Biden orders flags at half-staff after Atlanta shootings

Folks maintain a vigil in Washington, DC, for the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings on Tuesday, March 17.  Alex Wong/Getty Photos

Whereas investigators mentioned it is too early to say if the Atlanta shootings have been racially motivated, consultants and activists argue it is no coincidence that six of the eight victims have been Asian ladies. The suspect’s declare of a possible intercourse dependancy, they are saying, is rooted in a historical past of misogyny and stereotypes which can be all too acquainted for Asian and Asian American ladies.

They’re fetishized and hypersexualized. They’re seen as docile and submissive. On high of that, they’re usually working within the service sector and are topic to the identical racism that impacts Asian Individuals extra broadly.

The way in which their race intersects with their gender makes Asian and Asian American ladies uniquely susceptible to violence, mentioned Sung Yeon Choimorrow, govt director of the non-profit advocacy group Nationwide Asian Pacific American Girls’s Discussion board.

These perceptions are rooted in US historical past and depart Asian ladies economically susceptible too, and this week, these elements got here collectively in a harmful, and in the end lethal, manner.

The perceptions of Asian and Asian American ladies as submissive, hypersexual and unique might be traced again centuries. Rachel Kuo, a scholar on race and co-leader of Asian American Feminist Collective, factors to authorized and political measures all through the nation’s historical past which have formed these dangerous concepts.

One of many earliest examples comes from the Web page Act of 1875, which was enacted seemingly to limit prostitution and compelled labor. However many students have argued that in actuality, it was used systematically to stop Chinese language ladies from immigrating to the US, below the pretense that they have been prostitutes.

American service members, whereas overseas for US army actions (together with the Philippine-American Struggle, World Struggle II and the Vietnam Struggle), have a historical past of soliciting intercourse staff and patronizing industries that inspired intercourse trafficking. That furthered denigrating stereotypes of Asian ladies as sexual deviants.

These stereotypes additionally feed into perceptions of “Asian ladies as low cost and disposable staff,” Rachel Kuo, a scholar on race and co-leader of Asian American Feminist Collective, mentioned. That is made them economically susceptible, too.

Many Asian American ladies work in service industries, akin to magnificence salons, hospitality and eating places, the place they’re particularly in danger since they not solely face stigma however are additionally usually migrants, based on Esther Kao, an organizer with Purple Canary Track, a New York-based collective of Asian and Asian American advocates for therapeutic massage parlor staff and intercourse staff.

It is also necessary to notice that not all therapeutic massage companies present sexual providers, Kao mentioned. To recommend as a lot, because the suspect within the Atlanta space assaults did, is a “racist assumption,” she mentioned. “It ties particularly to the fetishization of Asian girl.”

Learn extra right here.

CNN’s Aditi Sangal contributed to this publish.

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