Members of Congress gathered on Thursday for a hearing on anti-Asian violence and discrimination, the first of its kind in over 30 years. But while the intention was to fight the rise of anti-Asian hatred and discrimination in the country, some lawmakers took the opportunity to criticize China and make other offensive and xenophobic comments. In addition, some Republicans have argued that creating legislation to deal with the growing number of attacks against Asian Americans would undermine free speech and the “police.”
Responding to arguments from those Republican lawmakers, Representative Grace Meng spoke tearfully of the pain that has been inflicted on Asian Americans throughout the pandemic. She noted that lawmakers could criticize other countries at any other time, but they were not obligated to do so “by putting an eye on the backs of Asian Americans across the county, on our grandparents, on our children. “
“This hearing was about addressing the pain and the pain of our community, to find solutions. And we will not let you take our voice away from us,” said in his heartbreaking answer, which has since gone viral.
During the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on discrimination and violence against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, Representative Chip Roy constantly questioned whether legislation to address Hate crimes might or might not impact freedom of expression and also mourned the political correctness that hinders the use of language. He also diverted the conversation to “Communist China,” called the Chinese Communist Party “Chi-Coms” and praised his state’s history of “lynchings”. To make matters worse, while speaking of the “righteousness” he enjoys, Roy cited a new song who glorified lynchings and tried to pretend it was an “old saying” from Texas. It all happened after he said families in the recent Atlanta attack on Tuesday deserved justice.
“There is an old saying in Texas about ‘find all the rope in Texas and get a big oak tree’. You know, we take justice very seriously. And we have to do it. Round up the bad guys. This is what we believe. “
Many Democrats have expressed concern over Roy’s xenophobic and ignorant comments. In response to Roy’s comments that the anti-discrimination hearing is about “police” freedom of expression, Representative Steve Cohen said: “To be spat, slapped in the face, set on fire, hit with a cutter and violently pushed to the ground… that’s not speaking.
Meng’s response came hours after calling out former President Donald Trump in an interview for his use of xenophobic language like “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” in referring to COVID-19. According to The hillShe said the language contributed to a spike in anti-Asian attacks in the country this year.
“When you have a leader in this country who has a tremendous platform, use words and fuel false facts and disinformation about the virus and that is perpetuated by the leaders, the top leaders of the Republican Party in the White House and in Congress, ”Meng said in the interview,“ What is happening is people that Asian Americans are being pushed around, assaulted, spat on.
Numerous reports examining the link between political rhetoric and anti-Asian prejudice have shown that discrimination against the Asian-American community increases after the use of these terms, Daily Kos reported. Other members of Congress, including Representative Pramila Jayapal, also commented on the use of this language by Republicans.
The House meeting took place less than two days after a racist attack on Asian Americans killed eight, including six Asian women. The attacks sparked national outrage as police officials claimed it was too early to determine whether the attacks were a hate crime. The incident is the latest attack on Asian Americans to gain national attention.
Almost 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian bias have occurred over the past year, Daily Kos reported. These acts of hate are not expressions of freedom of expression and cannot be presented as such – they are violent crimes committed in the name of racism. Hate crimes against AAPI people increased by almost 150% in 2020. America must do better and recognize the racism present in the country.
Watch Meng’s heartbreaking response below.