Arts / Faith and Humanities / People of SU

Seattle U in the News: Anti-Asian hate crimes in focus after high-profile incidents

March 18, 2021

Chair of the Seattle U Department of Social Work Hye-Kyung Kang, PhD, was interviewed by KING5 News in the aftermath of the Georgia spa killings and a study that reported hate crimes against Asian-Americans jumped 149 percent from 2019 to 2020 in 16 of America's largest cities, including Seattle.

In the KING5 story on March 17, Dr. Kang said, "All this time, and finally something like mass murder happens for people to pick notice that oh well, anti-Asian racism is real."

Here are excerpts from the story featuring Kang's comments.

The tragedy that took place at three Atlanta-area spas on Tuesday, spotlighted ongoing fear among the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

"We have unchecked, racism, colonialism, misogyny that is overflowing," said Kang.

Kang says anti-Asian rhetoric during the pandemic added fuel to a smoldering fire.

"We can't be just all of a sudden surprised when something like this happens," Kang said. 

Kang says tackling racism involves holding society accountable, and checking individual biases. 

"Put us in the center. Let us tell our own stories. Let us talk about our own complexity of Asian people, not just, you know, recycle the whole model minority narrative. Asians, Asian Americans are extremely diverse," said Kang. 

Kang suggests allies begin tearing apart the very threads that perpetuate anti-Asian racism.

"Be willing to grapple with the presence of Asian Americans in this country that grappled with the forces of racism, that, that constantly tried to erase us," said Kang.