B.C. politicians of Asian descent say U.S. deadly shooting has ripple effect

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NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale says the mass murder of eight people in Georgia Tuesday is nothing short of heart-breaking.

On Wednesday, a white man Robert Aaron Long was charged with killing eight people — including six women of Asian descent — at three Atlanta-area massage parlours. The attack has sent terror through the Asian American community, which has increasingly been targeted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowinn Ma, who is of Asian descent, tells NEWS 1130 crimes targeting women of colour have a profound impact on society that carries on from one generation to the next.

“I think of the young girls who are trying to discover who they want to be when they grow up and what instances like this tell them about their place in this world, and it breaks my heart,” she says.

Long told police that Tuesday’s attack was not racially motivated. He claimed to have a “sex addiction,” and authorities said he apparently lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation. But those statements have spurred outrage and widespread skepticism given most of the victims are women of Asian descent.

Ma says a sex addiction is simply no excuse to commit violence.

“I frankly don’t care what this person’s sexual preferences were or how bad his day was. None of that excuses a person’s unwelcome actions towards another person, none of that excuses, sexual harassment, it doesn’t excuse sexual assault and it certainly does not excuse murdering people,” she says.

British Columbia’s minister of state for infrastructure adds it’s “disgusting” and “unacceptable” to reduce the women to somebody’s sexual fantasy.

“These were women who had ambitions and personalities, who contributed to the lives of people around them. Who loved and were loved. These were people with stories that are a heck of a lot more important than some men’s fetish,” Ma says.

“No woman should ever have to wonder if their entire value as a person might one day be reduced to the fantasies of one depraved man,” she adds.

RELATED: Atlanta shootings symptomatic of larger issue of Asian women being oversexualized in media: experts

The MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, Rachna Singh, used to counsel victims of domestic violence and says race-based misogyny is an issue everywhere.

“As a racialized person myself, I just say listen to their stories, create the policies that will help us get rid of the hate in this society, but first of all, we really have to listen to what they are saying,” she says.

But work needs to be continued in B.C. to help women targeted by racist and misogynistic men, Singh says.

“Especially what racialized women are facing, I’m working together with all my colleagues in the cabinet to reduce [these challenges.] But this is a reality that many women face today and it has been going for ages.”

Tuesday’s mass shooting is the worst mass killing in the U.S. in almost two years.

Authorities have released the names of four killed victims: 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun, 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng and 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan.

 

– With files from the Assocated Press



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