Thursday Reads: A Bad Day For Him?Posted: March 18, 2021 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Asian women, Atlanta, Attacks on Asian Americans, Cherokee County GA, hate crimes, Jay Baker, mass shootings, misogyny, Racism 32 Comments
There’s a police captain in Atlanta named Jay Baker who needs to fired immediately. Since when do we take the word of mass murders on their motives?
So this pathetic loser was having a bad day? What about the 8 women he killed and their surviving family members? Or don’t they count because they aren’t white males?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Captain Baker appears to be a racist. The Daily Beast: Georgia Sheriff Spokesman Posted Racist COVID Shirts on Facebook.
A Cherokee County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson came under fire Wednesday afternoon for pinning the deadly Tuesday shooting rampage that left eight dead—including six Asian women—on a 21-year-old white man’s “really bad day.”
“Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Jay Baker said during the joint news conference with the Atlanta Police Department about 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long.
But it seems the same spokesperson shared racist content online, including pointing the finger at China for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—the same vitriol advocates say has fueled a horrific surge in violence against Asian Americans.
In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.”
“Place your order while they last,” Baker wrote with a smiley face on a March 30 photo that included the racist T-shirts.
“Love my shirt,” Baker wrote in another post in April 2020. “Get yours while they last.’”
The shirts appear to be printed by Deadline Appeal, owned by a former deputy sheriff from Cherokee County, and sold for $22. The store, which promotes fully customizable gear, also appears to print shirts for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, a “ceremonial unit, all volunteers, who represent not only the Sheriff’s Office but also the county when participating in a variety of events,” according to a March 10 Instagram post.
The Washington Post Editorial Board: Opinion: The Atlanta shootings cannot be dismissed as someone having a ‘bad day.’
Bess Levin at Vanity Fair: Why Are We Taking Robert Aaron Long’s Word For It That The Georgia Killings Weren’t About Race?
When Georgia law enforcement briefed the public on Wednesday morning about the 21-year-old white man who shot and killed eight people—six of them Asian women—at Atlanta-area massage parlors Tuesday night, it wasn’t helpful.
Officials made a puzzling series of claims of fact, despite being cartoonishly cautious about other aspects of the case. Officials claimed that 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long had a “sex addiction” but admitted they didn’t know whether sex work occurred at the places where Long killed people. Who told them that Long had a sex addiction? Was it Long himself?
They weren’t sure whether Long was motivated by the racial identity or gender of his victims, and thus said they couldn’t say with certainty that a hate crime had been committed, but then again, they said with certainty that before he’d committed the crimes the shooter had “a really bad day.” Who told them that Long had a really bad day? Did they fact-check that one, or did they once again simply repeat the words of a suspected mass killer into a microphone? (I think I speak for a lot of people when I say: I don’t give a flying-saucer fuck about what kind of day a mass shooter was having before opening fire.)
In her book Down Girl, philosopher Kate Mann describes the phenomenon of “himpathy,” which she defines as “the inappropriate and disproportionate sympathy powerful men often enjoy in cases of sexual assault, intimate-partner violence, homicide, and other misogynistic behavior.” The phenomenon is particularly on display when a male public figure is accused of sexual misconduct and his defenders comment on how the man’s life has been “ruined,” like when Lindsey Graham lost his marbles during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
When men specifically target women in their violent crimes, some in positions of power fall all over themselves to make the case that those crimes were somehow in women’s power to stop, that men’s out-of-control unmet entitlement functions like a semitruck that lost the use of its brakes while heading down a steep grade, and that those who get hit should have moved out of the way.
Violent acts committed by men who have a problem with women and sex—they’re not getting enough; they feel bad about getting too much; the women who they believe should be giving them sex are instead choosing to have sex with other men—are similarly excused as something we should understand on an emotional level. If only women had been sluttier/less slutty when it came to the sad men, perhaps the men wouldn’t have been pushed to do what they did….
The murder of six Asian women and a white man and white woman in Atlanta didn’t only call to mind over-empathization with maleness; Long’s treatment by law enforcement also draws attention to the way authorities treat whiteness.
Harmeet Kaur at CNN: Fetishized, sexualized and marginalized, Asian women are uniquely vulnerable to violence.
Of the eight people who were killed when a White man attacked three metro Atlanta spas, six were Asian women.
Investigators said it was too early to say whether the crime was racially motivated, and instead pointed to the suspect’s claim of a potential sex addiction.
But experts and activists argue it’s no coincidence that six of the eight victims were Asian women. And the suspect’s remarks, they say, are rooted in a history of misogyny and stereotypes that are all too familiar for Asian and Asian American women.
They’re fetishized and hypersexualized. They’re seen as docile and submissive. On top of that, they’re often working in the service sector and are subject to the same racism that affects Asian Americans more broadly.
The way their race intersects with their gender makes Asian and Asian American women uniquely vulnerable to violence, said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of the non-profit advocacy group National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum….
The perceptions of Asian and Asian American women as submissive, hypersexual and exotic can be traced back centuries.
Rachel Kuo, a scholar on race and co-leader of Asian American Feminist Collective, points to legal and political measures throughout the nation’s history that have shaped these harmful ideas.
One of the earliest examples comes from the Page Act of 1875.
That law, coming a few years before the Chinese Exclusion Act, was enacted seemingly to restrict prostitution and forced labor. In reality, it was used systematically to prevent Chinese women from immigrating to the US, under the pretense that they were prostitutes.
Read more details at CNN.
A few more stories on this topic:
Rex Huppke at The Chicago Tribune: Column: Atlanta shooting suspect’s ‘bad day’ and the whitewashing of white crime.
CNN: Unsettling questions surround the motive behind three Atlanta-area spa shootings as Asians in the US face increased hate.
The Washington Post: Asian Americans see shooting as a culmination of a year of racism.
The Atlantic: Why This Wave of Anti-Asian Racism Feels Different. The author Cathy Park Hong sees the recent upsurge in violence as a turning point for Asian Americans.
As always this is an open thread. What’s on your mind today?