Brooklyn’s Chinatown struggles to recover from a disastrous year that won’t let up.

More than a year after the coronavirus first swept through New York, the streets of Sunset Park in southern Brooklyn reflect the pandemic’s deep and unhealed wounds intertwined with signs of a neighborhood trying to edge back to life.

The sidewalks are filling with shoppers and vendors. More businesses are welcoming customers. But owners still struggle to pay rent and keep their enterprises afloat, while many workers laid off after the city locked down last year remain without jobs.

And while the rate of vaccination in New York has increased significantly, the coronavirus still percolates through this densely packed neighborhood. The ZIP code that includes Sunset Park had the highest rate of positive cases in Brooklyn in early April, nearly double the citywide rate. Some residents have expressed skepticism about the vaccines, spooked by false information circulated over TikTok and other social media.

Adding to the stress is a spate of hate crimes and violence against people of Asian descent in New York and around the country, fed in some cases by racist claims that Asian-Americans are responsible for spreading the virus.

About a third of the residents in Sunset Park have received at least one dose of the vaccine, roughly the same level as the city overall, according to the city health data. But local leaders say they want to push that number much higher.

Kuan Neng, 49, the Buddhist monk who founded Xi Fang Temple on Eighth Avenue, said that people had come to him in recent weeks to express concerns over vaccines.

“Why do I need to do that?” is a common refrain, according to Mr. Kuan, followed by: “I’m healthy now. The hard times are over, more or less.”

“Many people want to delay and see,” Mr. Kuan said, himself included.

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Anti-Asian Attack in New York Hits a Nerve in the Philippines

MANILA — When a Filipino immigrant was brutally attacked this week on a New York City sidewalk, the Philippine foreign secretary went on Twitter and advised his compatriots in the United States to fight back.

“The answer to racism has to be police/military; not understanding,” the foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin, said in another Twitter post on the attack. “Racists understand only force.”

Mr. Locsin’s aggressive response, which echoed the bombastic populism of his boss, President Rodrigo Duterte, reflected how Philippine officials often see the welfare and interests of the country’s overseas labor migrants as a domestic issue. In the Philippines, many people view those migrants — whose remittances account for nearly a tenth of gross domestic product — as being part of their own community even if they’ve made their home somewhere else.

“Every Filipino family has an American relative,” said Renato Cruz De Castro, a professor of international studies at De La Salle University in Manila, the Philippine capital. “The assumption here is that the Filipina who was attacked in New York still has relatives here.”

attacked with a box cutter on the subway after he confronted a stranger who had kicked his tote bag.

called on American officials to ensure their safety amid rising anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic.

told a local newspaper at the time.

Some of Mr. Duterte’s prominent critics have called his administration’s response to anti-Asian violence in the United States hypocritical, saying that his government has a long history of human rights abuses at home.

The United Nations has accused the Philippine government of systematic killings and arbitrary detentions in the service of a bloody campaign against drugs. The U.N. said last year that more than 8,000 people had died since Mr. Duterte began his antidrug campaign in 2016.

“It is just for a homeland government to condemn racist attacks on its overseas people,” Ninotchka Rosca, a Filipina novelist who lives in New York, said of this week’s attack. “It is also hollow when the same government makes it a policy to kill its own people in its own territory.”

Separately, Mr. Duterte has a spotty record on championing victims of abuse. He has joked about rape, made anti-Semitic remarks and admitted to sexually assaulting a housemaid when he was a teenager. Mr. Locsin, the foreign secretary, has used anti-Semitic language and defended Mr. Duterte’s decision to pardon an American marine who had killed a transgender woman.

Richard Heydarian, a political scientist at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila, said that Mr. Locsin’s response to the New York attack is “just the latest case of arbitrary sympathy” from his administration.

a military pact with the United States, one that Mr. Duterte has previously threatened to terminate. Herman Kraft, a political scientist at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, said it was important to view Mr. Locsin’s comments against the backdrop of those geopolitics.

“Locsin probably wants to send a signal to the U.S. before President Duterte commits the Philippine government on a policy direction that would be difficult to backpedal from,” he said.

Mr. Cruz De Castro, the professor, said that Mr. Locsin’s Twitter storm was a “knee-jerk” reaction that reflected his personality more than specific policy priorities in the Philippines. But the response to the attack from people across the Philippines, he added, illustrated the country’s strong connection with its diaspora.

