Leaders within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have called on members to “root out racism” a number of times over the past year, including in General Conference and at a BYU Devotional given by President Dallin H. Oaks.
Such calls began last spring and summer when protests erupted around the world following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of police. Much of the effort to combat racism and discrimination has centered on the Black community, and rightfully so, but there are other minorities being affected by racism in our country and communities as well.
The NYPD reported that anti-Asian hate crimes increased from three in 2019 to 24 in 2020. The data places these hate crimes in a category called “Other Corona,” explaining that “there are primarily two motivating factors behind those crimes: The victim’s race (Anti-Asian) and the perception that they have Coronavirus.”
The Asian community in the United States has been uniquely affected by a stereotype and false narrative that they brought the coronavirus here and they are to blame for the negative effects of the pandemic.
The recent spike in anti-Asian hate crimes caught national attention when actors Daniel Dae Kim, of “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0” fame, and Daniel Wu, from AMC’s “Into the Badlands,” offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a person who attacked a 91-year-old man on a sidewalk in Oakland’s Chinatown.
“The skyrocketing number of hate crimes against Asian Americans continues to grow, despite our repeated pleas for help,” Kim said in his tweet. “The crimes ignored and even excused.”
Police departments around the country warned residents of increased crime during the Lunar New Year festivities beginning on Feb. 12. These celebrations are more common and public in Asian communities, and cash gifts are usually exchanged among friends and family.
Racism against the Asian-American community is not widely talked about in mainstream media, despite a dark past that includes Japanese internment camps and deep-seated prejudice and discrimination for over a century. It is our duty as citizens and Church members to learn about past and current instances of racism and actively work to correct them.
To “root out racism” means to identify even the smallest of prejudices we hold and eliminate any stereotypes that may affect how we see or interact with others. It means we stand up and say something when we see racism in our schools and communities. It means recognizing we are all children of the same Heavenly Father and letting that dictate our actions.
Universe Sports Editor