Sydney Mathis ‘21, Student Life Editor
Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng: these are the names of the eight men and women who were shot and killed on March 16, in Atlanta, Georgia at three different massage parlors.
The first location was Gold Spa in northeast Atlanta, then Aromatherapy spa, and finally, Young’s Asian Massage. Six out of the eight victims were of Asian descent. The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, went on a rampage to the three massage parlors across Atlanta, with the clear intent to kill.
Was this just the crude thinking of the mind? Or could it be racial bias? Since many of the mass shootings in the past month have been racially motivated, the latter theory may not be so far off. Investigators say that Long said he “had frequented massage parlors in the past, and launched these attacks as a form of vengeance” that these women did not want anything to do with him romantically or sexually.
Atlanta Police Officer, Deputy Jay Baker significantly downplayed Long’s spree and said he “had a really bad day.” This is not the first racist offense from Deputy Baker, for example, his Facebook posts containing advertisements for “imported virus from Chy-Na” t-shirts promoting former President Donald Trump, as well as several instances of casual racism towards Asian Americans.
Casual racism and other acts of prejudice exclaimed by white men tend to often be overlooked. It was said that Long may have been attempting to commit a similar crime at a business related to the sex worker industry at an earlier time, and has expressed to his roomates that he was addicted to having sexual relations with these women. It is safe to say that there could be a clear motive behind Long’s crimes. Turns out, allegedly it might not just be a racial, but a gender bias as well.
It is no secret that over the couse of history and still in modern day, violence against women has occured. This has especially happened against Asian women who have been fetishized and sexualized for their looks.
The percentage of racially-driven hate crimes in America hit a high of 57.5 percent in the past year. Following the stigma against the Covid-19 virus stemming from China, derogatory terms and racial slurs have been shouted at Asian Americans, who may not even be Chinese. Also, 3,800 reports of a hate crime have been reported by Asian Americans in 2020.
Long has made his place in the hall of infamy as part of this statistic. Whether this man went on a rampage due to racial bias, or for other reasons, he is a murderer, who shows no remorse for what he has done. We can only attempt to heal from this wound caused by a man filled with resentment, and find a way to stop Asian hate.