Assemblywoman Niou on the Rise in Asian American Hate Crimes


Jason Leung

Asian American Hate has risen over the last couple of months. Pictured: A #STOPASIANHATE Rally in San Jose.

In January, our news site published an article on the misconceptions of the Asian American community and how stereotypes and racism against Asian Americans continue to permeate in today’s society. The anti-Asian sentiment has culminated, tragically resulting in ruthless attacks and the deaths of people of Asian descent. 

Something that struck a raw nerve with many in the Asian-American community was the Atlanta spa shootings last month, where a mass shooter murdered eight people, six of whom were Asian American women. Beyond the horrific murders, a member of the sheriff department at the briefing defended the shooter by saying “he was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope, and I guess it was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.” 

Despite being an on-going investigation, this Captain prematurely claims this as not a hate crime, but in fact was due to the man’s “sex addiction.”  At the beginning as this tragedy unfolded, reporters repeated the perpetrator’s name, picture, and fact that he attends church with parents, who were appalled by his action. This was a narrative directed and repeated in the media while the victims remained nameless and faceless. It is abhorrent for a member of a sheriff’s department to make such a statement and dismiss what was indeed a hate crime that targeted Asian American women and Asian owned businesses. Those in authoritative positions and power immediately tried to explain away and present a lop-sided perspective of what led up to this carnage. The indisputable fact is that Asian American hate crimes have increased by 150% and following the previous president’s push on the “China Virus” rhetoric fueling hate and xenophobia. 

Asian American women have been hyper-sexualized and overwhelmingly objectified as being submissive, exotic, and sexually obedient throughout history and across media. Asian American women have constantly been linked to being “dragon ladies,” a “china doll,” prostitutes, and tempestuous figures. These stereotypes have appeared time and time again in productions such as Miss Saigon, Madame Butterfly, Full Metal Jacket, and many more. The racist trope contributing to the recent Atlanta mass shooting and the hate and violence directed at the Asian American community – particularly the elderly – is nothing new.  The difference now is that the news media and local and federal government can not turn the other way and dictate the narrative, because the Asian-American community refuses to be silenced and continue to play the model minority role and not cause a stir.  

New York State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou is one of the two Asian American women who currently serve in New York’s legislative assembly who focuses on the struggles of the Asian American community amid the pandemic. She represents District 65, a district that encompasses the Lower East Side, Chinatown, South Street Seaport area, Financial District, and Battery Park City. She has spoken out about the importance of representation in government, and the rise in racism toward Asian Americans. 

There is no solution to this. There is no actual fix that people want to hear. The biggest fix is for us to do a lot of internal work but also fight for each other and to stand up for one another when things get really tough and coalesce as a community.

— Assemblywoman Niou

The amount of racism that has arisen during the pandemic won’t disappear overnight, but it is important for everyone to acknowledge that the racist rhetoric shouldn’t be tolerated and people should stand up against these false tropes that have been circulating. 

Most businesses in our beloved city have suffered great economic losses during the pandemic and Chinatown especially so as it was already struggling prior to the pandemic lockdown. For those who want to support NYC Chinatown, Assemblywoman Niou recently published a list of her favorite restaurants and businesses at

To learn more on how to be an upstander or for those at risk of violence, please consider attending educational and self-empowerment workshops at