rather overcorrect in a show of support than sit silently while they fear for their safety or feel like outsiders in their own country.
I met a surprising number of Asian Americans as Republican poll watchers in NH during the last election. Chinese Americans, especially older ones, don’t have to be schooled in the parallels between the Cultural Revolution and what’s happening in this country today. Being on the receiving end they know the actual crime statistics, the official discrimination against Asian achievement in academia and the consequences of the so-called “anti-racist” Cancel Culture.
The free thinking, careful discernment and the potential political realignment within the Asian community does explain, however, the dishonesty and naked opportunism of the media and activist left in constructing a narrative that invariably seeks to puts the blame on “white supremacy” where the actual facts of anti-Asian bias are much more complex.
Dear White Liberals: Asians Aren’t Your Pawns
Dean Dairy, I couldn’t agree with you more. These places were targeted because of what they do not because of who was working there. Unfortunately, most of the “spas” have mainly Asian employees. Do you think that if there was a white American woman in the spa she would have been spared. C’mon people open your eyes. The police have said all along that it was not believed to be a racial incident and yet that is all the news is saying so everyone buys into it. It is horrible that the Asian community is experiencing this hatred, absolutely horrible. This was not a case of that hate. Let’s call a spade a spade, he was addicted to sex and was trying to get rid of the temptation of that, not specifically Asian women.
“Residsent”, that is part of the point. White American women don’t typically work in these places. He targeted THE PLACES because of the PEOPLE WHO WORK THERE who he has visited, who are Asian. And like Julie said above, over correcting on these issues isn’t going to hurt you.
The women WERE Americans.
The gunman target those places because of their business. Law enforcement agencies have REPEATEDLY stated there was no racial motivation behind the shootings.
Why do you keep buying into the FALSE reports by mainstream media (MSM)?
What has happened to the ability to use Critical Thinking Skills in this country?
I can’t find anything showing that “Law enforcement agencies have REPEATEDLY stated there was no racial motivation behind the shootings.” I have seen that police said that the killer claimed no racial motive, that he said he was a customer, and that they are investigating all possibilities. (There are many cases where killers have claimed that race played no motive when the evidence later seemed to show otherwise.)
Beth I am not sure what news outlet you are watching but the law enforcement have said this horrible crime was not racially motivated. Perhaps you just choose not to believe the truth. As Ah-mur-can stated these women were Americans and you are just choosing to believer what the news is telling you, not what the offender is stating. Not everything is racially motivated.
Actually, perhaps you can share your news source.
My source isn’t something I’m watching, it’s articles I have been reading. I found the information I previously stated – that police said that the killer claimed no racial motive, that he said he was a customer, and that they are investigating all possibilities. Although I searched the internet, I couldn’t find ones that support your narrative.
Here are some of the articles that I have read:
Can you share where you have learned otherwise?
There is a point missed here. Even if the murder spree in Atlanta itself was not racially motivated, the uptick in racially motivated attacks on Asian Americans is well documented and backed by substantial data. Some acts are small, some are serious. This is not “new”, but there has been a marked spike, and whether it’s new or not, we as a society should reject it. Racism is complex, everyone has biases. But at a time when Asian members of our community legitimately fear for their safety, or worry that their kids will be harassed or called “a virus”, I think as a community we have an obligation to stand by our neighbors, learn others’ perspectives, and work to do better.
I’m pretty dismayed to see so many comments on here which blow off the entire premise of supporting Asian members of our community and discount their fear and frustration simply because the Atlanta killer didn’t have a documented history of racism against Asians per his social media accounts or the limited information we have so far. It is besides the point and a red herring argument. Throwing in “liberalism” or “cancel culture” doesn’t make this bad argument any better, as it is neither of those things. It is Asian Americans expressing their legitimate concerns, and I’m not sure why so many are taking the time to anonymously line up here to delegitimize them.
Perhaps I’m missing a few points on all of this. I couldn’t agree more that we can not tolerate racially motivated attacks. I try to stay out of these political matters, but when it comes to my town, I can’t help but take an interest and want to have an understanding. The only data I can find pertains to an unusual disparity of Black on Asian violent crime. Other than that there is a tremendous amount of recent news (before this year) regarding discrimination practices at colleges and universities that impact people who are of Asian decent, and immigration policies that hurt people who come from Asian countries.
Can you please provide some data on the “marked spike” of attacks?
