Roberts disturbed by rise in anti-Asian hate

March 19th, 2021

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the second time in as many weeks, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is once again speaking out against the rising trend of hate and harassment against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has increased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Roberts, the son of a Japanese mother and Black father, sent an email to the entire organization two weeks ago in order to raise awareness about the increasing harassment toward the community.

Earlier this week in Atlanta, an armed man went on a rampage at three different spas, where he shot nine people. Eight of them were killed. Six of them were identified as Asian, and seven were women. At least four of those killed were of Korean descent.

“Anger,” Roberts said, when asked what his emotions were after the hate crime in Atlanta. “I’m saddened by it. It just keeps happening. Something’s got to be done and more things have gotta be said about it to bring awareness and make it stop.”

The killings and rising bias, violence and harassment against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community are on the mind of Dodgers pitching prospect Mitch White, who is of Korean descent.

“These last few months have been tough, and then culminating in the murders in Atlanta, which were terrible,” White said. “Knowing what my mom had to go through to make it, and her family as well, it’s tough to see other people being persecuted for that. Hopefully some good can come out of this in terms of awareness and solidarity from the majority of good people, I think, in this country.”

As reported in The Athletic last week, Roberts was initially alerted of the growing issue in a Facebook post by professional basketball player Jeremy Lin. Alarmed by the latest incidents, Roberts and Dodgers traveling secretary Scott Akasaki, who is Japanese American, worked together on an email to the entire organization.

“We’re all aware of it, and it was just something that was on my heart that I felt needed to be shared,” Roberts said.

The hate crime in Atlanta is the worst, but far from the only ugly incident over the last few months. In San Francisco, an 84-year-old Thai-American man died from injuries when he was pushed to the sidewalk. In New York, a 61-year-old Filipino-American man was slashed in the face while riding the subway, among many others.

As the issue grew in scope and severity, the Dodgers released the following statement on March 9:

“Over the last year, there has been a sharp increase in violence and hate crimes against Asian-Americans across the United States. This bigotry and hatred has no place in our society and to be clear, the Dodger organization condemns this widespread xenophobic violence and intolerance. Such bullying is nothing short of cowardice.

“Besides Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers have a legacy of pioneering Asian All-Star players like Hideo Nomo (Japan), Chan Ho Park (Korea), and Hong-Chih Kuo (Taiwan).

“In addition, the Dodgers have had more players of Asian ancestry than any other Major League Baseball team. Of course, we have an extremely diverse fan base fueled by the largest Asian-American population in the United States. Dodger Stadium has always been a common ground for all.

“The Dodgers stand with every American who knows that our nation’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. We are proud that the Dodgers family spans the globe and welcomes people of every background. We all have responsibility to call out and act against racism, and the work toward a more just, equitable and loving nation -- not only during moments of protest but always.”

MLB put out its own statement on Feb. 25, which read, "Across the country, there has been an alarming increase in hate crimes directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. These acts -- based on racist ideologies, xenophobia and ignorance -- have no place in our society or in our communities. It is our shared responsibility to root out this insidious hate with empathy and understanding. We condemn these targeted acts of violence and commit to taking action as we stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. #StopAsianHate."

These are among the resources for those who have experienced harassment and violence:

Stand Against Hatred: An incident reporting center by Asian American Advancing Justice.

Stop AAPI Hate: An incident reporting center managed by Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University.

Counseling and Mental Health Services: A resource for coping with anti-Asian racism and COVID-19 by Harvard University.