Asian-American Community Suffers from Continuous Hate Crimes


Caroline Joung, Staff Writer

   At approximately 5 pm on March 17, a white man named Robert Aaron Long (21) was taken into custody under the shooting and murder of eight people. The shootings took place in three spas located in Atlanta, Georgia. The first spa to be hit was Young’s Asian Massage, where a total of four people were killed, one wounded. Long then traveled south of Northern Atlanta to the Gold Spa, where three more victims were killed, before making his way to the Aromatherapy Spa across the street to shoot another. After the last shooting, Long attempted to make a break for it in an hour-long car chase before being apprehended by the police. 

   Out of the eight victims, he shot, six have been identified as women of Asian descent, four of whom have been confirmed to be South Korean. The overwhelming number of Asian deaths during this tragedy has led to outrage from the Asian-American community in the US. They are angered by continuous hate crimes against Asians with little to no punishments for the criminals themselves. 

   While the majority of victims have been identified as of Asian descent, authorities have yet to confirm whether the case is being classified as a hate crime based on the information given by the suspect during an interview. The Cherokee County Police Department has released that Robert Aaron Long claimed to suffer from sex addiction and only gunned down those particular stores because they were “a temptation he wanted to eliminate”. 

   Long furthered his statement by claiming that he had no ulterior motives towards the Asian community. However, no factors have yet been ruled out as it is still early in the investigation. The public remains outraged by the disregard towards Asian hate crimes despite the overwhelming evidence aiming towards it. 

   This is by far not the first time Asian-Americans have been on the receiving end of clearly biased and racist attacks. Hate crimes aimed towards those of Asian descent have increased 150% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when former US President Donald Trump chose to identify the virus as the ‘Wuhan Virus’. Millions of Asians were made targets during this troubling time, as many people in the US justified their racist attacks and slurs toward the Asian-American community under the premise of ‘safety’ and ‘fear’. 

   The gun shooting in Atlanta stands as a clear product of the increasing oppression of and racism towards the Asian community within the past year that has now reached its boiling point leaving eight families heartbroken and thousands of Asian-Americans furious. 

   The Atlanta shooting has called for a serious change across the US, attracting major media support in the fight against Asian hate crimes across the country. Since the shooting, many Asian-Americans have taken it upon themselves to stand up for their community through sharing their experiences with racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with organizing protests against anti-Asian hate crimes. Millions have since participated in this fight, urging those outside the community to open their eyes to the clear mistreatment and unjustified abuse that has been continuing over the past year.