Intersectional Hate Crimes Top This Week’s Bias and Bigotry List

Anti-Black racism and anti-Asian racism are baked into our pop culture and media

Activists participate in a vigil in the Chinatown area of Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2021, in response to the shooting in Atlanta. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

I write this in the aftermath of a horrific crime in which a White man killed eight people, most of them women of Asian descent. And as we are all too aware, this kind of violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It comes amid a rash of attacks against Asians and Asian Americans. It follows years of dehumanizing and offensive rhetoric that came prominently, but not solely, from former President Donald Trump and the people around him. And much like anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism is baked into the pop culture and media we all consume.

There have been numerous times in recent history where tensions have been fomented between Black people and Asian people in service of White supremacy and preserving the racial status quo in this country. But there have also been times where Black people and Asian people allied to fight racism, and that is the spirit in which we are now called to act. This essay by Jezz Chung examines how the Georgia killings are an outgrowth of the persistent racism, sexism, and hypersexualization deployed against Asian women, and lists some additional resources to learn more.

We wholeheartedly and without reservation condemn all acts of racist violence, intimidation, and discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans.

With that said, here’s this week’s dive into some of the racism-related stories you may have missed.

Cut off from Covid help: African Americans descended from slaves held by tribes such as the Seminole say tribal health services are denying them Covid-19 vaccines and services based on their ancestry. The Black members of the Seminole tribe, known as Freedmen, are considered tribal citizens and are counted in the census used to allocate Covid relief money from the CARES Act, but the tribe says that they have no right to other services because they don’t have “citizenship by blood.” Freedmen say that notion is both outdated and racist. Read more about it here.

Setting the record straight: Much has been made of “vaccine hesitancy” among African Americans who express skepticism or mistrust about the Covid-19 vaccine. Lord knows, institutional racism in the medical field is definitely a thing. But a new survey indicates that at this point, Black Americans may not be more reluctant to get a Covid vaccine than Whites. NPR reports that among those surveyed, 25% of Black respondents said they would not choose to be vaccinated if a shot were made available to them, compared to 28% of White respondents.

Hope for Black farmers?: Black farmers have faced decades of institutional racism from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which systematically denied or delayed them the loans they needed to survive. A provision inside the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill aims to provide some debt relief and create a racial equity commission. NPR’s Michel Martin interviewed USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack about aid for disadvantaged farmers under the bill.

U.K.’s racial reckoning continues: A Black female TV presenter who was due to host a major journalism awards show in the U.K. withdrew after the body sponsoring the awards responded to Meghan Markle’s interview by denying the existence of racism in the British press. ITV news anchor Charlene White told the Society of Editors it should look for a new host, “perhaps someone whose views align with yours — that the U.K. press is the one institution in the entire country who has a perfect record on race.” The head of the society has resigned, and many prominent journalists in the country are pushing for an overhaul.

And finally, some good news: The Black Lives Matter movement and protests over George Floyd’s killing brought attention and momentum to Native American and Latino struggles against the racism and police brutality directed toward their communities. Russell Contreras of Axios explains how in this article here.

Stephanie Siek is a writer and editor who loves cats, cookie dough and aborted alliteration.

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Momentum is a blog that captures and reflects the moment we find ourselves in, one where rampant anti-Black racism is leading to violence, trauma, protest, reflection, sorrow, and more. Momentum doesn’t look away when the news cycle shifts.

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