On March 16th, three Atlanta spas were targeted in a shooting spree that left eight dead. Six of the victims were Asian women. On March 22nd, a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado was the target of a shooting that left ten dead, including an on-duty police officer. The very next day, 66-year-old Mohammad Anwar—an UberEats driver—was killed in Washington D.C. after an attempted carjacking turned into an automobile collision.
All three of these events were horrific. And, as an American, I mourn for the losses of my fellow citizens. I also remain frustrated with the mainstream media, which continues to utilize violent tragedies like these in order to serve its own divisive interests—rather than truly inform the public.
The Woke Media’s Blatant Disregard for Mohammad Anwar
Mohammad Anwar emigrated from Pakistan in 2014. He was making an UberEats delivery when he was allegedly assaulted by two teenage girls, ages 13 and 15. The girls had a stun gun and attempted to steal Anwar’s car. In the physical altercation that ensued, Anwar’s car switched gears, flew forward, and flipped over, causing Anwar to suffer fatal injuries. Anwar is survived by adult children and grandchildren.
In the truly horrific video footage of the crime scene, the suspects are visibly terrified as they step out of the capsized vehicle and run from the scene. However, it seems that the girls’ terror is not from the gruesome, violent crash that they’ve just caused. Rather than acknowledge the fatally injured Anwar lying on the street, one of the girls expresses concern over herphone being left in the car.
The reader would be forgiven for assuming that such a heinous crime committed against an Asian-American would further ignite the flames of #StopAsianHate advocacy. After all, Anwar’s death follows a broader trend of Asian Americans being targets of violence. NBC News recently highlighted startling statistics: 3,800 anti-Asian incidents occurred this past year, most of which targeted Asian women. The New York Timesreported five new possible anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City. And the “Stop Asian Hate” movement continues to sweep across the country.
However, following Anwar’s death, the loudest sound from the woke media was that of crickets. While The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC published a plethora of racialized articles breaking down the Atlanta shootings, the mainstream media hardly covered the tragedy of Anwar’s death.
Why is this the case? According to the woke media, only white people are capable of committing hate crimes. And in the case of Anwar’s death, the suspects are not white.
The media eagerly pounces on the supposedly “racist” motivations of any white killer, but it becomes strangely hesitant to play this same race card when crimes are committed by non-white perpetrators. According to the mainstream media, crimes are only anti-Asian when they’re committed by white people. The woke media possesses an agenda; it engages in selective outrage, in order to promote disdain for anything representative of “whiteness.”
To be clear, I’m not calling for Anwar’s death to be defined as a racist hate crime. Nor, however, will I impulsively define the Atlanta spa shootings in that manner. Before I choose to make or reject such conclusions, thorough legal investigations are necessary. I’m a believer in due process. And only through due process can Americans effectively expose and combat the true root of this new wave of violence, wherever that root may be found.
My argument is simple. Brutal killings are brutal killings. The legal and media responses to the criminal should be proportional to his crime, not responsive to his race. Moreover, the severity of a criminal’s punishment and media exposure should not be mitigated simply because he belongs to an ethnic minority.
The Wokesters’ Egregious Double Standards
In a now-deleted tweet following Anwar’s death, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser stated the following: “Auto theft is a crime of opportunity. Follow these steps to reduce the risk of your vehicle becoming a target. Remember the motto, #ProtectYourAuto.” Intentional or not, Bowser figuratively spit on Anwar’s dead body. One can only imagine the pushback she would confront had the races of those involved been reversed. Likely, she would have been forced to resign from her position.
Meanwhile, CNN referred to Anwar’s murder as an “accident.” Compare this weak word choice to CNN’s outraged follow-up article on the Atlanta shootings, in which CNN wrote that Asians are systematically “under attack” physically, verbally, and economically “from microaggressions to violence.” Had Anwar’s murderers been white, it can reasonably be assumed that CNN would have jumped at the opportunity to turn his death into a national news headline.
Examples of reverse racism don’t end with comparisons between mainstream media coverage of the Atlanta shootings and Anwar’s death. On the contrary, leftists’ impulsive, racialized outrage was also demonstrated in the aftermath of the Boulder shooting. In another now-deleted tweet, Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, wrote that the suspect in the Boulder shooting was white. Harris was quickly proven wrong; the suspect was revealed to be of Middle Eastern descent, which classifies as Asian.
Unsurprisingly, Harris wasn’t alone in her rhetoric. Other prominent leftist voices quickly assumed the race of the Boulder suspect, including Deadspin editor Julie DiCaro, activist Amy Siskind, and Hemal Jhaveri (who ironically serves as the “race and inclusion” editor for USA Today). Rather than wait for the facts to surface, leftists jumped at the opportunity to flood Twitter with more lamentations about the “inherent evils” of white men.
(Only Certain) Black and Asian Lives Matter
First, it was Black Lives Matter. Now, it’s “Stop Asian Hate.” Do black and Asian lives really matter to the woke media? Or do minorities only matter if their suffering and grievances advance a convenient narrative that paints white people as racist oppressors?
If all black lives really matter, then there should be legitimate outrage about the fact that Chicago has seen an uptick in homicides in the past three monthsalone. There have already been 155 homicides in the Windy City this year, following 744 last year. And more than half of the victims have been young, black men (when compared to 9 unarmed black men shot fatally by white police in 2019). Similarly, if all Asian lives really matter, then the mainstream media shouldn’t be disregarding the death of Mohammad Anwar, while tirelessly covering the Atlanta spa shootings through a racialized lens.
To be sure, the perpetrators of hate crimes, regardless of their race, should face the fullest extent of justice under the American legal system. And as an Asian-American who has dealt with both implicitly and explicitly racist remarks myself, I’m grateful that there’s finally a broader awareness of anti-Asian violence.
However, it’s also saddening to me that the “Black Lives Matter” and “Stop Asian Hate” movements come with racialized asterisks; to the mainstream media, black and Asian lives only matter when the criminals responsible for their deaths are white. Rather than boldly condemn all heinous crimes, the mainstream media selectively and jubilantly highlights crimes that promote its broader, partisan agenda.
For these reasons, if I end up being the victim of a crime, I know that the chances of garnering media attention will revolve solely around the race of the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is a white person, I’ll be on national news. I might even become a household name. But if the perpetrator isn’t a white person, I’ll be nothing more than a forsaken statistic.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.
Perry Zhao is an editor for the Chicago Thinker. He is currently a third-year in the College majoring in Economics and Philosophy and minoring in History. He hopes to attend law school after graduation and has co-authored a legal report cited by The Wall Street Journal. An amateur guitarist and avid runner, Perry ran the Chicago Half-Marathon in September.