Story at a glance

  • Andrew Yang, a former Democratic presidential candidate, is running for mayor of New York City.
  • In response to the killings of eight people in Atlanta, Yang condemned anti-Asian racism.
  • The attacks highlighted the surge in anti-Asian racism and hate crimes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Make no mistake, these women were targeted on the basis of their race,” said mayoral candidate Andrew Yang in response to the killings of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, in Atlanta on Tuesday. 

“To see these six women’s lives snuffed out like this in such brutal and senseless fashion — it’s heartbreaking,” Yang told reporters, according to the New York Post. “Because if you think about these women, their lives, their hopes, their dreams, their children, their families will never see them again and why? Because of this senseless act of racially-fueled violence that has unfortunately become all too common in our country.” 


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The shootings at three Atlanta massage parlors sparked an outcry from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community following a recent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes. While local officials have not yet announced charges and said it was “too early” to determine whether the attacks met the threshold of a hate crime, police said the shooter confessed to planning the shootings and cited a “sexual addiction.” Sexism against Asian women intersects with racism in the United States, according to experts, where a history of fetishization has made the community especially vulnerable to violence.


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Yang, who is a businessman and former Democratic presidential candidate, reflected on his own experiences with racism as a native New Yorker born to Taiwanese immigrants and called out the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“I grew up Asian-American in New York and I was always accustomed to a certain level of bullying of racism, but it took a form of mockery of invisibility, of disdain, but that has metastasized to something far darker — you can feel it on the streets of New York,” he told reporters in Times Square. “I’ve been walking the streets with my family and you can sense that the energy has changed, that now what started out as invisibility or a sense of foreignness has now become hatred, violence, assault, people feeling that we do not belong in our own country or in our own streets.”


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Published on Mar 18, 2021