By: Kerry Garrett
Earlier this month, an 18-year-old IU Bloomington student was repeatedly stabbed in the head when exiting a public bus. The student’s assailant freely admitted to the police that it was on account of the victim “being Chinese”.
Billie Davis, aged 56, specifically targeted this young and completely unsuspecting student with blatantly racist and hateful motivations. The attacker expressed no remorse, even stating in the affidavit that it would be “one less person to blow up our country.” Even when taking this into account, Davis was initially only charged with aggravated battery.
The hate crime laws in Indiana thus far have not been as solid as other states’, nor protective of the minorities vulnerable to them. This recent case has given a new urgency to refining and developing these laws in order to legally recognize these targeted attacks and administer appropriate punishment. Davis’ charges were later changed to aggravated battery, battery by means of a deadly weapon, and attempted murder.
However, this is still not the end of it. Racism against Asian people has seen a notable incline since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This hostility and violence has not been limited to only Chinese people, but many other people of East-Asian descent as well.
This kind of bigotry and other race-related aggressions, implicit or explicit, can very easily be denied and overlooked by someone who does not experience them. This is why it is important to listen and be aware.
Racism is not a dated concept. In fact, the reason that these systems of corruption have prevailed so long throughout this nation’s history is because they tend to undergo metamorphoses to survive within the changing culture. Many displays of racism today are not as clear-cut and easy to identify. These kinds of biases exist both in institutions and individuals, and it is important to acknowledge and eradicate them, in order to move onto a better future.
The victim was hospitalized after the attack. IU Bloomington released a statement following the attack and will hold groups to help community members process the news with their Asian Culture Center.