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Why is it Important to Call Recent Atlanta Spa Shooting a Hate Crime?

     Recently 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long went to three different spas and killed eight people, six out of the eight were Asian women. This crime is currently being blamed on the killer’s sexual addiction and not as a hate crime. Long (who is white) stated it was not driven by anti-Asian racism but because he wanted to remove so-called “temptation”. A news outlet recently reported that Long shouted “I want to kill all Asians” as he fired at the victims but it has not been confirmed so far. Taylor Bayless was the former roommate of Aaron Long and stated Long relapsed on his sex addiction by visiting a massage parlor to have sex with an employee. However, it is important to point out there has been no indication of any of the victims being sex workers and not all Asian women who work at massage parlors are sex workers.

         Captain Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office held a press conference where he stated “He (Long) was pretty much fed up and had been, kind of, at the end of his rope. And yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.” I’m not sure about you, Captain Baker, but when I have a bad day I don’t purchase a gun and decide to kill multiple innocent civilians. Not to mention a number of people have claimed Captain Jay Baker allegedly in 2020 posted a photo on Facebook of a shirt stating “Covid-19 imported virus from Chy-na” and captioned it “Place your order while they last”.  

            It’s imperative that this tragic crime does not get dismissed as someone “having a bad day” but someone intentionally selected these targets as his victims because of their race. With the rising attacks against the AAPI community we can’t make progress until we acknowledge the hatred and the xenophobia that is fueling all these hate crimes. Calling this tragic event anything other than a hate crime only damages the already vulnerable Asian community because prior to this many already felt “unseen, unsafe, and alone” (@Asianfeed on Instagram). Long’s sexual addiction was driven by the hypersexualization and fetishization of Asian women which has been portrayed for decades by Hollywood. Asian women in several roles over the years have been viewed as nothing more than submissive sexual objects, which is why Asian women are reported to be three times as likely to be a victim of a hate crime because they are “easy targets”. Soon Park (74), Hyun J. Grant (51), Suncha Kim (69), Yong Yue (63), Xiaojie Tan (49), Daoyou Feng (44), Delaina Ashley Yaun (33) and Paul Andre Michels (54) are the names and ages of all the victims of the Atlanta spa shooting. Their stories should be remembered and shared, and together we should #stopasianhate.

Tiffany is currently a full-time student at SUNY Buffalo majoring in biological sciences. She loves to travel, cook, paint, and go on adventures. She aspires to be a doctor one day and make the world a better place.
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