A terrible week (and year) for the Asian American community

3,800 reported cases of hate incidents reported in the past year, ahead of a massacre.

Sree’s newsletter is produced w/ Zach Peterson (@zachprague). A year ago today, I posted this image from a hotel in Dubai, which launched new elevator etiquette. Imagine if America and its leadership had taken the pandemic as seriously as many other places in the world did. And the same skepticism is now on display by millions of Americans about vaccines thanks to propaganda by Fox News and others.

Scroll down for Read Something; Watch Something; a weekly tech tip from Robert S. Anthony (@newyorkbob), and much more.

TUNE IN: #NYTReadalong - our guest this week is Jason Dearen, award-winning investigative journalist for the AP - 8:30 am ET, live or later.

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The horrific killings in Atlanta have shaken the Asian American community to its core. I should know, my family is a part of that community.

Here are the names of the victims:

According to Stop AAPI Hate, there were close to 3,800 hate incidents against Asian Americans reported in the first full year of the Covid19 pandemic. Three thousand eight hundred. And that’s just those that were reported.

This report from NBC News on the data is quite comprehensive if you want to learn more.

The police response to the murders has been atrocious and embarrassing, which does not, and will not, help things. The Atlanta Police suggesting that this man “had a bad day” and then sought out Asian women as he did was yet another chapter of America’s ongoing apologist manifesto for white, racist men who shoot people en masse. Remember when the shooter (I will not name him) who opened fire in a Black church in Charleston got Burger King? How many more “he was just a quiet guy” stories do we really need about these cold-blooded murderers?

The rise in hate towards Asian Americans has been especially pronounced during the pandemic, and that largely comes down to something quite simplistic—a large cross-section of people calling Covid19 the “China virus” or one of that moniker’s many variants. Overt, blatant racism was essentially given the presidential seal of approval for 4+ years, and words matter. But, it’s very important to note that the underlying factors behind the rise in racist acts against Asian Americans goes far deeper than that.

From the NBC News story mentioned earlier:

Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and director of demographic data and policy research nonprofit AAPI Data, previously also warned against defaulting to a “simplistic understanding of what’s going on,” adding that the violence cannot be neatly summed up by solely the heightened anti-Asian sentiment witnessed throughout the pandemic. He said a confluence of factors, including the effects of poverty and financial struggle exacerbated by the pandemic, as well as opportunity, could have played into it.

So, what can we do? First, we can support the organizations that are trying to educate the public, advocate for Asian Americans, and fight racism.

For New Yorkers especially, here is a good list to start with, from News 12.

Here’s a much longer list from New York Magazine that includes organizations working on very specific issues—places that could use your time as well as your dollars.

The fact is that this only stops when enough people know it’s simply not right. Donations to the organizations in the lists above are a start, but, at its heart, this is a kitchen table issue. Speak up when you hear or see things that are racist. Challenge people. Correct them. Educate them.

Share the resources above, and share other stories. This, from Vanessa Wong, is heartbreaking:

Jiayang Fan, as we’ve become accustomed to, captures the moment and the fear so perfectly… so tragically:

And, something a little different. Crooked Media’s new sports podcast launched with an interview with former New York Knick Jeremy Lin, in which he discusses the racism he faced throughout his career. This was recorded before Atlanta, but takes on a whole new meaning after.

My friend Arun Venugopal tweeted about the right way to think about incidents of hate when they happen:

- Sree


Tech Tip: No Vaccine Appointment? Persistence Pays

By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Robert S. Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.

With the arrival of warmer weather, the last thing most of us want to do is to poke at a phone or tap away at a computer for hours. Unfortunately, if you’re hunting for a Covid-19 vaccine shot and need to set up an appointment, you can expect to have days like that.

The maze of state, local, drugstore and other vaccine-appointment websites—not to mention vaccine shortages—can make the appointment process exhausting. Of course, things are worse for those with limited or no home Internet access—getting through via phone can be almost impossible.

The bottom line is that persistence and patience pay off. Be ready to be bored and disappointed often, but eventually these sites work.

As localities adjust vaccine-eligibility rules note that the website you view today may not look the same tomorrow. While these sites will always ask for the same basic data (name, date of birth, etc.), pay close attention to the questions since they may change daily as things like age limits and eligible groups of workers change.

Scroll carefully through each screen. Click on “Submit,” “I consent,” and “I am not a robot” buttons where needed. If website use is high, you may be put into a “waiting room” and a countdown clock will let you know when you can proceed.

While there are no set times for adding vaccine appointments to these sites, sometimes trying late at night has advantages. After days without success, I was online well after midnight when the number of New York City locations with vaccine appointments jumped from just two to almost 150. I acted quickly—and got an appointment.

Once you snag that appointment, write down, copy-and-paste into a document or print out what’s on the screen. Don’t assume a confirmation email or text is on the way. That confirmation number will be needed by the vaccine location—don’t lose it. Cancel appointments you can’t make or don’t need. You could save a vaccine site from unnecessarily taking an extra vial out of refrigeration.

Yes, the online appointment procedure can be torture even for the computer literate. If you’re able to help someone who is not, please do. We need all the friends we can keep.


Watch Something

Just two weeks ago, PBS aired this segment on the discrimination Asian Americans were facing across America. This followed several brutal attacks on mainly elderly women—then Atlanta happened. This report really struck me when I saw it the first time. After last week, it’s enough to make you cry. PBS also has a fantastic docu-series on Asian Americans in America and it’s as good as you’d expect. Check it out here.

Odds & Ends

🗞  TUNE IN: #NYTReadalong - our guest this week is Jason Dearen, award-winning investigative journalist for the AP - 8:30 am ET, live or later.

The Readalong is followed, on Sundays at 11 am-noon ET, by a new medical show I’m co-executive producing with surgeons Sujana Chandrasekhar, M.D. (@DrSujanaENT), and Marina Kurian, M.D. (@MarinaKurian), called She’s On Call (watch live or later).

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