NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 20: Protestors hold signs that read “hate is a virus” and “stop Asian hate” at the End The Violence Towards Asians rally in Washington Square Park on February 20, 2021 in New York City. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, violence towards Asian Americans has increased at a much higher rate than previous years. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) reported a 1,900% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

This week eight people, six of whom are Asian women, were murdered. There is speculation about the killer’s motives but I don’t really care about any of that. No matter what his motives were, it’s clear that he targeted these women based on their race and gender. These were hate crimes.

Racism against Asian’s has always existed in America. Off the top of my head I can think of the LA riots where Korean stores were targeted, a young Mark Wahlberg’s racist attack of two Vietnamese men (among other hate crimes), the 100-year history of racist portrayals in American media, Japanese internment camps during WWII, the treatment of Chinese workers building the transcontinental railroad–the list is long.

The start of the Coronavirus pandemic pushed this racism to new heights, led by our former President Trump. His rhetoric has led to a dramatic increase in hate crimes against Asian people. The racism inherent in our country is constantly searching for a reason to act violently. It doesn’t take much–perhaps just a stupid, false nickname for a disease–and hateful people will perform hateful acts.

I married a Vietnamese woman. Our child is half-Vietnamese. It breaks my heart to see her sadness at these attacks and it angers me to feel her fear that it might be her or our son someday. Her fears are warranted. While my whiteness protects her when we’re out together, she’s had racist things said to her while out alone. No one should have to deal with that.

Those of us that aren’t racist, that don’t hold so much hate in ourselves, need to be better. I believe that’s the majority of us. We need to step up to protect those that are targeted for their race or gender. We need to shout down people who repeat the despicable rhetoric so many of our politicians now spit. We need to make this country safe for everyone.