“It’s a reflection of our attitude of, ‘When we send people abroad, they’re still linked with us,’” he said, “ignoring the fact that they’re under private motive and have basically adopted the culture and citizenship of their host country.”

Jason Gutierrez reported from Manila and Mike Ives from Hong Kong.

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Prabal Gurung on Anti-Asian Violence, Discrimination and the Duties of Success

Prabal Gurung, the Nepalese-American designer, has been a vocal proponent of inclusion and diversity since his first show in 2009. In the wake of the Atlanta shootings and an upswing in anti-Asian violence, he talked to The New York Times about his own experiences and what his work has to do with it.

How do you grapple with what’s going on?

To watch a video of a 65-year-old woman being brutally attacked is triggering and heart-wrenching, not just for me but for my friends and people from my community. We all are so worried for our loved ones. My mother goes on walks every morning and evening. She’s 75-years-old. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a blond wig for her, and I said, “You know, just wear it when you go outside, wear a hat, wear glasses.” She tried it on. But the next day she came over to my place, and she was like: “I’m not going to wear it. Just buy me a big, strong cane.” That is the reality of this.

Is that why you were an organizer of a Black and Asian solidarity march with other designers and activists in March?

We didn’t know how many people were going to show up, but thousands and thousands of people showed up across races and gender: L.G.B.T.Q. friends, Latin friends, Black friends, Asian friends, white friends. What we recognize is that for this particular moment to turn into a movement, we have to have all the marginalized groups and our white counterparts coming together.

Oh, a wave of Asian designers.” Then there’s a wave of Black designers, a wave of women designers. We never say a wave of white designers. We are never considered designers on our own. So that kind of implicit bias, that kind of microaggression, we face it all the time.

Did you experience it when you were trying to get financial backing for your business?

For my 10-year anniversary I was at a potential investors meeting, and one asked, “What does the brand stand for?” I said: “The America that I see is very colorful. The dinner table that I see is very colorful. It’s diverse. That’s the America that was promised to me. That’s why I came here, because I was a misfit back home.” And he says to me, “Well, you don’t look American.” I looked at him, and I was like, “You mean to say I don’t look white?”

“It’s OK,” I said. “I’ve been in business in America for 20 years. I’m a citizen. I make more than 90 percent of my clothes in New York City. I am actively involved in social causes. I’ve contributed to my taxes.”

torrent of hate and violence against people of Asian descent around the U.S. began last spring, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Community leaders say the bigotry was spurred by the rhetoric of former President Trump, who referred to the coronavirus as the “China virus.”

  • In New York, a wave of xenophobia and violence has been compounded by the economic fallout of the pandemic, which has dealt a severe blow to New York’s Asian-American communities. Many community leaders say racist assaults are being overlooked by the authorities.
  • In January, an 84-year-old man from Thailand was violently slammed to the ground in San Francisco, resulting in his death at a hospital two days later. The attack, captured on video, has become a rallying cry.
  • Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in the Atlanta massage parlor shootings on March 16. The suspect’s motives are under investigation, but Asian communities across the United States are on alert because of a surge in attacks against Asian-Americans over the past year.
  • A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime in connection with a violent attack on a Filipino woman near Times Square on March 30. The attack sparked further outrage after security footage appeared to show bystanders failing to immediately come to the woman’s aid.
  • Part of what you are trying to do with your work is educate people about the nuances of different Asian cultures, right?

    Asian-Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in the U.S. electorate, with roots all over the world. We are diverse. I look East Asian, right? But I’m from Southeast Asia. I sit in the center of the brown Asians and the other Asians. The wealth disparity between the richest Asian-Americans and the poorest is insanely high. I think maybe the largest of any ethnic group in this country. In spite of that, there is a myth of the model minority, of crazy rich Asians. That’s why “Parasite” is important, why “Minari” is important. Give us the platform so we can tell our stories.

    This stereotyping doesn’t make you angry?

    I’m OK with people making mistakes because it can start a dialogue that leads to a solution. I refuse to cancel people unless there’s something really harmful.

