This is the reality of anti-Asian violence and the impact it has

Recent attacks have made me question if I feel safe in Southampton

To start this article, I should probably disclose who I am and my background. I am mixed race Asian and British. My mother is Malaysian but came to London in the 1970s and my father is born and bred British. I have lived in Britain my whole life and lived in a predominantly middle class and white area and have benefitted from a privileged upbringing.

I currently live in Southampton and study at the University of Southampton. Recently there has been an attack on an Asian lecturer, reminding me of the scary reality of being both Asian and British.

The lecturer, Peng Wang, said that he believes the attack was “racially motivated.” He was attacked by a group of people who drove by in a car shouting racial slurs whilst he was out jogging. When he responded the group attacked him, leaving him with several injuries.

This is not the first instance of violence against Asians in the UK. Jonathon Mok, a Singaporean student was attacked on Oxford Street in 2020 during the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. In Southampton last year there were other instances of racism, a group of Asian students were harassed with claims they had spread the virus being screamed at them.

This was a frightening story to hear when it was first reported in the media. Particularly worrying as I live in Southampton and obviously am also Asian. It made me question was I was really safe here?

Last month there was yet another anti-Asian attack, where a gunman in Atlanta targeted Asian people. Eight people died in the shooting, six of whom were Asian women. But as upsetting as they are, the shootings are not surprising to me. A policeman involved has faced criticism after claiming the murder suspect had “a really bad day”.

I like many Asians have noticed a growth in anti-Asian sentiment in both Britain and the US since the emergence of Covid. For example, former US President Donald Trump coined the phrase the “China virus” instigating a narrative of blame on Asian American communities.

It creates a scary reality now for any Asian person living in the UK. We have always as a family noticed that we are perceived as different despite my brother and I being born in Britain and living here our whole lives. Particularly in the last year I worry that being Asian, which used to come with the stereotypes of people asking me if I was good at math or if I wanted to be a doctor (which don’t get me wrong annoyed me), is now becoming an increasingly sinister perception.

To overcome this we need to make awareness greater, to ensure ignorance does not grow. As we now inspect again anti-Asian violence in the wake of the Atlanta shooting we need to evaluate the ways in which we can help to stop prejudice and discrimination growing.

We need to collectively take a stand against the growing hatred towards Asian people and stop perpetuating the narrative of blame on Asian communities.

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