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Cleveland first baseman Yu Chang made a mistake. With a chance to turn a double play and end a scoring chance for the White Sox, he committed a throwing error, and the Sox ended up winning the game. If it had been anyone else, there likely would have been some postgame criticism and some angry callers on sports radio. Then everyone would turn the page by first pitch the next night.
But because of the color of his skin, Chang received some extra hate. Disgusting hate.
On Tuesday morning, Chang revealed racist anti-Asian messages he received on social media after committing the error. Disclaimer, the following tweet is littered with NSFW and hateful language.
Since Chang exposed the racist DMs, all three Twitter profiles have been deleted.
It’s a sad reminder of how awful anti-Asian sentiment has become recently. According to a recent study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes on the whole decreased by 7% from 2019 to 2020 in the 16 largest cities in the U.S. But hate crimes against Asians bucked that trend, skyrocketing 150% over that same time period.
Many of the hate crimes reported are verbal assaults, similar to what Chang experienced on Twitter. People yell at Asians, blaming them for the COVID-19 pandemic. Some receive death threats. Many other times however, things get violent. Of all the hate crimes reported, the study says there were 392 physical assaults, including coughing or spitting on Asians.
Some crimes go beyond the pale of simple assault. In Oakland, a 91-year-old man was shoved to the ground. An 89-year-old woman in Brooklyn said she was slapped, then had her clothes set on fire. Noel Quintana, a 61-year-old Filipino man had his face slashed by a box cutter while riding the Subway in New York. He needed 100 stitches.
Some of these crimes have been fatal. 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died after he was assaulted in San Francisco, in broad daylight. In Atlanta eight women died, six of whom were Asian, in a shooting spree that targeted spa workers.
In Chang’s case you may say, “These are just some nasty tweets, you should expect to receive some hate mail on Twitter.” But this clearly goes beyond run-of-the-mill social media nastiness. Racist outpourings like this have no home in baseball, or anywhere really. Racist outpourings like this can also lead to deadly outcomes.
Stop Asian Hate.