After eight people, six of them asian women, were shot to death this week in a massacre near Atlanta, a law enforcement official said that, in the killer’s words, their actions “were not motivated by race” but were caused by an “addiction sexual”.
Capt.Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, where one of the three is located massage businesses the shooter went to, warned that the investigation into the shootings at the three massage businesses was in its early stages. But the implication was clear: it had to be one reason or the other, it couldn’t be both.
That suggestion generated disbelief among many Asian-American women, for whom racism and sexism have always been inextricably linked. For them, racism is often presented as unwanted sexual advances and, in turn, sexual harassment is often overtly racist.
“Stop the hatred of Asians” reads the poster during a march in Washington, in response to the massacre in Georgia, Atlanta. Photo: Shuran Huang for The New York Times.
As there was an increase in the reports of anti-Asian attacks After the Donald Trump administration repeatedly emphasized China’s connection to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is evidence that much of this hatred, unlike other types of bias-motivated crimes, has been directed against women. women.
“Here people are really debating whether this was a misogynistic attack on women or a racist attack on Asians,” Jenn Fang, founder of Reappropriate, a long-standing feminist blog, wrote on Twitter. “What if… there they go…. it was both ”.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Baker also claimed that the accused shooter, who is white, had been having “a very bad day,” which many women took as yet another way to excuse the violence perpetrated against them. His comments were widely criticized, in addition, it was learned that the officer had promoted the sale of a T-shirt with an anti-Asian message.
Later the Sheriff’s Office clarified in a statement that Baker’s comments “were not intended to disrespect any of the victims” or to “express empathy or sympathy for the suspect.” But the apology wasn’t enough to dispel the feeling that the authorities were not understanding the problem.
“The forces of order and society in general usually do not understand at all how racism, hatred, and prejudice are directed against Asian-Americans and they certainly don’t understand how they target Asian American women either, ”said Helen Za, an activist and author who has studied anti-Asian violence. “So the immediate reaction is to dismiss and dismiss.”
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, an advocacy group, said that when she came to the United States in 2000 to attend college, she was “confused, dumbfounded, horrified.” because of the way unknown men used to approach her and say they love Korean women.
She said that she had experienced that with both very young and elderly men and they never seemed to understand that her attention was not flattering. “I have suffered from racism. I have suffered from sexism. But I never lived both at the same time as it has happened to me since I came to the United States. “
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the National Forum for Asian-Pacific American Women, said many Asian-American women viewed Tuesday’s shooting as the culmination of racialized misogyny. Photo: Youngrae Kim for The New York Times.
She said that many Asian American women viewed Tuesday’s massacre as the culmination of this racially tinged misogyny.
“Really, most of us didn’t get to sleep last night,” she said. “Because this is what we have always feared: that the objectification and hypersexualization of our bodies they will lead us to death ”.
Federal data suggests that, across the United States, the victims of the most violent hate crimes are men. However, a recent analysis by a group called Stop AAPI Hate, which gathers reports of hate-motivated incidents against Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, said that, of nearly 3,800 incidents recorded between 2020 and 2021, more than two thirds of the reports came from women.
It is almost certain that the number of hate crimes against Asian women is below reality and Zia argued that one of the reasons is that crimes that have a sexual dimension tend to be classified as sexual offenses, thereby neglecting the racial aspect. Also, stereotypes of Asian women as submissive may embolden bullies, she said. “They consider us vulnerable,” he said. “You know, the object that does not defend itself.”
Very little is known about the motives of the Atlanta bomber, but organizations that monitor hate crimes increasingly think that misogyny is a kind of “gateway drug” to other types of extremism, such as violent racism. This hypothesis arose from massacres in yoga studios or gyms attended by women and the 2018 murder of 10 people in Toronto by a person who described himself as an “incel,” which means involuntary celibate.
Kyeyoung Park, a professor of Anthropology and Asian-American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles campus, said that historically Asian immigrants have only been viewed from the perspective of their jobs or businesses.
In the case of the spas in georgiaShe explained that capitalism based on racial exploitation has been interspersed with the sexualization of Asian women, especially Korean women, for many decades. Police have not said whether any of the three spas had links to the sex trade.
“I think the origin of these massage parlors can be traced to Korean war brides and military wives,” Park said.
Abroad, the poverty and deprivation of war created a prostitution industry providing cheap sex to US military personnel assigned to Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, exacerbating stereotypes of Asian women as manipulative or exotic sex objects trying to hunt down American husbands.
The sexual imperialism It was not exclusive to Americans; the Japanese also forced Chinese, Filipino, and Korean women into prostitution as so-called “comfort women” in the 1930s and 1940s.
Many women in the sex trade were brought to the United States as wives, and some of them, who later separated or divorced from their husbands, opened massage parlors. This story likely contributed to the perception that all Asian-run spas are illicit and the women who work in them are sex workers, Park surmised.
The asian women fetish it has been reinforced in popular culture. A notable example is the words uttered by a sex worker in a scene from “War Face,” a movie about the Vietnam War, when two soldiers try to haggle her over the price: “I’m very hot. I have loved you for a long time ”.
Divorced from their origin, those words have become a phrase of seduction, used, in what Ellen Wu, historian at Indiana University, Bloomington campus, and author of “The Color of Success: Asian-Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority ”, qualifies as“ a type of harassing compliment specific to a race ”.
“A few words enclose a whole story in one sentence,” he said.
Jill Cowan contributed to this article.
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