One of my husband's and my favorite blasts from the past is to watch reruns of the sitcom "Fraiser" that aired from 1993 through 2004. The main character, Fraiser Crane, was a psychiatrist turned radio talk show host that greeted each caller with "I am listening." And today, "I am listening," and the silence is frightening.
Hate crimes and attacks against Asian and Asian Americans have increase in the year following the COVID-19 outbreak throughout the United States. Recently, on the eve of the Lunar New Year, several Asian owned restaurants were the victims of burglary and vandalism. Racially targeted crimes of this type has wreaked havoc on the livelihoods of these Asian-American business owners, causing suffering to their families and children.
Instances of verbal harassment targeting Asian Americans have occurred from coast to coast. On Thursday evening during the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force public hearing, comments by Aday Salein were racial charged and attacked the Chinese, Korean, and Latino Communities. This behavior dehumanizes our Latino, Asian, and Asian-American neighbors and friends. Studies have established a correlation between exposure to hate speech and the number of hate crimes committed. There are real life consequences to the rhetoric of hatred that must be addressed by our community leaders-elected officials, religious leaders, and leaders without a title.
Now more than ever, it is important that we connect with those around us in a safe way, that we embrace our common humanity with compassion, rather than feeling isolated and disconnected, that we begin a discussion about our imperfect selves. Who will be the first amongst us to have the courage to say, "I am listening."