(CBS Local)– One of the biggest stories of 2021 has been the rise of violence against Asian Americans. Stories of hate crimes against Asian Americans are making national and local headlines after a video surfaced of an elderly man in Oakland, California getting shoved to the ground.
MTV News’ Yoonj Kim has been covering this topic in depth and has used her platform to discuss many things like the destructive impact of xenophobic rhetoric around the coronavirus. She talked with CBS Local about what it has been like to witness and cover this important issue over the past few months.
“It’s been simultaneously encouraging from the response we’re starting to get from the public and mainstream media outlets, but at the same time it’s truly tragic to see all of these attacks happening,” said Kim, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Especially the elderly, who are the most vulnerable and powerless. We have this interesting climate that is going on right now.”
Kim said it felt like a punch to the gut when she first saw the video of the Asian man being attacked in Oakland. While it has been a difficult time for the Asian-American community, the MTV News host is encouraged by the younger generation and celebrities who are speaking out against these hate crimes.
“It’s been really inspiring to watch neighbors going and sitting in front of their Asian neighbors’ house to make sure they’re protected against hate crimes,” said Kim. “The police can’t be there 24/7 or they may not want to call the police. Seeing allies rallying with the Asian community has been the most amazing thing because that is really where it starts. Even though the federal government can sign all these memorandums and put out these announcements, it’s really not going to do much good if the local grassroots community isn’t there to support.”
Kim hopes that one of the big things to come out of this will be more stories about the Asian community on television. She says this will go a long way in normalizing the stories of Asian Americans and humanizing them.
“A lot of people are pointing out that Asian Americans and Black Americans have been pitted against each other historically,” said Kim. “Pitting these two minorities against each other is not helpful and it’s been really encouraging to see the younger generations are attuned to this inequality. Instead of blaming Black Americans or calling for more law enforcement, they’re being more mindful. We can’t point fingers at other ethnic groups because that is just perpetuating the cycle.”