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New research finds that reporting hate crimes helps Asian Americans deal with trauma

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According to the report, released by Stop AAPI Hate, Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Boston and the Asian American Psychological Association, 71.7% of Asian Americans who have experienced racism were more stressed about anti-Asian hate than they were of the global pandemic. Additionally, those who reported incidents of crime were less likely to have race-based traumatic stress. Researchers define race-based traumatic stress as psychological or emotional harm caused by racism, NBC News reported.

The findings were based on the examination of three studies, which investigated the effects of anti-Asian racism on mental health. Of the three studies, one surveyed individuals who had experienced racism and found that 1 in 5 Asian Americans who have experienced racism during the pandemic displayed at least three signs of racial trauma, including depression, intrusive thoughts, anger, hypervigilance, decreased self-esteem, and numbing.

“So often, a part of the AAPI experience is being silenced and invisible. And so many of those things exacerbate the challenges we are facing,” Dr. Warren Ng, psychiatry medical director at New York-Presbyterian Hospital said of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He noted that reporting can help a person have a sense of control which is often lost after an incident of hate.

Of the things” that help people manage things that they cannot control is the focus on the things that they can,” he said. “It’s taking action, whether or not it’s reporting to a mechanism.”

Ng added that the signs of trauma victims face may stem from a loss of agency, when “you have no control over how you look, how you appear to others.”

“At the same time, it’s not something you can modify,” he added. “Therefore, you feel constantly in stress and are vulnerable to those kinds of experiences.”

Ng noted that those who shared that they no longer have signs of racial trauma after reporting likely felt that way because reporting can be connected to having that feeling of agency restored. But while this new research has connected reporting to a feeling of less trauma, the fact remains that most crimes do go underreported.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, while 3,800 anti-hate incidents were reported in the last year, the number is likely to be higher due to the number of those crimes that go unreported. Researchers and advocates have connected a decline in hate crimes reported to both cultural norms and mistrust of officials.  

“There is a sense in this community that we need to survive and move forward,” Joo Han, deputy director of the Asian American Federation said. “And until we have access to services in certain Asian languages, the quality of help is not going to be great all the time. Many don’t trust law enforcement because they haven’t had the best experiences with them. They don’t think they’ll be listened to.”

Fear of retaliation, general law enforcement, and immigration status are among the many factors that deter Asians from reporting crimes, and reporting to agencies like Stop AAPI Hate directly can combat this, Ng said. He noted that giving people the choice of whether they would like to be contacted by the police and how much information will be shared allows for their fears of reporting to be addressed.

Additionally, despite research verifying the mental toll hate crimes and discrimination have had on the community, many members of the AAPI community are reluctant to seek help because of cultural stigmas. According to NBC News, Asian Americans are a third as likely to seek mental health help when compared to their white counterparts. Additionally, while they report fewer mental health conditions than their white counterparts, they are more likely to consider and attempt suicide. According to Ng, cultural stigmas that have created barriers to mental health treatment include the fear of bringing shame to the family or community for having such issues in addition to internalized racism that deters immigrant communities from seeking out resources.  

“There’s such an acceptance that ‘we’re going to be treated this way anyway, so get over it — instead of being bitter, be better,'” Ng said. “It’s always a concept of ‘we’ve already accepted that this is our fate, that we don’t have it any better. We are not equals.'”

While the norms are changing, addressing issues of mental health still remains a stigma in many AAPI communities.

“It goes against that idea of individualism versus collectivism and whether or not we are here for ourselves” or “are we here representing our families and our community,” Ng said. “There’s also the cultural issues related to interdependence, where you rely on your family or your close-knit people instead of reaching out outside of your network, because of that sense of idea of interdependence.”

But cultural stigmas are not the only thing that deters individuals from seeking help. Resources and treatment are often seen through a Western lens with cultural competency and understanding being nonexistent. Without therapists and resources that address cultural sensitivities or that understand stigmas and norms, it becomes difficult for people to seek help. The different dynamics within cultures in addition to the norms and traditions play an essential part in how many Asian Americans live. Without understanding this, health care professionals will be unable to properly serve the Asian American community. This is why culturally specific advocacy and training is essential to serving minority communities in the U.S.

But having a therapist who is of Asian descent doesn’t solve the problem if they too are not culturally aware, Ng noted.

“If that person isn’t aware of their own baggage with regards to their own internalized racism or their own limitations for a social lens, or maybe they grew up in the U.S. and never even thought of themselves as different … that can really limit someone’s experience” of therapy, Ng said. “Just because it’s an identity doesn’t mean there’s an awareness.”

A lot of different factors impact the way treatment is given and received in minority communities. Until we are able to adequately train and equip professionals these stigmas and lack of resources that serve the community will continue.  

As research on the importance of hate crime reporting continues, we can only hope that not only do more individuals report crimes but the crimes themselves decrease. Now more than ever, the API community needs our support. Check out this guide on resources and ways to support the AAPI community and our Asian friends. Hate is the real virus and we must end it.

If you are placed in physical danger because of your ethnicity, religion, race, or identity, call the police (dial 911 in the U.S.), or click here to contact your local FBI office. It is the FBI’s job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and threats of violence. You can also report a hate crime to the FBI online using this form. To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.


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News Roundup: Giuliani suspended; infrastructure deal; pro-Trump network floats mass executions

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From hoax-peddling to violent insurrection to talk of mass executions, fascism in America is now a major political force

In the news today: Trump fixer Rudy Giuliani’s license to practice law in New York is suspended after a pattern of flagrant lying about supposed election “fraud” in and outside courtrooms. The White House and a group of 10 senators announced an agreement on “bipartisan” infrastructure funding—but both the details and the supposed bipartisanship that will allow it to pass remain sketchy. A prominent conservative “news” site responsible for pushing election hoaxes that helped lead to insurrection is now speculating on a need to execute “tens of thousands” of Americans who, they falsely contend, helped unfairly deny Donald Trump an election win.

