Asian-American Identity, Part I: From Atlanta to Promontory, Utah, 170 years later, Chinese Women are still being sexualized | Haiyun Lu | 8 Min Read

By Haiyun Lu, Chinese language teacher, University School of Milwaukee (WI)

It was the morning of March 17, 2021. I was standing in the kitchen, waiting for the tea kettle to whistle when I first saw the headline from the Washington Post, Eight Killed, Including Six Asian Women… My head started to buzz, “A hate crime?” Since the onset of COVID-19, hate crimes against Asian people have been escalating, according to an AAPI source report, nearly 3800 incidents were reported.  Most of the time, it was Asian women and elders who had been targeted. As I quickly skimmed through the Post article, I spotted the line “no motives have been determined.”  My stomach began to churn; if it was not a hate crime, I wondered what the motive was…

Finally, the police released a statement regarding the mass shooting: Robert Aaron Long was not motivated by race.  Long has been referred to as having a “sex addiction;” after a bad day, he thought he needed to eliminate the temptation of this addiction….

My 18-year-old sunny, funny, and beautiful niece was doing dishes as I was reading the police statement to her.  “What are they saying?”  I obverted my eyes from looking at her, I was overwhelmed by “shame” and “doubt” instantly.  The only thought rushing through my head was, “Were these women doing something illegal behind the doors?”  That doubt weighed on me so heavily.

When the truth of the victims was told as “hard-working, devoted single mother, family oriented, good-hearted…”  I was in a long waiting line for an oil change.  I had my engine off and windows down as I was waiting.  As tears began trickling down my cheeks, I turned on the car, rolled up the windows, cranked the meditation music I normally enjoy to the maximum volume, and allowed myself to have a good cry, alone.  A sense of deep loss and anger took over me.  These women could be my sisters or aunties!  These women could easily be a part of my family.  These women not only were victimized, but they were also unfairly and cruelly humiliated to explain the cause of their death.  Just as Ibram X. Kendi has said, “Black people are apparently responsible for calming the fears of violent cops in the way women are supposedly responsible for calming the sexual desires of male rapists.”  I felt outrage in every single…

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Haiyun Lu

Haiyun Lu, a Chinese language teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (WI), is also a writer, blogger, trainer, curriculum designer, meditator, and Co-Founder at Ignite Chinese.