Has East Coast fallen behind West Coast in addressing anti-Asian hate?

By Gilda P. Balan, Correspondent

NEW YORK – Asian Americans from the East Coast have been asking this question of late: has the West Coast done a better job of addressing anti-Asian hate than the East Coast?

Specifically, have the two states with the largest Asian and Asian American communities – New York in the east and California in the west – taken opposite paths where addressing the problem is concerned? Or are they taking the same approach?

One man who brought this up did so because of the tragic situation he found himself in.

Brian Chin, a resident of Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, was the landlord of Korean-American woman Christina Yuna Lee, who was first stalked then stabbed to death by Assamad Nash, a homeless person.

The heinous crime took place exactly one year ago this week, on Feb. 13, 2022 to be precise. Lee was inside her apartment when she was killed.

The killing of Christina Yuna Lee bore some similarities to another Asian American, Michelle Alyssa Go, who was pushed to her death in the New York City subway station in Times Square by a homeless person named Martial Simon.

Simon had been stalking Go, and the brutal killing of the student took place on Jan. 15, 2022.

Last week, Chin told a news organization that there seems to be a lot of hatred aimed at Asian Americans.

“Hopefully, 2023 is better, but 2022 at least was a very bad year for all Asians,” said Chin.

“it’s a  very troubling time,” he added.

The data from the New York Police Dept. is quite telling.

The NYPD recorded 607 hate crime complaints and made 320 arrests last year, higher than the 524 complaints and 219 arrests made in 2021. The numbers are probably much higher, given the attitude of some Asian American communities of refusing to report hate crimes, especially when no serious physical harm is involved.

While the numbers reported by the Los Angeles Police Department last year are close to the NYPD figures, hate crimes against the Asian Pacific and Pacific Islander community – which includes Filipinos and FilAms – saw a 20 percent drop compared to the previous year.

And just like the hate crimes committed in New York by homeless persons generally believed to have mental health issues, a significant number of offenders in Los Angeles also have the same problem.

One frightening possibility is that with its ever increasing population of the homeless, top East Coast cities Los Angeles and San Francisco may see the number of assaults against Asians and Asian Americans rise dramatically in the months and even years to come, unless federal, state, and local governments take concrete steps to prevent it from happening.

Whether in the East Coast or the West Coast, officials agree that hate crimes are spurred by hate speech, from the likes of former president Donald Trump to musician Kanye West – now known as Ye – who recently aired a series of anti-semitic and conspiracy-filled rants. Both men refused to acknowledge much less apologize for their hate-filled speech.