Here’s some of what you may have missed:


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‘Unforgivable and un-American’: U.S. Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick’s longtime partner calls out GOP

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In a CNN op-ed, Garza, a clinical social worker who was with Sicknick for 11 years, wrote that she couldn’t watch the Jan. 6 footage for a month after the attack, but eventually gutted it out and took a look.

But before his memorial a month later, something came over me: I wanted to see everything I could and understand what happened that day. As I watched the videos, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw officers being brutalized and beaten, and protesters defying orders to stay back from entering the Capitol. All the while, I kept thinking, “Where is the President? Why is it taking so long for the National Guard to arrive? Where is the cavalry!?”
 

As the months passed, my deep sadness turned to outright rage as I watched Republican members of Congress lie on TV and in remarks to reporters and constituents about what happened that day. Over and over they denied the monstrous acts committed by violent protesters.

Garza didn’t name those members of Congress, but they’re not hard to identify. There was Sen. Ron Johnson, who said he was never concerned about the insurrection because the rioters were “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement”—and not scary antifa or Black Lives Matter protesters. There was Rep. Andrew Clyde, who compared the insurrectionists to tourists, even though footage from that day showed him fixin’ to drop a chimichanga or two into his Simon Bar Sinister Underoos. And there was Trump himself, who infamously said that the insurrection posed “zero threat” and that his supporters were “hugging and kissing” the Capitol police. 

Eventually, Garza joined Sicknick’s mother, Gladys, in her campaign to convince GOP senators to vote in favor of the commission. But as we all know, their heartfelt pleas were ignored. Garza writes that during her and Gladys’ outreach campaign, “some Republican senators were very pleasant and polite. Others were dismissive, and others could barely hide their disdain.”

Sounds about right. Of course, in the wake of Republicans’ nearly unanimous betrayal of democracy, Garza feels she’s being retraumatized.

By denying or downplaying the viciousness and trauma that occurred on January 6, members of Congress and the people who continue echoing their false narrative are engaging in a specific kind of psychological harm that is familiar to people who work in mental health. It’s known as “secondary wounding.” Secondary wounding, described by psychologist Aphrodite Matsakis, occurs when people “minimize or discount the magnitude of the event, its meaning to the victim, [or] its impact on the victim’s life.”

The kicker? Before the Capitol insurrection, both Garza and Sicknick—who adored blueberry pancakes and wiener dogs alike—were Trump supporters. Not anymore: “To know that some members of Congress—along with the former President, Donald Trump, who Brian and I once supported but who can only now be viewed as the mastermind of that horrible attack—are not acknowledging Brian’s heroism that day is unforgivable and un-American.”

Eventually, anyone who puts their faith in Donald Trump gets burned. Ask … well, pretty much anyone. Most people don’t suffer this much for their obtuseness, but just about everyone who hitches their wagon to his collapsing star gets a rude awakening.

It’s sad that it took the loss of a loved one for Garza to finally wake up, but if she can keep warning others, maybe the day when Trump is truly—and forever—radioactive will come sooner rather than later.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.


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In blow to California farmworkers, Supreme Court rules against union access to grower property

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“On Wednesday, the court’s conservative supermajority held that California’s law violates the Fifth Amendment, which bars the taking of private property for public use ‘without just compensation,” he wrote. “Remarkably, the majority held that the law constitutes a ‘per se taking’—not a mere regulation, but an ‘appropriation” of property that flouts the owners’ ‘right to exclude.’”

“The court’s 6–3 decision in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid is thus a crushing blow to organized labor, which often relies on workplace access to safeguard workers’ rights,” he continued. “It also undermines the broader legal framework that permits the government to impose all manner of regulations on private property, including workplace safety laws and nondiscrimination requirements. With Cedar Point, the Supreme Court has handed business owners a loaded gun to aim at every regulation they oppose.”

Per The Times, the 1975 regulation allows unions “to meet with agricultural workers at work sites in the hour before and after work and during lunch breaks for as many as 120 days a year.” The Washington Post reports the regulation had been upheld by the California Supreme Court in 1976, with the U.S. Supreme Court that same year dismissing a continued challenge to the law, Stern said. According to The Post, “provisions have gone unchallenged until now,” when California-based Cedar Point Nursery, and Fowler Packing Co. challenged.

“In my view, the majority’s conclusion threatens to make many ordinary forms of regulation unusually complex or impractical,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent, joined by justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Cedar Point v. ALRB makes a racist and broken farm labor system even more unequal,” United Farm Workers (UFW) said in a statement. “Farm workers are the hardest working people in America. This decision denies them the right to use their lunch breaks to freely discuss whether they want to have a union. The Supreme Court has failed to balance a farmer’s property rights with a farm worker’s human rights.”

In a tweet, Illinois Rep. Chuy García wrote that “[f]armworkers in California and across the country fought and died for their right to organize. It’s an embarrassment to our democracy that this extremist court is chipping away at that right.”

What’s next is unclear. Sterns writes California could compensate growers. “But how much would that cost? At oral arguments, Justice Amy Coney Barrett floated $50 per ‘taking’—a charge that would quickly balloon as every California agribusiness demanded payment each time a union organizer stepped on their property,” he wrote. Victoria Hassid, chair of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board, told The Post it will keep looking into “alternative avenues” to make sure farmworkers are not deprived of their rights.


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