I join Julie in wondering why this post has prompted so many commenters feel the need to raise the issue. Why can’t community members simply tell their Asian neighbors something along the lines of – I’m sorry for the pain you have been enduring and I stand with you in opposing racism and related acts of violence. (Or choose not to post anything.)
That said, I previously shared a post with some context and links to research. You can check that out here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/attacks-against-asian-americans-are-up-its-time-to-pay-attention/2021/03/18/af7b556c-882a-11eb-8a8b-5cf82c3dffe4_story.html
Here is a report issued by the United Nations showing what is described as an “alarming level” of racially motivated crimes: https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25476
Here is a study by the Asian American Bar Association of New York, also showing increases in hate crimes and incidents against Asian Americans:
I found these with Google. This information is widely available and Beth already posted many relevant articles that site various studies and data points. Only adding some of the source information.
This is an example of why the Democratic party has such a tough time winning elections. You cannot keep apologizing for things that you may or may not be doing. You cannot expect everyone else to constantly apologize for something they may have done back in the 4th grade, or 2 years ago or whenever.
The assumption seems to be that all White Americans are out “to get” every member of a minority group. Then, it’s “the job” of a select few to constantly rub their noses in it.
The following two videos may help to shed some light on these subjects:
And, by the way, I know some Asian American people very well and they’ve said they do not feel afraid. They asked me why they should feel afraid.
Good luck moving on.
I don’t know why you insist on painting this as an anti-white movement pushed by liberal whites. I had written in the article that Neighbors for Peace posted the information on social media. But if you read the coverage of the event itself, you’d see that this rally was initiated by Asian Americans in our community.
So maybe you need to ask yourself why you are so offended when a group that feels it is under attack stands up to call for an end to hate. How is this hurting you and why do you feel a need to insert yourself?
It seems to me that the Democrats win more than their fair share of elections. And I’ve never understood the anti-hate movements to claim that “..all white Americans..” are guilty of hate. There is a feeling that is conveyed, imho, that many of us white Americans are either tolerant or ignorant of some of the hate that is out there and aimed at people “different’ from us. Raising our awareness level seems much needed.
Ah-mur-can, I am happy to learn that the Asian Americans you know do not feel afraid. Unfortunately, many of the Asian Americans I know DO feel afraid. Doesn’t this point to a problem that needs work, rather than continuing to deny the actual experiences of others?
Thinking in terms of left or right, conservative or liberal, democrat or republican…this seems to be the norm for how we interact with each other when it comes to these type of things. It would be more accurate to just say that there are people who demand you think a certain way are on one side while those who do not are on another side. I used to categorize my beliefs as a left leaning liberal democrat, and it becomes so much more liberating to just think for myself, ask questions, and engage in dialogue. I would rather learn and understand what is going on here.
I have some questions, and the answers I‘m getting are not helping. This goes for the messaging from the right as well. This all seems to be about ugly politics using race to divide us even further.
I did in fact try using my google machine before posting and found little other than the types of propaganda sources Julie scolded me about. (There is an assertive statement that Covid-19 originated in Europe).
I then read the Washington Post article, and more importantly the study it references. The study was somewhat enlightening. First it contained data which was all I asked for before I was “put in my place” for asking as question. The Washington Post article says in the last year that hate crimes are up 150%. They reference a study from the March 2020 – Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism which I have no reason to disagree with.
The number of incidents rose from a count of 49 to 122. That’s not good. If we take this data though, I would think the headlines in our papers would be about many other forms of hate crime that increasing. Do we only care about stopping hate when it aligns with the politics of the day?
Anyways. So I guess this is all about the virus and saying it’s from China? This caused a major uptick in hate crimes against all Asians? This is why the Atlanta shootings happened?
The former CDC Director says the Virus likely came from China. Can we at least consider that maybe it did?
One of the worst humanitarian crisis on the planed is happening in China with the Uygher genocide. Google that. How is this not the most important story in every headline in every newspaper.
China is a Communist country. China has not been transparent with anything but it seems they or the large corporations who thrive off of working with China is working hard to suppress what is going on in that country from the news.
In my opinion politics and the media created this problem we have with Asian hate. It should be ok to recognize as a country what the country of China is doing. We should reach out with open arms and support the Chinese people that are oppressed and denounce hate in any fashion within our own borders as well as around the world.
There is a message that was important to the people who organized and attended the rally to convey. It is horrible that Asian foreign nationals and Asian Americans feel discriminated towards. There is no room for any hate in our society. I applaud the people who organized and attended the rally. Hopefully their voices continue to be heard even though there is little in the news about this anymore all of the sudden.