'We're better than that': Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calls anti-Asian hate 'un-American'

The U.S. Defense Secretary affirmed the country had “lapsed” when it came to the rise of anti-Asian hate while giving a lecture in Singapore.

Working towards a “more perfect union”: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke about the rise in anti-Asian attacks in the U.S. at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Fullerton Lecture on Tuesday.

  • Austin revealed how hate targeted at the Asian American and Pacific Islander community was “un-American” and “unacceptable,” reported Military.com.

  • Representatives of the United Nations shared their concerns about seeing “racially motivated violence” following the onset of COVID-19. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated how horrific the violence was towards Asians around the world, reported UN News.

  • "I believe that we're better than that. Far better than that,” Austin said.

  • Democracy isn’t always done right by the U.S., the defense chief said. However, he added because of democracy, mistakes made are not hidden but “broadcast in loud and living color.”

  • America's willingness to admit its flaws "gives us the built-in ability to self-correct, and to strive towards a more perfect union," Austin said.

Hate by the numbers: Data showed that anti-Asian hate crimes were up 169% by the first quarter of 2021, NextShark previously reported.

  • New York had the highest rates of anti-Asian hate crimes with 42 reported in that time frame.

  • Other countries such as Canada have been seeing a rise in hate crimes, with Vancouver being called the “Anti-Asian Hate Crime Capital of North America,” according to a report cited by Bloomberg.

  • A separate report shared by non-profit Stop AAPI Hate saw one in five Asian Americans who have experienced racism showed “psychological and emotional harm.”

Steps to end the hate: President Joe Biden appointed Krystal Ka’ai in late May to lead an initiative aimed at reducing anti-Asian hate crimes, bias and more, NextShark reported.

  • Biden’s appointment of Ka'ai followed his signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to speed up the investigation of COVID-19-related hate crimes.

  • Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), the co-author of the law, also secured $30 million to directly benefit community-based organizations as part of the act.

  • Earlier this month, the NYPD and FBI worked jointly to ensure potential anti-Asian hate crimes were being reported in a public service announcement.

  • That same week, California issued a $156 million fund for victim-centered solutions in Asian-related hate crimes.

Feature Image via The International Institute for Strategic Studies (left), Unsplash (right)

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