    Fashion is one of the hardest and most arduous industries, but it’s also an industry that can reward you in the most splendid, incredible way. And it is the only industry where in 10 minutes on a runway we can really change the narrative of what the culture can be. That’s the power of fashion.

    I am a living example of it, coming from a country like Nepal where nobody believed I could be a designer. To be able to live that dream and to have this platform. It’s been really incredible.

    This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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    In San Francisco, turmoil over reopening schools turns a city against itself.

    The pandemic has brought grinding frustrations for parents, educators and students across the United States. But perhaps no place has matched San Francisco in its level of infighting, public outrage and halting efforts to reopen schools.

    In February, the city sued its own school system, which has been entirely remote for a year, and board of education, accusing them of violating state law by not resuming in-person instruction.

    Soon after, two parents infuriated by the school board’s decision to rename 44 schools, even as it kept them closed, started a drive to recall three of the board members. Some 9,000 people have joined the campaign’s mailing list, and they are expected to begin collecting signatures soon.

    tweets written by the board’s vice president in which she accused Asian-Americans of sidling up to white Americans to get ahead without confronting racism, comparing them to slaves who benefited from working inside a slave owner’s house. More than a third of the district’s students are Asian-American.

    Amid the chaos, one thing has remained clear: A large share of the city’s public school students are unlikely to see the inside of their classrooms this academic year.

    The district has set dates in mid-to-late April to start bringing back elementary students and some high-needs older students, but there is no plan yet for the majority of middle or high school students to return. At the same time, all of the roughly 10,000 teachers and staff members in the district have been offered vaccinations.

    In the realm of education, the pandemic has reinforced the notion of a city divided by wealth and race. Around one-third of the city’s schoolchildren, many of them white, go to private schools, one of the highest rates of any major city in the United States. Many of those private-school students have been sitting in classrooms for months while public school students, who are disproportionately Black, Latino and Asian-American, have spent the year in virtual classes.

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    Scholastic Halts Distribution of Book by ‘Captain Underpants’ Author

    A children’s graphic novel by the creator of the popular “Captain Underpants” series was pulled from circulation last week by its publisher, which said that it “perpetuates passive racism.”

    Scholastic said last week that it had halted distribution of the book, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future,” originally published in 2010. The decision was made with “the full support” of its author, Dav Pilkey, the company said, adding that it had removed the book from its website and had stopped fulfilling orders for it.

    “Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism,” the publisher said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake.”


    The graphic novel, which purports to have been written and illustrated by characters from the “Captain Underpants” series, follows Ook and Gluk, who live in the fictional town of Caveland, Ohio, in 500,001 B.C. The characters are pulled through a time portal to the year 2222, where they meet Master Wong, a martial arts instructor who teaches them kung fu.

    The New York Times children’s series best-seller list for 240 weeks. In a letter posted on his YouTube channel on Thursday, Mr. Pilkey said he had “intended to showcase diversity, equality and nonviolent conflict resolution” with “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk,” about “a group of friends who save the world using kung fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy.”

    “But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery,” Mr. Pilkey wrote. “I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people.”

    Mr. Pilkey declined to comment through Scholastic. He and his wife, he wrote on YouTube, planned to donate his advance and all of his royalties from the novel’s sales to a variety of organizations, including groups dedicated to stopping violence and hatred against Asians and to promoting diversity in children’s books and publishing.

    “I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone,” he wrote. “I apologize, and I pledge to do better.”

    a man opened fire at three massage businesses in and near Atlanta, killing eight people, including six women of Asian descent. In the last year, nearly 3,800 hate incidents were reported against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

    Activists and elected officials have said that these attackers were fueled by former President Donald J. Trump’s frequent use of racist language to refer to the coronavirus.

    Earlier this month, the estate of Dr. Seuss announced that six of his books would no longer be published because they contained depictions of groups that were “hurtful and wrong.” The decision prompted complaints about “cancel culture” from prominent conservatives.

    Scholastic said it was pulling “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” shortly after Billy Kim, a Korean-American father of two children, ages 5 and 7, started a petition on demanding an apology from the publisher after he borrowed the book from a library.

    “I realized the book relied upon multiple instances of racist imagery and stereotypical tropes,” he wrote in a message accompanying the petition.

    He said these included a kung fu master wearing traditional clothing, Asian characters with dashes for eyes, the use of stereotypical Chinese proverbs, and a story line in which the kung fu master is rescued by non-Asian protagonists using skills he taught them.

