SSN Commentary

No, We Can’t ‘Go Back’ to Asia

Policy field

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University of Massachusetts-Boston

Originally published as "No, We Can’t ‘Go Back’ to Asia," The Progressive, April 9, 2021.

The brutal, random attack on a 65-year-old Filipino woman on the streets of New York City has drawn strong condemnation, not only for its sheer violence but because security guards nearby watched without intervening. The assailant, later apprehended, yelled “You don’t belong here!,” along with racial slurs, in the March 29 attack. 

Hate crimes against Asian Americans skyrocketed by 150% in major U.S. cities last year. Asian Americans are being treated as foreigners and blamed for causing the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, this was just the latest addition to a long list of incidents targeting those assumed to be Chinese in the wake of COVID-19, which former President Donald Trump and others blamed on China, using racially charged terms like “China virus” and “kung flu.”