Democracy Dies in Darkness
The long, ugly history of anti-Asian racism and
violence in the U.S.
By Gillian Brockell
March 18, 2021 at 7:00 a.m. EDT
A gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas Tuesday night; six of the victims were women of Asian
descent, sparking fears among advocacy groups that the killings may have been racially motivated.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked 150 percent since the pandemic began, according to a recent study.
People of Asian descent have been living in the United States for more than 160 years, and have long been the target of
bigotry. Here is a look at the violence and racism that Asian immigrants and Asian Americans have faced since before
the Civil War.
People v. Hall
Chinese immigrants began coming to the United States in significant numbers in the 1850s, largely to California and
other Western states, to work in mining and railroad construction. There was high demand for these dangerous, lowwage jobs, and Chinese immigrants were willing to fill them. Almost immediately, the racist trope of â€œAsians coming to
steal White jobsâ€ was born. And in 1854, the California Supreme Court reinforced racism against Asian immigrants in
People v. Hall, ruling that people of Asian descent could not testify against a White person in court, virtually
guaranteeing that Whites could escape punishment for anti-Asian violence. In this case, it was murder: George Hall
shot and killed Chinese immigrant Ling Sing, and the testimony of witnesses was rejected because they were also
Chinese massacre of 1871
On Oct. 24, 1871, following the murder of a White man caught in the crossfire between rival Chinese groups, more than
500 White and Hispanic rioters surrounded and attacked Los Angelesâ€™ small Chinese community, centered in a redlight district known as Negro Alley. At least 17 Chinese men and boys were lynched, including a prominent local doctor.
They were hanged across several downtown sites, anywhere the rioters could find a beam to string a noose. Eight of the
rioters were eventually convicted of manslaughter, but their convictions were overturned. No one else was ever
Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
Economic woes in the 1870s spawned another spike in anti-Asian racism and scapegoating. In 1882, Congress
overwhelmingly passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration for 20 years. President Chester
A. Arthur vetoed it, but then signed another version with a 10-year ban. The first law placing a restriction on
immigration to the United States, it was extended for more than 60 years before it was repealed in 1943.
Rock Springs massacre, 1885
In Rock Springs, Wyoming Territory, long-standing aggression against Chinese miners exploded in September 1885,
when 100 to 150 vigilantes surrounded and attacked Chinese mineworkers, killing 28 people and burning 79 homes.
Hundreds fled to a nearby town, then were tricked into boarding a train they were told would take them to safety in
San Francisco. Instead, it took them back to Rock Springs, where they were forced back into the mine. Federal troops
stayed for 13 years to impose order.
San Francisco plague outbreak
In 1900, an outbreak of bubonic plague struck San Francisco. It is likely that the outbreak began with a ship from
Australia, but since the first stateside victim was a Chinese immigrant, the whole community was blamed for it.
Overnight, the cityâ€™s Chinatown was surrounded by police, preventing anyone but White residents from going in or out.
Chinese residents were also subjected to home searches and property destruction by force. The episode was a prelude
to the racism that has been aimed at Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, which former President
Donald Trump frequently called â€œthe China virus,” â€œthe Wuhan virus,â€ and the â€œKung Flu.â€
Japanese internment during World War II
By the 1940s, tens of thousands of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans had built lives in the United States.
After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II, the U.S. government forced all of them
into internment camps for the duration of the war over suspicions they might aid the enemy. Conditions in the camps
were extreme, blazing hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. No spies were ever found. When they were
freed, many returned to find their homes and businesses vandalized or confiscated. In 1988, survivors received a
presidential apology and $20,000 each in reparations.
Vietnamese shrimpers and the KKK
A h l f h Vi W h U i d S l d Vi fl i h i I T
At the close of the Vietnam War, the United States resettled many Vietnamese fleeing the communists. In Texas, many
of those immigrants took up shrimping. â€œWe like the weather, we like the shrimping, we like a chance to start our own
businesses,â€ Nguyen Van Nam told The Washington Post in 1984. As they worked hard and began to dominate the
industry, the trope of Asians coming to take White jobs returned, and this time it was wearing a white hood. Ku Klux
Klan leader Louis Beam trained his members in commando-style attacks; they patrolled the waters in their regalia and
set boats owned by Vietnamese people on fire.
The murder of Vincent Chin
Vincent Chin was out on the town. On June 19, 1982, the 27-year-old Chinese American was about to marry and was
celebrating with friends in Detroit. Then two White men picked a bar fight, blaming Chin for â€œthe Japaneseâ€ taking
their auto-industry jobs. Outside the bar, the men beat Chin with a baseball bat. He died several days later. His
assailants took a manslaughter plea bargain, which carried a possible sentence of 15 years. Instead, the judge gave the
men probation and a $3,000 fine. The lenient sentence outraged and galvanized the Asian American community,
helping to unite them across ethnic lines and work for civil rights.
The L.A. riots
Tensions had been building between the Black and Korean American communities in Los Angeles for years. Then came
the April 29, 1992, acquittal of the police officers caught on camera beating Rodney King. As the city erupted in riots,
Korean American businesses became targets; thousands were damaged during the unrest.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hate crimes spiked against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim,
including people of South Asian descent. Only four days after the attacks, aircraft mechanic Frank Silva Roque
murdered Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American gas station owner originally from India, whom Roque mistook for
Muslim. The post-9/11 period led to greater awareness and advocacy between the South and East Asian communities.
What one familyâ€™s story reveals about reparations
â€˜A Japanese Schindlerâ€™: The remarkable diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during WWII
Why youâ€™ve never heard of the six Chinese men who survived the Titanic
The U.S. hid Hiroshimaâ€™s human suffering. Then John Hersey went to Japan.
â€˜Cheap slavesâ€™: Trump, immigration and the ugly history of the Chinese Exclusion Act
Atlanta spa shootings: What to read
The latest: Asian American leaders struggle over where to take their movement | Atlanta-area Asian Americans speak up |
Atlanta spa shooting victims highlight struggles for Asian and Asian American immigrant women in low-wage jobs
Victims: What we know
The suspect: His life before the attacks | Accused Atlanta gunmanâ€™s church expels him, as local Korean church leaders
mourn, call for action
Photos: Crowds gather around the country to protest anti-Asian violence
Video: Calls for an end to anti-Asian discrimination ring loud in Atlanta
By Gillian Brockell
Gillian Brockell is a staff writer for The Washington Post’s history blog, Retropolis. She has been at The Post since 2013
and previously worked as a video editor. Twitter
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more