by Emilie M. Townes, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society
Hearts and souls reach out to the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in Atlanta and beyond. The senseless deaths of eight people, six of them Asian women, joins the list of massacres that are becoming a dominant narrative of our country. This violent blending of race and gender must stop. To say that the shooter had a “really bad day” borders on the obscene. A bad day is when you are standing on a street corner and a passing car splashes you with the dirty water that has collected from the latest rainstorm. Killing eight people, six of them Asian women, is a massacre, a desecration of life and yet another hate crime to add to the alarming rise in harassment in 2020 that Asian Americans have been experiencing in the U.S. that is continuing in 2021.
This cannot be explained away as a bad day or a warped way to deal with a sexual addiction. The shooter’s route between his first destination and his second destinations took him past strip clubs, pornographic video stores, and sex toy shops. He did not stop. He chose businesses where the employees were Asian women. Women who must combat the stereotypes of being docile, submissive, and exoticized—being seen and treated as objects.
This onslaught on brown, beige, and black lives must stop.