“The Revolutionary Column” is our monthly series by raptivist Bella BAHHS, where she spits revolutionary commentary on politics and pop culture.

White men are sick. Robert Aaron Long has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault in connection with the string of Atlanta-area spa shootings that claimed the lives of six Asian women on March 16. The 21-year-old told police that he had a sexual addiction and believed murdering the women at the massage parlors he frequented in the past would stop his temptation. Sick.

White male supremacy is a deadly virus. The white community ought to be ashamed of itself. Long was raised by a white Christian family and was very active in the white Baptist church in their white town. His community made him ashamed of his sexual desires and preferences. His community made him love guns. His community made him fetishize Asian women. His community made a serial killer. America raises white men to be armed and dangerous.

When Long wasn’t undergoing treatment for his sexual addiction, he enjoyed deer hunting and youth ministry and Christian missionary work, according to The Washington Post. He wasn’t a cop, but he seemed like the type to join the force, fancying himself a white savior sent by God. 

The effort to defund the police is really a desperate attempt to get these home-bred, emotionally unstable terrorists out of our communities. 

The occupation—neighborhood watch coordinator, police, federal agent, prosecutor, judge, corrections officer, parole officer, probation officer, warden, president or missionary—is just a manifestation of the actual problem: White men and their need to occupy. It’s horrifying living in a country where you have every reason to suspect every white man you encounter of being a fatal threat.

Black Americans know this threat all too well. Our knowing provided the impetus for the Movement for Black Lives, which acknowledges anti-Asian hate as a form of anti-Blackness. We know you can’t “stop Asian hate” without first eradicating anti-Blackness. 

White supremacy relies on a practice and process of ethnic othering that begins with two binaries: white and Black. Now is the time for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to listen and learn from Black Americans, without co-opting or hijacking the resistance movement. 

To be frank, when I hear anyone saying “stop Asian hate,” it sounds a little “all lives matter” to me. There’s a false narrative rapidly spreading and positioning the AAPI community as the most hated and most vulnerable racial group in the U.S., and I don’t like that. It’s nonsensical that white media outlets are calling on Black people to be better allies to Asian Americans.

Original headline on NBC News website following the recent string of Asian spa shootings in the Atlanta area.
After receiving backlash on social media, NBC News changed the headline.

Sure, Black-Asian coalition building is absolutely necessary to defeat our common enemy: White male supremacy. But to center the experiences of Asians, an anti-Black “model minority,” in the fight against white male supremacy is counterrevolutionary — and for Black people, suicidal. Where there is subordination, there can be no solidarity.

Although we feel deep empathy for the AAPI community, it is not our responsibility as Black Americans to extend ourselves to support a group that benefits from and is complicit in our oppression. Our support is a mercy, not a mandate.

Asian Americans should be inspired to be better allies to us as they grow to realize that, despite our differences, Black Americans have shown up to defend Asians and their rights to life and liberty since at least 1869, when renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave his “Composite Nation” speech, in which he delivered a moving argument in favor of Chinese immigration to America. 

Meanwhile, it’s 2021 and I can’t get this specific image out of my head: Asian-American Minneapolis Police Department Officer Tou Thao stood watch while then-Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes before killing him. 

And I don’t know how many viral videos I’ve seen in recent years showing Asian male store owners and managers violently attacking Black women they’ve accused of stealing or otherwise disrespecting their business. 

Black Chicagoans were literally just boycotting Asian-owned beauty supply stores and nail salons on the South Side for perpetrating violence against Black women patrons— the same Black women who generate billions of dollars every year for the Korean-run Black hair industry.

While white supremacy barred Black Americans from owning and operating our own businesses, it allowed Korean and other Asian immigrants to open up shop in our “economically disadvantaged” communities. So, yes, white people created the conditions for Black-Asian tension, but that doesn’t absolve the Asian-American community from any accountability for choosing to treat African Americans as cash cows and criminals instead of comrades.

The Asian-American community encompasses a lot of different ethnicities and various cultures that I won’t pretend to know a whole lot about, but still— I said what I said. 

“African American” isn’t a monolith either. And even though I’d never want to be known as the “model minority,” characterized as reserved and opposed to resistance in the face of white domination, I know the trope works to privilege all Asian Americans over all African Americans.

Asian Americans are the highest-earning racial and ethnic group in the U.S. Yep, collectively they’ve amassed more wealth than the whites in this country—although they also have the widest intraracial income gap. 

So while there’s crazy rich Asians, many of whom arrived in the U.S. with skill-based visas, there’s also devastatingly poor Asians who arrived as refugees and end up working in places such as massage parlors and nail salons. It seems to me that those on the lower end of the income spectrum need to be calling on their wealthy counterparts to be better AAPI allies.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21, marking the day South African police killed 69 peaceful protestors at a demonstration against apartheid in 1960. On this year’s #FightRacism Day, the New York Times published an article about a Latino man who survived the shooting at Young’s Asian Massage, only to be racially profiled, handcuffed and detained by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office for four hours while his wife, Delaina Yaun, laid dying.

This tragic shooting and its aftermath highlight two things: no one in the U.S. is exempt from the fight against white male supremacy and no one in the U.S. is safer when police respond to crimes against us. 

The AAPI community, the Black community, the Latino community, the Native American community and the white liberal community have been called to action to collectively confront racial discrimination, sexism, economic inequality and police ineptitude. We all have plenty of work to do within our own respective communities, and that’s where each of us should start. 

Then we should all meet up on the frontlines at the next Movement for Black Lives protest, where the most marginalized among us are centered but all are welcome, to convene as co-conspirators in common cause against white male supremacy. See you there, revolutionaries.

(Black Ancestors Here Healing Society) is a Chicago-based raptivist and revolutionary, nationally known for making sedition irresistible through her art, activism and advocacy.