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Anti-Asian hate crimes, George Floyd trial: The world is watching how we handle racism

Anti-Asian hate crimes, George Floyd trial: The world is watching how we handle racism
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The brutal assault of a 65-year-old Asian American woman in New York with three male onlookers doing nothing to assist the victim, captured on video, is the latest in a proliferation of assaults against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The brutality of the attack, with the assailant shouting “You don’t belong here!” as he stomped on the woman’s face, spouting anti-Asian slurs, should be a wake-up call that more must be done to address this grave injustice.

Fortunately, the assailant in New York was arrested, and the city, with almost 4,000 incidents of hate crimes reported nationwide since March 2020, is taking steps to increase policing in Asian communities.

On March 30, President BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE addressed the rising racism in the U.S. against Asian Americans, with plans to provide greater accessibility to hate crime data, requiring new training for local police to address hate crimes, and almost $50 million in grants to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who have language barriers. Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBudget tasks DOJ with turnaround of policing, voting rights, hate crimes Progressive group ramps up pressure on Justice Breyer to retire The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE announced that the Justice Department will conduct a 30-day internal review on steps Justice can take to improve the tracking and prosecution of hate crimes against people of Asian descent in the U.S.

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President H.W. Bush signed a 1990 law requiring the Justice Department to track hate crimes in the U.S. on a yearly basis, with results from more than 18,000 local law enforcement agencies. The FBI reported that, in 2019, there were more than 7,000 hate crimes in the U.S., the most in a decade

Our leaders at the federal, state and local levels have a responsibility to do more to counter this escalation in crimes against Asian Americans. Actions taken by President Biden and states like New York are necessary first steps in addressing this recent surge in overt acts of racism.

Historically, systemic racism against Asian Americans has been part of the American narrative. The Chinese Exclusion Action of 1882, the internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II, and the beating death of Vincent Chin in 1982 by two autoworkers obsessed with the success of the Japanese auto industry are just a few of the examples of racism toward Asian Americans in the U.S. This is part of our history, and it is important that textbooks continue to present it accurately for future generations of students.

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly has contributed to the recent surge in crimes against Asian Americans. Words from our leaders have consequences, and statements from former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to move ahead with billion UAE weapons sale approved by Trump Fox News hires high-profile defense team in Dominion defamation lawsuit Associate indicted in Gaetz scandal cooperating with DOJ: report MORE calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” or the “kung flu” apparently gave license to those who, for whatever reason, wanted to exclude or attack people of Asian ancestry.

The George Floyd trial and the spike in Asian American hate crimes are being watched closely by the international community. All countries, especially China, are watching and commenting on these and related issues involving crimes against Asian Americans and African Americans. What China and many of these countries fail to mention to their citizens is that there is total transparency in the U.S. on these and other issues dealing with racism and crime, with a free and open press and a Justice Department working to ensure that all federal, state and local authorities are implementing laws and regulations dealing with racism in America. Indeed, this should be the model for China and other critics to emulate. It is the strength of our republic, with a Constitution that protects the inalienable rights of all people in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Yes, there is more we must do, especially now, to address racism in America. Our officials must be held to account for how quickly and thoroughly they manage these issues. Fortunately, after the recent proliferation of hate crimes against Asian Americans, there is an urgency to stop this hate and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Joseph R. DeTrani was the former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, the former director of the National Counterproliferation Center, and a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency. The views expressed here are the author’s and do not imply endorsement of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or any other U.S. government agency.