I’m just going to say it: a lot of people have a hard time accepting and admitting that racism exists here in Australia.
This refusal to confront the truth has allowed it to thrive in a country that prides itself on its rich multiculturalism.
With the murders of eight people in Atlanta last month, six of whom were Asian women, there has been a spotlight on hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the US. But the thing is, it's happening all around Australia too.
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From physical assault, verbal abuse and hate speech, to people avoiding being close to us in public, the nasty glares, the coughing as we walk past, and mocking us for being Asian or assuming all Asians are Chinese, the list doesn’t end.
It’s as though people suddenly feel like they can be open about their fear and hatred towards us.
Many of us have been blamed for bringing COVID-19 into Australia and it’s deeply unsettling and upsetting. I remember when Melbourne first went into lockdown, I was so afraid to even leave my house to go for my weekly grocery shop or for my daily walk, just in case I became yet another victim.
The Asian Australian Alliance launched a database last year to track racist incidents against Asian Australians. At one stage, they were getting a dozen reports a day and since launching in April 2020, they have received more than 500 reports.
There are many stories from the Asian community here in Australia, we just need to listen to them. We need to believe them. And we need to support them.
In late March last year, Sophie and Rosa Do were out walking and called "Asian dogs", accused of bringing coronavirus to Australia and told to "eat another bat" by an aggressive teenager who continued to verbally abuse them before spitting in one of the sister’s eyes.
Two international Chinese students were punched, kicked and dragged to the ground in Melbourne and told to "go back to China."
A Chinese family-owned restaurant in Melbourne had a note left on their shop window reading many sickening things including, "You will never be Australian. You don't look like us and you don't accept or respect us. Please f**k off to your own s**t-filled China!"