Hate crimes against Asians impacts Redhawks


A woman spit at in her own garage.

An elderly man being sucker-punched on the street.

Another woman being pulled by her hair on a public bus.

The common denominator: each of these victims are Asian, with the number of hate crimes against Asians rising across America.

The surge in recent Asian hate crimes is extremely heartbreaking,”

— teacher JoAnn Leung

One of the most recent Asian hate crimes to gain national attention occurred on March 16, when three mass shootings occurred at spas in the Atlanta area, leaving eight people dead, six of them Asian women. Initially the police failed to recognize these shootings as racially motivated, and the police have noted that the gunman’s motive for the rampage was that he was having a bad day.

According to data from the NYPD, hate crimes against Asians, especially East and Southeastern Asians have skyrocketed by 1900% recently.

With approximately 32% of Frisco ISD students of Asian descent, the numbers, and stories behind East and Southeastern Asian hate crimes are impacting students, and staff, on campus.

“The surge in recent Asian hate crimes is extremely heartbreaking,” teacher JoAnn Leung said. “Every time I read about another incident, it brings me so much pain. I can’t make sense of all unprovoked acts of violence against Asians.”

With 3800 hate crimes occurring in the last year, people have very different reactions. While some are sad and confused, others are angry and sickened.

“Honestly, I’m extremely disappointed and disgusted that people are committing these hate crimes against the Asian-American and Pacific-Islander community, and especially because they are attacking our elders, who are the least likely to fight back,” sophomore Sherry Hu said. “I think it’s despicable people act on their feeling of hate to assault and murder people, especially when it’s based on race.”

This is happening because ever since the pandemic started, and the fact that COVID originated from China, we’ve been bad-mouthed and deemed the scapegoat for “causing” this virus,”

— junior Emily Santoso

These events have struck fear within the Asian community and have led many people to be more careful and observant during their everyday lives.

“I am scared for my family, friends, and myself as well,” teacher Victoria Lien said. “When I am out alone, I am more wary and try to be more observant of my surroundings, not only as a woman but as an Asian woman.”

This has also caused many, such as freshman Erin Ryu, to protect their loved ones and change their routine.

“A couple of days ago we had to tell my grandparents and my 13-year-old brother to not walk around at night,” Ryu said. “Even though it’s unlikely to happen in Frisco, we never know, especially with elders.”

However, this is not new.

Many Asian students have been faced with harsh stereotypes and comments about their race.

“In elementary school, I’ve always wondered why I wasn’t born white and if my life would be different. Would people look at me differently? Would they act differently? Would they like me more,” junior Emily Santoso said. “I remember my classmates would always pull back their eyes and make a funny accent whenever they wanted to joke around and I never realized that was racist until I got older. I hated being called “exotic” or “oriental” because that’s an inaccurate description of who we are.”

Even though FISD is a diverse school district, at least one Asian student says she has been subjected to stereotypes.

“I remember when news first broke out about COVID I was absent from school for a few days with strep and when I returned, a classmate asked if I had COVID, simply because I’m Chinese,” Hu said. “Other people would tell me “Oh, you’re only smart because you’re Asian”, or just straight-up call me “ching-chong” and pull their eyes back at me. People make fun of our eyes, food, accents, language, and don’t realize it’s incredibly hurtful and damaging, especially when you’ve been hearing this stuff ever since you were in elementary school.”

Asian racism doesn’t just stop at microaggressions according to sophomore Jayna Yoon.

“I’ve been harassed because of my ethnicity while walking outside several times,” Yoon said. “One time shortly after COVID started, someone even put dog poop in our mailbox,”

But it’s not just students that have experienced racist taunts. Biology teacher Chris Ham, faced a language barrier when he first moved to the United States.

“When I first came to America, [from Korea] I didn’t speak the language and had any cultural knowledge,” Ham said. “I experienced a lot of bullying.”

Since the recent rise of hate crimes, media attention has put a spotlight on Asian-American violence and the legacy of racism in America.

“America has a long history of oppression, to all groups of minorities. People are quick to say, ‘Oh, this is so out of the blue! I’ve never heard of people hating Asians!’’’ Hu said. “Well, America ratified many anti-Asian laws in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries- including the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment camps, etc. If you look at propaganda from those time periods, the caricatures are extremely derogatory and racist- which has carried over to today.”

Students such as Kim believe that this past has led to people being ignorant and unaware of Asian racism.

“I think the reason that Asian crimes continue to happen is because of ignorance. Similar to what Eric Nam said in his CNN interview, I really do believe that there has been a lot of discrimination against Asians that just hasn’t been brought up to the surface,” Kim said. “Along with many instances where their ignorance about the Asian culture and the stereotypes have hurt many Asians with or without realizing it.”

“I think the reason that Asian crimes continue to happen is because of ignorance,”

Along with America’s history, many students also think that recent events such as COVID-19 have increased Asian hate crimes.

“This is happening because ever since the pandemic started, and the fact that COVID originated from China, we’ve been bad-mouthed and deemed the scapegoat for “causing” this virus,” Santoso said. “This is a way for people to take out their frustration and anger for the pandemic and all the problems revolving around it.”

Yoon and Hu also believe that political statements have contributed to the influx of hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

“I think a lot of this is happening because of the COVID pandemic and especially believe that certain politicians have greatly contributed to creating a hostile America for Asian Americans to live in,” Yoon said.

“On top of that, Trump’s remarks about COVID being the ‘China Virus’ definitely helped fueled anti-Asian sentiments,” Hu said.

Anybody who disregards the Asian narrative and the racism any minority faces is part of the problem according to Leung.

“It’s past the time to be silent. We need voices and we need people to be aware. Stand up for your brothers and sisters, no matter the color,” Leung said. “I’m reminded of the Asian woman whose head was stomped on in Atlanta. There were bystanders that did not help. This makes me angry because if you are not directly doing something about the racist acts you witness, you are part of the problem.”

When someone says that they have experienced racism or hate, please don’t say that it doesn’t exist because you haven’t seen it; doing that dismisses our truth and our lived experiences,”

— teacher Victoria Lien

Hu thinks it’s ironic how people choose to take part in Asian culture, including listening to K-Pop, watching anime, enjoying Asian food, and still not raise awareness on the Stop Asian Hate movement. Despite whether or not you’re Asian or enjoy the culture, Hu believes that it’s common courtesy to speak up on violence toward any minority.

“If you indulge in Asian culture at all, you need to be actively spreading awareness about these hate crimes by donating to AAPI protection funds and actively taking steps in your community to speak up and educate yourself others to help prevent hate crimes like these,” Hu said. “Read articles on the history of anti-Asian racism in America to gain a better understanding as to why these things are happening. Even if you don’t partake in Asian culture, be a decent human being and do the same thing because hate crimes shouldn’t be a thing people ignore.”

Bringing more attention and staying educated and understanding towards the Asian narrative can also be extremely helpful according to Lien.

“Uplift our stories and believe our viewpoints too,” Lien said. “When someone says that they have experienced racism or hate, please don’t say that it doesn’t exist because you haven’t seen it; doing that dismisses our truth and our lived experiences.”