    “How is it in the last 10 years nobody said anything about it?” Mr. Kim, of Manhasset, N.Y., said in an interview.

    Mr. Kim said he contacted Scholastic and spoke with a senior executive there, and he later spoke with Mr. Pilkey by videoconference for about 40 minutes. Mr. Pilkey, he said, apologized to him and his older son.

    While Mr. Kim was glad the book was being pulled, he wrote that “the damage has been done.”

    “Every child who has read this book has been conditioned to accept this racist imagery as ‘OK’ or even funny,” he wrote.

    Cristina Rhodes, an English professor at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, said that Scholastic should have been aware of the racially insensitive imagery in the book a decade ago.

    Stereotypical images and tropes can give young readers a distorted view of certain groups, Professor Rhodes said — as with Asians in this case. “Children see themselves reflected in books,” she said.

    Lara Saguisag, an English professor specializing in children’s and young adult literature at the College of Staten Island, said she was surprised to see these images from Mr. Pilkey, who she said had energized children and appealed to “reluctant readers” by teaching them to love books and reading.

    “I think it’s part of the alarm about these books because it’s been going under the radar,” she said.

    Professor Saguisag said she hoped that Scholastic and other publishers would evaluate other books for racially insensitive imagery.

    “As long as profit is at the center, I feel like these such acts of pulling books from bookshelves will be the exception rather than the rule,” she added. “I hope I’m proven wrong.”

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    Broadcasting ‘the Shock, the Horror, the Outrage’ Live, Again and Again

    Last week, the CNN anchor Brianna Keilar found herself, for the second time in under a week, guiding viewers through the grim ritual of trying, and failing, to make sense of another mass shooting.

    This time, it was 10 people dead at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Only a few days before, she had interviewed a survivor of the rampage at Atlanta-area massage parlors. In 2019, Ms. Keilar reported on the back-to-back shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. In 2018, she spoke with relatives of students killed in the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

    Broadcast journalists like Ms. Keilar, 40, have now spent the bulk of their reporting careers chronicling an unending, uniquely American horror show: the random gun massacre. She was CNN’s first journalist to arrive on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007. And she was a college freshman in 1999, watching the network’s coverage of a catastrophe at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

    All this was running through Ms. Keilar’s mind on Tuesday when, on-air, she paused after a correspondent’s report about Rikki Olds, the 25-year-old Boulder supermarket manager who was murdered. “I just wonder, can you count how many times you’ve covered a story like this?” she asked, her voice catching. “Have you lost count?”

    many New York Times reporters, turn to as they travel to yet another afflicted town. Talk to those who knew the victims and the gunman; attend vigils and funerals; gather information from the police and the courts. Balance necessary reporting on the attack with the potential that too much attention could be seen as glorifying the attacker.

    “I call it the checklist: the shock, the horror, the outrage,” Lester Holt, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” said in an interview. “It’s all so familiar, and everybody knows the role to play and the questions to answer and how these things play out. Because sadly, they are very predictable.”

    Mr. Holt, who has reported on shootings in El Paso; Las Vegas; Newtown, Conn.; Orlando; Santa Fe, Texas; San Bernardino, Calif.; and Sutherland Springs, Texas — a lengthy but by no means exhaustive list — said he was considering this month’s violence in Colorado and Georgia in light of the country’s slow return to normal from the coronavirus pandemic.

    “Shootings,” he said, “are part of what normalcy looks like in this country, sadly.”

    Journalists who reported on Columbine may not have considered how routine the event they were covering would become. For his book on the shooting, “Columbine,” Dave Cullen analyzed media coverage and found that in the immediate aftermath of the Littleton attack, network news shows broadcast more than 40 segments, CNN and Fox News notched historically high ratings, and The Times mentioned Columbine on its front pages for nearly two straight weeks.

    Mr. Cullen, in an interview, said he believed that reporters had absorbed useful lessons since that first episode. “In 1999, everything we heard, we took as gospel; conjecture turned to fact very quickly,” he said.

