Considering the surge in hate crimes against Asians in the United States of America, President Biden has been remarkably prompt in signing legislation to address the increasing phenomenon of man’s inhumanity to man. His signature on the watershed legislation was couched in the hope that such crimes would now be more accurately calibrated and reported so that they can be ended.
That would be a signal achievement should the intent of the legislation materialise. The bill will provide resources to create specialised hate crime units that will help states create hotlines accessible to people with limited English proficiency. The technological as well as linguistic aspects have thus been taken care of.
And the bill, which is fairly wideranging in its scope, provides resources for training of state and local law enforcement entities to identify, investigate, and report such heinous crimes, Mr Biden said after signing the legislation. The bill thus goes beyond the colour of the skin and rivets its attention on the continental origin of the victims. The need for such legislation became palpable from the brutal killing of as many as six Asian women in Atlanta in March this year.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed the Senate-approved version of the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act with an overwhelming bipartisan vote. This bill was introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Grace Meng in the House, and incorporated the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, so-called.
This legislation will address the current rise in anti-Asian hate and improve the reporting of crimes. President Biden also urged people to change their minds and hearts. He hit the bull’s eye when he said: “But of all the good that the law can do, we have to change our hearts. We have to change the hearts of the American people.
I mean this from bottom my heart ~ hate can be given no safe harbour in America. I mean it: no safe harbour. It can’t be dismissed like, Well, that’s just what happens. My sister, Valerie, and I talk about it all the time. You’ve got to speak up. Speak up and speak out.” The President has been remarkably forthright in his evaluation of attitudes that have soured… to the point of death!
After a year in which the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) segment experienced a horrifying rise in hate crimes and incidents driven by racist and inflammatory language during the pandemic, last Friday’s bipartisan legislation conveys an unmistakable message of solidarity to the community at a crucial juncture.
It will help federal, state, and local governments confront anti-Asian hate across America. There is urgent need to review Covid-19 related hate crimes. It is hard not to wonder whether public health and hate crimes are thus intertwined in one of the worst-affected virusafflicted countries.