How to Turn AAPI Hate Into Action Against Injustice in Three Steps

There have been a lot of shootings this year. Unfortunately, that’s no surprise.

But how are we supposed to deal with this? Where’s the sweet spot between not caring, over-worrying, and caring enough to passionately act against injustice? How do those all fit together? What’s the best way to react to these types of events?

A common and totally justified feeling that might initially spring up for a lot of us is anger. Anger at the wrongs committed not just to those in Boulder this last Monday or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, but anger at the people that have “gotten away” with injustice in our personal lives. Anger at all the innocent people that are even now getting crushed by the system.

But not all anger is bad. 

In fact, there are two key ways to respond to anger. One that will build up hurt and might even replicate what caused that anger in the first place. And another that will facilitate passionate action and teamwork against injustice. A type of anger we can work to cultivate that turns into unbitter passion against injustice. 

So how do we use our anger instead of letting it use us?

  1. 1. Step 1: Restrain our anger.

    Woman meditates with her eyes closed

    Let’s be clear: restraining our anger and denying it are two different things.

    Denying your anger is incredibly unhealthy, but restraining it will help everyone in the situation including you. Studies like these and my personal experience have really shown me that venting your anger in violent or impulsive ways actually grows it, which is crazy, but so important.

  2. 2. Step 2: Talk and think about it.

    After we restrain our initial impulses to express that anger in unhealthy ways, we can have the cleared space of mind to express it in healthy ways like conversation. 

    It’s so tempting after a bit of cool down to think we’re calm again. But don’t jump straight into activism or posting anything on social media yet! I’d highly recommend talking to trusted people in your life (especially those that may be able to relate, like other Asian Americans, activists, or people that care about the cause) before taking any action. 

    At this point, we might be calmer than we were, but there are likely wiser ways we can take action in raising awareness about AAPI and other forms of injustice.

  3. 3. Step 3: Take action against what caused your anger.

    people standing on street during daytime with protest signs

    We can’t sit on our hands forever! How we choose to respond to AAPI racism and other acts of injustice will be personal, and that’s awesome! See how you can harness your particular strengths, weaknesses, and experiences for the causes that matter to you. 

    Here are a few places to start if you’re not sure where to go from here: 

    Donate to organizations run by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

    Contribute to crowdfunds for those six particular victims of the Atlanta shooting.

    Share your own story.

    Don’t support racist jokes/comments or terms for COVID-19. 

    Help "Unmask the Racism" by folding origami paper cranes for their 1000 Paper Cranes Project.

These issues might seem overwhelming and it’s easy to get apathetic or choose the side of ignorant bliss, but a beautiful thing that has come out of all of this hurt is seeing all of us really step up and work together on this. Whether that’s refusing to laugh at a joke or leading a movement, thank you for what you do.