In an official statement released on Twitter this morning, Bandai Namco took a public stance against the spike of anti-Asian racism in the United States in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.
“As a company based in Japan, the recent rise in anti-Asian hate has truly hit home for our employees,” the tweet reads. It continues in an accompanying image: “We stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, our culturally diverse and inclusive team of employees, players and fans from all cultures and backgrounds, our families, and especially our elders, to speak out and raise awareness against the terrible rise in anti-Asian aggression and hate crimes.”
These comments, as well as similar statements from Microsoft and esports organization Andbox, are part of a growing campaign known as #StopAsianHate, organized in response to the rise of anti-Asian racism over the last year.
While pathetic assholes never really need a reason to treat people poorly, former President Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric concerning the covid-19 pandemic’s origins in China gave racists what they feel is carte blanche to attack Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
According to a report published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino earlier this month, anti-Asian hate crimes rose by 149% in 16 of the United States’ largest cities in 2020. These incidents range from blatant use of racial slurs to physical attacks, the latter of which have resulted in serious medical emergencies and even deaths.
It’s important that the video game industry at large comes to grips with this reality and does everything it can to provide a space that’s welcoming and supportive of people in the AAPI community. Public statements of solidarity are one thing, but it’s going to take real effort and concrete action to shine a light on the ugly anti-Asian sentiment that often seeps into gaming and call it out for what it is: a blight that shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere, for any reason.