Massage Parlor Shootings

After dropping off flowers Jesus Estrella stands in support of the Asian and Hispanic community outside Youngs Asian Massage parlor where four people were killed, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Acworth, Ga. A white gunman was charged Wednesday with killing eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors in an attack on Tuesday that sent terror through the Asian American community that’s increasingly been targeted during the coronavirus pandemic. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 

I read two op-eds (authored by Will Sutton and by Eugene Robinson) in The Advocate recently that heartened me. The past year has been a tumultuous time for many reasons, and the recent murders of Asian Americans at Asian places of business in Georgia have added yet another layer of tension and reckoning to how our society functions.

As a newcomer to Louisiana, I have little experience with the local community, but as a Vietnamese-American (half), I have long watched the Vietnamese-American community in Louisiana with interest. I want to take a moment to thank The Advocate and your writers for being willing to speak out against the murders and to identify them as acts of hate that fit in with a larger discussion of bias in the country.

Whatever the eventual legal charges and findings of this particular case, anti-Asian hate is a real thing. Sutton and Robinson are courageous to write about how Asian American and African American struggles are not mutually exclusive; by implication, they are pointing out that our numerous communities need to understand one another's history better if we are to build a better Louisiana and America.

Though they have long been here in Louisiana and throughout the United States, Vietnamese and other Asian Americans remain hesitant to draw attention to themselves. Some of this has to do with the immigrant — and refugee — thinking that we should simply be grateful and move on; some of it has to do with thinking that they will not be believed or heard. Thank you again for publishing views that believe what many Asian Americans have been saying for some time now.

JAMES NGUYEN H. SPENCER

professor

Baton Rouge