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Conn. AG Tong Speaks At Anti-Asian Discrimination Summit

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Office of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
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Connecticut Attorney General William Tong

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said the perception of Asian Americans as meek and docile needs to be confronted. He told a summit of states attorneys general this week that such stereotypes are responsible for a rise in anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate crimes across the country.

Tong is leading a national effort against anti-AAPI hate. He said the stereotypes make it unsafe for many in the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.

“They are stereotypes of weakness, that you can prey upon us. And let’s talk about the stereotypes against Asian American and Pacific Islander women in particular. They are quiet. They don’t rock the boat. They are meek. They are submissive, through a racist lens highly objectified and sexualized,” Tong said.

He said it should come as no surprise that Asian-owned massage parlors were the target of the recent mass shooting in Georgia.

“The killer in Atlanta preyed upon six Asian American and Pacific Islander women. He didn’t go after six six-foot-five, 300-pound men. These stereotypes make us particularly unsafe,” Tong said.

Tong spoke at a conference he convened in Washington, D.C., with the National Association of Attorneys General. Several Asian American elected officials including members of Congress attended.

A bill that provides money to state and federal law enforcement agencies to help them identify and prosecute hate crimes against Asian Americans was passed by the U.S. Senate last month by a bipartisan vote of 94 to 1.

The bill also has money for a public education campaign about bias against people of Asian descent. It’s up for a vote in the U.S. House this month. President Joe Biden has promised to sign it into law.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.