Bay Area Attacks on Asians and Cristina Garcia

Recently there has been a surge in attacks on elderly Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay area that has led to injuries and at least one death.

NPR quotes Manju Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, as blaming a combination of COVID-19 and racist rhetoric from the Trump administration for the attacks,

These attacks taking place in the Bay Area are part of a larger trend of anti-Asian American/Pacific Islander hate brought on in many ways by COVID-19, as well as some of the xenophobic policies and racist rhetoric that were pushed forward by the prior administration.

Certainly, Donald Trump and his administration did everything they could to inflame anti-Asian bigotry, and that should be a black mark on all those who participated in that administration.

However, anti-Asian bigotry has a long, bipartisan history in California.

It is worth noting that California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia just won re-election to her fourth term.

As Politico notes, in 2014, Asian-American community activists successfully lobbied against efforts to overturn California’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions (such policies tend to discriminate against Asian students).

Cristina Garcia was so enraged by this that she told a legislative meeting,

This makes me feel like I want to punch the next Asian person I see in the face.

This offended the sensibilities of California Assembly Speaker John Perez so much that he “strongly admonished” her against such statements.

That’s a profile in courage right there.