Donald Trump’s “adoption of race-baiting labels” such as “China virus” or “Kung flu,” have amplified racism and Sinophobia.
According to data released by Stop AAPI Hate, between March 19 and December 31 of 2020, the coalition received over 2808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states and DC.
The creative industries depend on Asian talent. Just in the US, 48 of the 477 members in the Council of Fashion Designers of America identify themselves as Asian, according to Los Angeles Times.
One of Donald Trump’s most dangerous legacies is America’s heightened anti-Asian sentiment. His contempt for China and “adoption of race-baiting labels” like the “China virus” or “Kung flu” have amplified racism and Sinophobia across the country. Unfortunately, the arrival of a new administration in Washington DC didn’t bring an overdue solution to racism in America.
While President Joe Biden did sign an executive order condemning attacks against Asian-Americans, it was merely a sign of goodwill. The order states that COVID-19 responses from federal health authorities must demonstrate “cultural competency, language access, and sensitivity towards AAPIs,” said the Huffington Post.
But endorsements and recommendations do not have real power if they are not supported by federal policies. And the recent surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans requires solutions.
Policymakers, law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and civil rights organizations have to work together to adopt suitable solutions and promote racial equity. But until this finally occurs, leaders from the fashion community have come together to fight injustices and hate.
These high-profile figures are trying to raise awareness about violent attacks against Asians and Asian Americans through social media posts. Meanwhile, social media users are encouraged to talk about their own experiences with harassment and abuse while using the hashtag #StopAsianHate.
Designers Prabal Gurung, Phillip Lim, and Kimora Lee Simmons — alongside Allure magazine’s editor-in-chief, Michelle Lee, and influencers Tina Leung, Chriselle Lim, Bryan Boy, and Tina Craig — have already taken a stance by creating social media posts that discuss harassment and racism.
View this post on Instagram
The situation is dire, and the wave of violence against Asians and Asian Americans is growing. According to data released by Stop AAPI Hate, between March 19 (when Stop AAPI Hate began collecting reports) and December 31 of 2020, it received over 2808 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate from 47 states (including DC). Moreover, 7.3 percent of those total incidents involved Asian Americans over the age of 60, and many of those attacks featured elevated levels of aggression and violence.
In San Francisco, 84-years old Vichar Ratanapakdee died after a man violently shoved him to the ground. While in Oakland’s Chinatown, a suspect attacked a 91-year-old man, a 60-year-old man, and a 55-year-old woman. Meanwhile, in San Diego, an elderly Filipino woman was punched, an elementary school worker, who was assaulted at a bus stop in Rosemead, California, lost his finger, and a man pushed an elderly woman in Queens.
Unfortunately, this new wave of violence has even been exported to Europe. Next Shark reports that a Japanese citizen was attacked in Paris by an aggressor who tried to injure him with a bottle of acid. “The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an increase in racist and xenophobic incidents against people (perceived to be) of Chinese or Asian origin, including verbal insults, harassment, physical aggression, and online hate speech,” the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) said in a report published on 8 April 2020.
Considering that policymakers don’t understand the hostility and violence against Asians and don’t seem capable of detecting, preventing, or responding to hate crimes, initiatives like the #StopAsianHate should be encouraged.
The creative industries depend on Asian talent. Just in the US, 48 of the 477 members on the Council of Fashion Designers of America identify themselves as Asian, according to Los Angeles Times.
In the coming weeks, we foresee more voices joining the fight to condemn and denounce these brutal crimes. Disappointingly, key players in the retail and luxury industries that boosted their brand image by encouraging their audiences to discuss social issues are now silent.
China is on track to become the biggest luxury market by 2025. So, the future of the luxury industry depends on China and the Asia-Pacific region. But despite its reliance on the Asian consumer, the industry seems incapable of overcoming its own bias against Asians.
Luxury brands that want to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world should prioritize a culture of inclusion and diversity. In other words, they should develop strategies to tackle and combat hate against Asians.
At the time of writing, Valentino is the only major luxury brand that took a stand and expressed its solidarity with the Asian community. Other major brands who responded to this racial injustice include Nike, adidas, Converse, Tommy Hilfiger, Benefit Cosmetics, and U Beauty. However, questions remains regarding the real power players — luxury conglomerates LVMH, Richemont and Kering — who bet big on China and the Asian continent. Is their “woke” message and fight for social justice simply a branding tool — or is it something more?