This article is part of a series called “The Trauma of Racism,” where we highlight the effects racism can have on minority populations.
As a student originally from Vietnam, Marist College junior Dakota Le has had nothing but positive experiences coming to the United States, which is why the onslaught of attacks against Asian Americans have been heartbreaking for her.
“I would say it’s been a stressful and a horrible time,” she said, “especially when we’re being attacked for the basis of our identity, it’s traumatizing.”
Le was also taken aback by the Atlanta shooting, particularly with the alleged targeting of female employees at massage parlors.
“There are so many countries and culture within ourselves, and we’re all being grouped in this one specific tier where we’re the subject and victims of hate violence,” she said.
Still, as president of the Asian Student Alliance, Le has been working to bring a voice to these attacks.
“I want everyone to represent the countries they come from and just show their pride for their countries,” she said.
Le has found that the Marist community has generally been responsive to these ongoing hate incidents, but feels more should be done.
‘I definitely do feel like there are a sense of support in the Marist community,” she said, “but I want to see disappointment go towards taking actions.”
She blames the political climate that emerged before the 2020 election for this rise in anti-Asian hate incidents.
Former president Trump was known for referring to the COVID-19 virus as the “China virus” or the “Kung Flu.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has also been blamed by Democratic members of the House of Representatives for stoking anti-Asian bias by using similar language.
Yet, there was a 150 percent uptick within the last year of reported anti-Asian hate incidents.
Le specifically calls out the former president for stoking this hate within her community, stating that even the World Health Organization does not advise calling viruses by their country of origin.
“He’s the president of the country at that time. He has a lot of influence, especially on social media,” she said. “It’s perpetuating this idea into his supporters, and everyone else saying that it’s acceptable to call it the Chinese flu, but it’s obviously not.”
Among her generation, Le feels that barriers are being broken when it comes to how younger people in her community are speaking out about anti-Asian violence. She believes that the stereotypes of Asians being quiet and submissive are being dismissed by her age group during this time.
“We were taught to just endure everything. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, in a sense,” she said. “At the same time, especially in the US, which is supposed to be a sort of melting pot, we can’t just endure it. We have to vocalize it, make it known that these things are happening to us, because it’s not supposed to be normalized.”