The US saw a significant increase in hate crimes against Asians and Pacific Islanders ever since the COVID-19 virus began. Much of the hate has turned violent, with more than 2,100 incidents reported in America between March and June of 2020 alone (with hundreds still happening every day). As of March 17, 2021, it has now reached about 3,700 reported incidents, and the crimes and abuse have also grown more and more violent. The reported cases included violent acts, such as slashings, beatings, shootings, and verbal abuse.
While all were equally terrifying, the most recent incident spurred on another strong demand for justice. Yesterday, on Tuesday, March 16, 8 people (6 of who were Asian women) were reportedly shot and killed at three different massage parlors near Atlanta, Georgia. The incident saw a surge of supporters further pushing the movement and spreading hashtags, such as #StopAsianHate, #AsiansAreHuman, #RacismIsNotComedy, #StopAAPIHate, and more. Among those included many Asian celebrities, ranging from comedians, actors, artists, and more.
One of the celebrities happened to be the music company, 88rising. 88rising is an American mass media company that primarily helps Asian-Americans and Asians promote in the United States. Artists who have worked with the label include Joji, Rich Brian, GOT7‘s Jackson Wang, Chungha, Kris Wu, and more.
In support of the movement against Asian hate, 88rising posted a yellow square and a message of support on their company’s Instagram.
After the post was published, the phrases “Yellow” and “88rising” began briefly trending on Twitter for other reasons than what they likely suspected. Many netizens claimed that the company appeared to be attempting a similar social media movement to “#BlackOutTuesday”, which took place last year for the Black Lives Matter movement. A large number of social media accounts posted black squares with the hashtag to show solidarity against the racial injustices African-Americans have endured for centuries.
However, the movement of only posting a simple square had been controversial, with some deeming it as a “performative act.” African-Americans urged people to publish informative posts instead of a simple black square so that they could raise more informative awareness.
88rising’s yellow square appears to be receiving the same criticisms. Many criticized them for not using their platform to share information, as well as their choice of color. The color yellow in the context of Asians has long been insinuated as a racist term used to discriminate against and demean the culture. Their choice to use a yellow square for a pro-Asian movement was criticized as “inappropriate” and “backward.”
Fans are hoping that the trend stops early and people post helpful information instead of a “performative” yellow square.
To support the movement against Asian hate, you can: educate yourself about the situation and the history of Asian struggles, donate to recovery funds and other accredited charities, speak up and report incidents that you witness, and help amplify Asian voices for justice.