Responding to Atlanta

Today, I had planned to write another post in my series “How A Writer’s Craft Can Be a (more) Anti-Racist Textbook,” but after this week’s mass killing of mostly Asian-American women in Atlanta, I feel the need to respond first. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but it’s important when trying to teach in an anti-racist manner (and thus, when trying to write about that) to acknowledge current events and respond to racism whether it is in the national news or on campus.

Even though the news and public officials are still saying the shooter’s motives are unclear, it’s impossible not to see that there are racist motives involved. It may be true that other motives are also involved, but it can’t be ignored that the shooter targeted three Asian businesses and that one of the three was across town from the other two businesses. You only have to look at the map to know that this was a targeted attack. Statements from local police that seek to downplay the fact that this was a hate crime only serve to highlight the racism that allows a heinous crime like this to be conceivable.

Violence and threats against Asian-Americans have risen dramatically in the past year. It is important for everyone to stand up against this culture of hate and violence and stand for communities of color, as we have after the mass shooting in El Paso or with Black Lives Matter protests last summer. I don’t have answers, but to remain silent is to be part of the problem. Listen to our Asian-American leaders and members of your community and stand with them.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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