Commentary: Pain and suffering in the Asian American community affect us all

Commentary: Pain and suffering in the Asian American community affect us all
March 24
12:18 2021

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

What does it mean to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper? Is that an expression that sounds good but has little to no meaning?

Are we so caught up these days in “me” that we cannot see someone else?

While some may think it strange, I believe we are responsible for each other. We should want what is best for each other in every way every day. This time-honored expression in my opinion has been stretched to the limits. We say it proudly, but we do not practice it.

If you are Black like me, your mind immediately goes to Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Both were killed by the police. If cooler heads had prevailed, their deaths could have been avoided.

Now another group in our beloved community is experiencing pain and death. Asian Americans are now the targets of violence and intolerance.

Sadly, there is a link to this violence with the Coronavirus. Reports say that since the pandemic, there has been a 150% increase in crimes against Asian Americans.

Unfortunately, some Americans have been calling the Coronavirus the China virus. Some of this distasteful and inflammatory rhetoric started with the previous administration. If you recall in his press conferences, Mr. T referred to the Coronavirus as such.

This dangerous assertion has caught on and now Asian Americans are in physical danger. And even more so, they are afraid. They are afraid to go out and to be seen.

Last week eight women of Asian descent were killed at three spas in the Atlanta area. These were senseless and mindless killings and did not have to happen.

The shooter was identified as Robert Aaron Long. He is 21 years of age. Long was arrested and reports say he was on the way to Florida to commit more killings. Robert Long is young and white.

There is growing speculation that this was a hate crime. Long counters and said he has a sex addition and that therefore was the reason for the killings.

Experts disagree with his statements.

Dr. Douglas Weiss, psychologist and president of the American Association for Sex Addiction therapy said, “Most sex addicts are not murderers or thieves or embezzlers or criminal types.” He added, “There is a difference between addiction and these types of behaviors.”

The sadness felt by these families is unspeakable. Hearts are broken and families are broken up.

These killings show us just how fragile and tenuous life is. We wake up and start our day, not knowing what lies ahead. These victims left their homes but did not return.

America, this is sad and tragic.

People come to this country filled with hope and enthusiasm. The axiom is that if you work hard and do what is right, then good things will happen for you.

What is the psychic of people who hate other people because of looks, national origin and religion? Maybe Robert Aaron Long can answer that question.

It is my opinion this was a crime of hate. Now, how does the nation pick up the shattered pieces again?

President Biden and Vice President Harris were in Atlanta last week. President Biden said, “The conversation we had today with the (Asian American and Pacific Islander) leaders, and that we’re hearing across the country is that hate and violence often hide in plain sight. It’s often met with silence.” 

America, we can no longer look the other way. This is us and we need to fix us.

Hate will not help us to be a better country, only love will. We cannot give in to hate. 

Let us give in to love.

James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years.  He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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