An Asian immigrant attacked on the streets of New York died the other night. Yao Pan Ma, 61 years old, was collecting bottles and cans for the cash deposits in April 2021, when he was set upon by a man who threw him to the ground and stomped repeatedly on his head. The Asian man suffered severe head trauma and died from his injuries in early January of 2022.
Crimes against Asians are not common compared to other minority groups but have been trending upwards after many years of decline. They bottomed out in 2015 and 2016 and have risen in every year since.
The attackers of Asians had historically been White people but in recent years, Black people have been committing a greater percentage of the racist attacks. From 2004 to 2011, Whites committed 4.9 times as many anti-Asian attacks as Blacks, close to the White-to-Black population ratio. However, from 2012 through 2019, Whites committed 2.5 times as many attacks as Black people – roughly half of the rate of the prior eight year period.
The New York Times reported on the death of the Asian immigrant on January 10, 2022, tucked inside its National section. It included no pictures, and interestingly, declined to mention that the killer of the Asian man was a Black man.
The Times was clear that the attack was considered a hate crime by the police, and mentioned the attacker’s name and age. But not his race. The paper has written often about the spike in anti-Asian attacks over the past two years, but only mentioned the race of the attacker if the person was White.
Racism and hate crimes are terrible, and should be clearly called out. However, when the media only does so when attackers are White and deliberately omits doing so when the attacker is Black is worse than #AlternativeFacts. It is absolution via omission, a tacit blessing to the heinous acts for a select group of Americans.