    After Columbine, news organizations were quick to formalize what Mr. Cullen called “myths” about the shooting: that the killers were bullied Goth kids taking revenge on popular jocks. Much of that narrative came from faulty sourcing, and Mr. Cullen said he saw journalists now being more cautious about reaching premature conclusions about an assailant’s motivations. “We take things with a grain of salt,” he said. “There was no salt in 1999.”

    Reporters have learned to spend more time focusing on victims, rather than perpetrators. It was a shift that played out vocally on social media, as readers on Twitter implored news organizations to focus more on the people who were killed in the Atlanta shootings, as well as the uptick in crimes against Asian-Americans, rather than the gunman’s supposed motive.

    Mr. Cullen recalled a journalism conference in 2005 where he raised the notion that reporters should refrain from focusing too much on the gunman. “I practically got shouted off the stage,” he said. “Now, when I mention the names of a shooter from an older case on television, I will get angry tweets from people. The public expectation has changed.”

    Journalists are usually expected to set their feelings aside as they gather disinterested facts about a tragic event. But it’s not always possible, and Mr. Holt said that it was important to “report these things as unusual, as not normal.”

    “I think it’s OK to be a little pissed off,” Mr. Holt, of “NBC Nightly News,” said. “As a journalist, it’s not an editorial position to be upset or angry at mass murder, of people going about their day, shopping, getting cut down by a stranger. It’s OK to be upset about that.”

    Gayle King, the “CBS This Morning” anchor, described an experience of feeling “like you’re kicked in the gut once again.”

    “We almost know how this story is going to go,” she said, invoking a phrase she attributed to Steve Hartman, a CBS colleague: “We’re going to mourn, we’re going to pray, we’re going to repeat.”

    “My worry is that we are getting desensitized,” she added. “I don’t want us to get desensitized to it.”

    And some reporters have to endure it, and report on it, repeatedly in their own communities.

    Chris Vanderveen, 47, was there as a young reporter in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting. He was there to report on the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. And he had to lead a team of reporters during the Boulder shooting on Monday.

    “When I was in journalism school I thought I’d be covering other things,” Mr. Vanderveen, the director of reporting at KUSA, Denver’s NBC affiliate, said in an interview.

    He recalled painful lessons that he and his colleagues took from the Columbine shooting. Several reporters who covered that event developed close ties with people in the community, including parents of the victims. He said that helped them ask an important question: “What can we learn as journalists about not adding to the grief?”

    After Aurora, KUSA invited family members of victims to the station. They were not there for an interview. “No story, no nothing,” he said. “Just to help us with our coverage.”

    Mr. Vanderveen said that through those conversations, the station decided not to show the same mug shot of the gunman over and over again. And he said he continued to consider the role the news media played in potentially inspiring future killers. “I worry that there are people out there that for a variety of reasons may want recognition, and then they see this heavy emphasis on an individual who keeps getting his picture shown,” he said.

    On Monday, Mr. Vanderveen was in a meeting about an investigative story when word came from a producer: There had been gunshots at a grocery store in Boulder. Grim experience quickly kicked in.

    “Every journalist goes through tough stories,” he said. “We are not alone with it. It’s just unfortunate that we’ve had in Colorado, a number of these, that have given us, for lack of a better term, training in how to try to deal with these things. But it’s still going to be awful.”

    His team of reporters may be among the few people in the news media covering the aftermath of the massacre, which he knows from experience will be a difficult assignment. After Columbine, national reporters stayed in the area for months. After Aurora, they stayed for a few weeks, he said. He suspects it will only be a matter of days before national news outlets leave Boulder.

    “Maybe the country is tired of them,” he said. “I’m tired of them. If I never got to cover one of these damn things again, I’ll be fine.”

    “But nothing changes,” he added. “That’s what drives me nuts. Nothing changes.”

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    Atlanta Spa Shootings Reverberate Across South Korea, Long a U.S. Ally

    SEOUL—The killings happened more than 7,000 miles away. But for many South Koreans, the Atlanta-area spa shootings hit close to home. “The Victims Were Korean Mothers,” read a headline Sunday from the country’s largest newspaper.

    Of the eight people who died, six were women of Asian descent—including four who have been identified as ethnic Koreans, ranging in age from 51 years old to 74. One was a South Korean citizen.

    The rampage in Georgia has reverberated across this nation of 52 million, which in the decades since the Korean War has had a deep and enduring relationship with the U.S. The two are allies and share close cultural ties.

