But she said she appreciated the insight of local Asian American activist Cam Ashling, who noted that this forced many Asian Americans to speak out in ways they had not before.
“She told me that they aren’t going to stay silent anymore,” Chang said. “There was so much violence happening for months. This was in some ways a dramatic turning point for the AAPI community. “
Chang said she grew up aware that Asian Americans were taught by their parents to “keep their head down and not cause trouble. There has been a major shift. This is the one area of uplift I see. Young people are standing up on behalf of their elders. This is a generation that has the audacity to believe in equal protection under the law and support their parents who are sometimes reluctant to do that. “
She interviewed Randy Park, whose mother Hyun Jung Grant was killed. He raised $ 2.9 million on his GoFundMe page from 76,000-plus donors. “People saw his mother’s sacrifice to put food on the table,” Chang said.
She also spoke with Robert Peterson whose mother Yong Ae Yue, was a victim. Peterson is half Korean, half Black. “He feels the racism and the racialization of stereotypes at a lot of different angles,” she said. “He was incredibly insightful.”
Chang herself decided to pursue the topic more aggressively after talking to fellow African American ABC News journalists following the George Floyd protests in 2020. “I’ve known them as colleagues and journalists and friends for 30 years. This is their lived experience, ”she said. “They were inspired to share their insights with the public. I modeled their leadership to say this is my lived experience as an Asian American. I can explain why so many Asian Americans were enraged by what the Cherokee County sheriff said. “
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Capt. Jay Baker after the shooting said at a press conference: “I spoke with investigators, they interviewed him this morning. And they got that impression, yes, he understood the gravity of it … And he was pretty much fed up and had been, kind of, at the end of his rope. And yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did. “
Baker sounded almost sympathetic to the killer, which angered a lot of people in the AAPI community. And the sex addiction excuse seemed incomplete, she said.
“He drove past porn shops and strip clubs to reach the spas,” Chang said. “What does that tell you?”
Chang said Asian stereotypes, even the positive ones, can burden people who don’t fit that stereotype, many of them immigrants just struggling to get by. They suffer silently, invisible to the world. “It also pits minorities against each other,” she said. “And the ‘othering’ of Asians can be used to scapegoat them any time there’s fear and anxiety.”
There is also the complicated issue of spas and how some are indeed used for sexual activities. “There are complicated reasons why they exist,” Chang said. “The hyper sexualization of Asian American women is real. It is really damaging. So much violence against all women is sexualized. Asian American women are attacked far more often than men. “
WHERE TO WATCH
“Stop the Hate: A Call for Unity”
8:30 pm on Wednesday, March 16 on ABC News Live, re-airing at 12:30 am EST and a narrative segment on the anniversary of the spa shootings will air during “Nightline” that same night at 12:30 am on WSB -TV in Atlanta and other ABC affiliates