Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF MAR. 22, 2021

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

Deadly shooting spree intensifies concern about verbal abuse and attacks on Asian Americans

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1.gifPresent a brief update on the Atlanta case or reactions.

2.gifLook for local news or comments related to this topic.

3.gifFind an Asian American in the news for an unrelated reason. Why is she or he featured?

A young gunman's attacks at three Atlanta-area businesses last week shook Asian American communities across the country because six of the eight people who died were from that ethnic group. A 21-year-old man is accused of the murders. Police are unsure if they were racially motivated, but the shootings are widely seen as a possible extension of harassment, vandalism and assaults that have increased from coast to coast against people with Asian roots -- including the February killing of an 84-year-old San Francisco man from Thailand. Some targets say attackers blamed them for the virus that spread from China early last year. Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly used racial terms to describe the virus, such as referring to the disease as the "China virus," "China plague" and "Kung Flu."

"It's been a year of living in fear" for Asian Americans, President Joe Biden said Friday as he and Vice President Kamala Harris met at Emory University in Atlanta with community leaders and state lawmakers from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community. "It was heart-wrenching to listen [to them]," he added. The rise in anti-Asian violence has been so bad that a U.S. House subcommittee had planned a hearing last Thursday on hate crimes against Asian Americans even before the Georgia murders on March 17. Members heard from six female lawmakers of Asian descent, both Democrats and Republicans, who described fear and trauma rippling through the Asian-American community. The uptick in attacks, they said, stems from anti-China rhetoric linked to the coronavirus. Such language put "a bull's-eye" on Asian-Americans, said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif.

Similar statements came from leaders of national groups representing an ethnicity with varied roots in Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka and South Pacific island nations. "Asian Americans have been ringing the bell on this issue for so long. ... We've been raising the red flag," said Aisha Mahmood, executive director of the Atlanta-based Asian American Advocacy Fund. Sung Yeon Choimorrow, head of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, says: "We are horrified and continue to be concerned for the safety of our community members across the country as violence toward Asian Americans has escalated." The hashtag #StopAsianHate was a top trending topic on Twitter last week.

President says: "Whatever the motivation [for the shootings], we know . . . hate can have no safe harbor in America. It must stop." -- Atlanta remarks last Friday

Congresswoman says: "I ask everyone to remember that hurtful words and rhetoric have real-life consequences. Please stand up, condemn this violence, and help us #StopAsianHate." – Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., who is Chinese American

Professor says: "This comes almost a year after Asian Americans were saying that the term 'China virus' or any kind of stigmatizing term was harmful to Asian Americans." – Melissa Borja, University of Michigan assistant professor or American culture

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2021

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