Hate Reaches Rural Virginia


provided by Victoria Pickering on Flickr

In our community, students and businesses are dealing with hate crimes every day.

Across America, hate crimes against Asian Americans are on the rise. In Virginia, it is no different. “The Asian community is a victim of harassment and crime. Everyone knows about it,” said Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce Executive My Lan Tran.
Racism in rural Virginia has existed, as it has across the country, but “racism is worse in this area after COVID-19…We’re the 1 percent in Warrenton. What are we going to do about it?” said Sam Zhang, daughter of the owners of Mandarin Buffet and Top’s China.
Hate crimes against Asian Americans rose 150 percent in 16 cities across the United States according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. During the pandemic, 3,800 racist incidents towards Asian Americans were reported to Stop AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) Hate, many of which were against women. “We’re afraid. It makes everyone I know afraid. We always leave in groups. As a female in the evening, I am more cautious,” said Zhang.
The pandemic is not just increasing hate, it’s hurting businesses too. According to the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce, 65 percent of small Asian-run businesses have closed down during the pandemic. “Asia is composed of 48 countries, cultures differ from country to country, but ‘honor’ is universal; this makes asking for help hard,” said Tran.
FHS students feel racism and a pressure to not say anything too. An anonymous senior said, “In highschool, I have experienced racism, but I never reported any of this because my parents always wanted me to get out of trouble – no matter what kind of hate and what people said.”
“It’s mainly just people trying to mimic my eye shape with their hands; I don’t mind. I have had men hit on me at work trying to speak Chinese, Japanese and Korean to me. I think it’s bold of people to automatically assume that I speak a different language,” said senior Emma Anderson.
The same anonymous FHS senior said, “Just a few months ago, my grandma was getting hate crimed at church and work for being Asian. They called her racial slurs, saying, ‘It’s all you stupid c***** faults for this epidemic!’ Racism against Asian Americans is normalized in the U.S., but people always tend to look the other way.”

Where to report a hate crime:
https://stopaapihate.org/ – reports can be in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Khmer, Punjabi, Tagalog, Hmong, and Hindi.
https://saalt.org/policy-change/post-9-11-backlash/ – reports can be from the South Asian, Sikh, Muslim, and Arab communities.
For general information about hate crimes: