How Anti-Asian Activity Online Set the Stage for Real-World Violence

In January, a new group popped up on the messaging app Telegram, named after an Asian slur. Hundreds of people quickly joined. Many members soon began posting caricatures of Asians with exaggerated facial features, memes of Asian people eating dog meat and images of American soldiers inflicting violence during the Vietnam War. This week, after a gunman killed eight people — including six women of Asian descent — at massage parlors in and near Atlanta, the Telegram channel linked to a poll that asked, “Appalled by the recent attacks on Asians?” The top answer, with 84 percent of the vote, was that the violence was “justified retaliation for Covid.” ….[READ]