Asian Women Are Not a ‘Temptation’
The Atlanta shootings were a culmination of centuries of hypersexualization of Asian women
On Wednesday, I learned that the white man who murdered six Asian women in Atlanta denied that his actions were racially motivated. Like many Asian American women, I was overwhelmed with disgust.
Typical. How many times have white men tried to excuse their actions toward me by saying, “I’m not racist, I’m just — ”
By this point in my life, I don’t really care what comes after that. The excuse is always racist. And the man never has to face consequences for it.
In the case of the Atlanta killing spree, the excuse was particularly infuriating. The shooter told the police that he targeted the spas not because he had anything against Asian people, but because he had a “sexual addiction” and wanted to eliminate the “temptation” of something “that he shouldn’t be doing.” But no, that’s not racism, not by his account and certainly not by the account of Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office, who said the shooter was having a “bad day” — the same police captain who promoted T-shirts that said “Covid 19 IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA” on Facebook. Maybe the shooter was a guy with some fucked-up feelings about sex, but don’t call it racism.
Let me tell you why it’s racism.
Consider that the shooter first targeted a place called Young’s Asian Massage before going to Gold Spa, two establishments that investigators said he had frequented before. It is critical to ask: Why did he go there in the first place? And why did he travel to three different Asian massage parlors in total to inflict his deranged retribution?
Why did he kill Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park, Hyeon Jeong Park, and one more Asian woman who hasn’t yet been identified?
The answer lies in the long and sickening global history of Asian women inaccurately being exoticized and hypersexualized by white supremacist cultures as people who create the “temptation” to do things that men “shouldn’t be doing.” In so many Westerners’ minds, Asian women are perceived as meek, weak, and submissive. That stereotype has been linked to bewildering rates of…