    It can often seem like every Korean knows someone with relatives or friends living in the U.S. South Korea sends more of its children to study in America than in any other foreign country.

    Lee Myung-kyu, a 55-year-old office worker, said he knows many South Korean families who have dreamed of immigrating to the U.S., hoping for a better life. His own daughter wants to go to school in America. But Mr. Lee said he now has doubts.

    “I keep thinking about whether something like this could happen to her,” Mr. Lee said.

    Demonstrators Call for End to Anti-Asian Violence in U.S.

    Protests and vigils urging an end to violence against Asian-Americans were held around the country on Saturday.

    Hundreds gathered Saturday in San Francisco’s Chinatown, calling for an end to violence against Asian-Americans. Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in a shooting spree in the Atlanta area on Tuesday.

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    1 of 11

    Local police say the white man from Georgia charged with murder in the case said he was driven by what he called a sex addiction. Authorities say they are investigating whether the killings were racially motivated.

    The attack has sparked fear at the same time police and government officials in New York and other U.S. cities have said hate crimes against Asian-Americans have risen since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, which first emerged in China.

    Han Ye-rim, 32, said she has long idealized the U.S. as a diverse society. But staring at a victim list that looks much like herself, Ms. Han wonders how she would actually fare leaving Seoul.

    “Learning about the Atlanta incident was a wake-up call to me,” Ms. Han said. “I’m realizing that I can be targeted for being different if I leave this country.”

    What made the Atlanta rampage especially jarring was how good South Koreans, and Korean-Americans, had been feeling lately about their standing in the U.S.

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Korea on their first foreign trip. Barely a year ago, the South Korean film “Parasite” emerged with an unprecedented Best Picture win at the Academy Awards. BTS, the Korean pop band, had recently performed at the Grammys and topped Billboard’s album charts.

    People rallied on Saturday in Atlanta.

    Photo: shannon stapleton/Reuters

    Meanwhile, South Koreans had rushed to the local box office to see the U.S. film “Minari,” which depicts a new Korean immigrant family in rural Arkansas and was itself just nominated for several Oscars.

    “It’s really a weird kind of dichotomy,” said Abraham Kim, executive director for the Council of Korean Americans, a Washington-based nonprofit group, with celebrations of pop culture on the one hand and what he described as Asians “being targeted for violence on the other.”

    South Korean media has given widespread coverage to the Atlanta shootings. In a Thursday editorial, Kyunghyang Shinmun, a left-leaning newspaper, called American society “defenseless to racist attacks.” Another outlet, the right-leaning Segye Ilbo, urged the U.S. to take “effective measures so that crimes against humanity do not take root.”

    On Friday, President Biden, saying that the investigation is still under way, mourned the victims and declared that “hate can have no safe harbor in America.”

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in has described the Atlanta killings as shocking.

    Photo: Jewon Heon-kyun/Associated Press

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called the Atlanta killings shocking, while the country’s foreign ministry supported the U.S. government’s efforts to stand against hatred and violence. “Such a crime is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the foreign ministry said in a Saturday statement.

    Walking with a friend just blocks from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, where the American flag continues to fly at half-staff in honor of the shooting victims, Yoon Ji-a recalled living in California during her youth. Her parents had a few brushes with racism, she said. But the events in Atlanta caught her by surprise.

    “It’s scary,” said Ms. Yoon, a 20-year-old college student.

    There are about 1.8 million Korean-Americans, according to the U.S. figures. The biggest Korean populations are in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., according to Pew Research Center figures, analyzing U.S. data. Atlanta ranks seventh-largest.

    Jean Lee has two children living in the U.S., though she hadn’t learned of the Atlanta-area shootings until local media began broadcasting coverage of the weekend protests and vigils across nearly two dozen American cities. Now the 48-year-old fears her children could be targeted.

    “A lot of hate speech surfaced when people began calling the coronavirus the ‘Wuhan virus’ and it’s unfortunate that this issue came to light because of the shootings,” Ms. Lee said. “It feels late for Asians who have been experiencing discrimination for so long.”

    Jenna Lee, a 25-year-old online shopping-mall owner, said she lived in Atlanta for two years as a teenager. In recent days, she said, she watched “Minari,” with its tale of struggling immigrants, and it prompted her to wonder whether Asian-Americans would be forever foreign and forever invisible.

