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Tuesday August 4th 2020

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Corona Crisis Exposing Minnesota Racism Against Asian- Americans

Something I Said 

By DWIGHT HOBBES 

For a place touted as a bounty of multiculturalism, Minnesota can be downright reactionary and racist. It is doubtful, for instance, that had the corona virus originated in, say, Sweden or Switzerland, blue eyed blondes would be targeted for harassment. Yet, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) has had to denounce increasing racist attacks and xenophobic profiling of Asian-Americans, backlash for the pandemic against people who, for all they know, had never even been to China much less caused this crisis. 

Consider. A St. Paul-based nonprofit held an online discussion on discrimination against Asian Americans during this pandemic, but scrapped it due to the overwhelming presence of derogatory remarks posted. Hardly in keeping with locale known for being socially progressive and ethnically inclusive. Xaria Vang, 23, bought a Taser gun after a stranger confronted her in a St. Paul butcher shop. Vang isn’t even of Chinese extraction: she’s Hmong. 

Clearly, this state, the Twin Cities in particular, which breaks an arm patting itself on the for supposedly standing for equality is just as backwardly Neanderthal in its attitudes and behavior as places like: New York City where a woman was punched and called “diseased”; Plymouth, Indiana where a pair of Hmong men were refused hotel accommodations; a Texas town where an Asian family were knifed (father and son slashed across the face) while trying to grocery shop. And reports right here in Minnesota are on the increase. 

The lead Donald Trump has provided to follow makes bad matters worse. After a White House official, speaking to CBS journalist Weijia Jiang called COVID-19 the ‘Kung-Flu’ the president not only didn’t denounce the blatantly racist comment but denied any responsibility for Asian-Americans being targeted. He has no responsibility for this ethnic group being singled out? But tacitly condoned a mob, rabid ‘”Unite the Right” racists at the infamous Chancellorsville, VA rally. Hand in hand with Trump blithely glossing over bigotry, federal agencies including the Department of Justice have done exactly jack to safeguard at-risk citizens. 

It’s to the point where the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, at Gov. Tim Walz’s urging, has set up a hotline report attacks and/or harassment. 651-539- 1133. Also there’s a toll free number at the governor’s office. 1-833-454-0148. Weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

None of this would be the least bit necessary where this region as nobly humane as it claims to be. 

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