    “Asians are more than just people trying to assimilate into American society,” Ms. Lee said. And in her view, she said, “the shootings show how vulnerable we are to discrimination.”

    Write to Timothy W. Martin at and Dasl Yoon at

    Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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    Georgia Attacks Prompt a Muted Reaction in Asia

    HONG KONG — When six of the eight victims of this week’s shootings at Atlanta-area spas were confirmed to be of Asian descent, the news reopened wrenching debates in the United States about anti-Asian violence, bigotry and misogyny.

    In East Asia itself, the public conversations about the violence played out with far less intensity.

    The South Korean consulate in Atlanta has said that four of the people who died in the attacks on three massage parlors on Tuesday were of Korean descent. The two others of Asian descent are believed to have been of Chinese descent.

    In both countries, which have low rates of violent crime and strict bans on guns, the murders were shocking but not surprising, given the frequent reports of gun violence and racially motivated crimes in the United States.

    reported by Korean media outlets.

    On social media, some users in South Korea expressed concern for friends or relatives in the United States. Others tagged posts with the hashtag #stopAsianHate.

    “I am deeply saddened by the events that took place in Atlanta, Georgia, two days ago,” Choi Si-won, a member of popular K-pop group Super Junior, wrote on Instagram. “I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I would like to use my platform and emphasize this is an issue that needs to be addressed NOW and that ignoring it won’t help us.”

    Other South Korean users pushed back against the comments by a law enforcement official in Georgia, who said after the attacks — using the gunman’s own words — that the man’s actions were “not racially motivated” but caused by “sexual addiction.”

    video of an elderly woman of Asian descent in San Francisco who beat up a man who had tried to attack her.

    killings of Chinese students in the U.S., where many Chinese families still aspire to send their children to be educated.

    But there is little public discussion in Asia about concepts that often dominate conversations about race in the United States, including cultural appropriation and unconscious bias.

    Hu Zhaoying, a university student in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, said the general lack of empathy for the Atlanta victims in China was not surprising.

    “Some people don’t know about such incidents; some people choose to ignore them after seeing them; and some people are unable to empathize,” she said.

    Mike Ives reported from Hong Kong and Amy Qin from Taipei. Youmi Kim contributed reporting from Seoul, and Claire Fu contributed research from Beijing.

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    There Is No Rung on the Ladder That Protects You From Hate

    In nearly a dozen conversations this past week with scholars, activists and historians, the sadness and grief around this inflection point was clear — as was the recognition of how starkly divided two professional paths for Asian immigrants in this country have been.

    The Asian-American story has been a complicated narrative. There are the restaurant workers and massage therapists nested in metropolitan enclaves, but there are also the high achievers attending elite schools who end up in well-compensated careers. Often one generation of immigrants in service jobs raises the next generation of corporate strivers. In this moment, though, as the population grows, the groups are becoming increasingly isolated from one another.

    In the aftermath of a summer of protests for racial justice and increasing awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, corporate employees of color, including Asians, are demanding equity and inclusion, which would put an end to a white-dominated culture. The workers in spas and nail salons don’t have the luxury to even think about that; they are more vulnerable to the whims of their white clientele. In a nation already divided by politics, religion and income, here is a community divided within itself.

    But the “kung flu” pandemic — the xenophobic language, fueled by President Donald J. Trump, that added hate crimes to a deadly disease and the rest of the list of things for Asian-Americans to fear this past year — may be gradually bringing people together.

    Last year, reported hate crimes against people of Asian descent in New York City jumped 833 percent from 2019. Nearly 3,800 hate incidents, which range from name-calling to assault, against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders were reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a group that has collected data for the last year. (The number could be higher because not all incidents were reported.) Sixty-eight percent of those incidents were reported by women.

    As the country reeled from the all-too-familiar scenes of mass shootings in Atlanta, especially killings that may have targeted people because of their race and gender, some scholars recalled an earlier death. In 1982, Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American, was beaten to death by two white men at a time of rising tensions over Japanese dominance in the auto market. The killers, who insisted the attack was not racially motivated, were sentenced to three years of probation.

    The fact that the men did not serve jail time sent tremors through Asian communities. Activists formed civil rights groups to protest.

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