Mizuno: Why racism won’t ever go away

Abolishing the Second Amendment is our only option

Dane Mizuno, Staff Columnist

It has been more than two weeks since a gunman killed eight people and wounded one person in Atlanta. The shooter has since claimed that the motivation for these shootings was purely due to his sexual addiction. Hearing this set off my internal lie detector. 

Let’s be real here. It is incredibly foolish to think that this was not a hate crime targeting Asians. Six of the eight people killed were Asian women. The U.S. might be incompetent at preventing major shootings from happening time and time again, but we are not idiots who cannot tell illegitimate fallacies from fact. 

Nevertheless, this mass shooting in Atlanta was not the first instance of anti-Asian sentiment in action—which has been steadily increasing in prevalence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. No, anti-Asian American sentiment has always been there. These Atlanta shootings only exposed the issue at hand and raised the question of what it means to be Asian in America.

Fortunately, I am lucky enough to have grown up in the melting pot state of Hawaii, where cultural and ethnic differences are not discriminated against, but rather cherished. The cultural inclusiveness and majority status of Asians makes Hawaii an outlier in this world that we Asian Americans live in. However, in the continental U.S.—where Asians as a whole are in the minority—I have become disillusioned with the racial violence that seems to have been going on in perpetuity, and I question whether combating racial violence is even effective.

I am not saying we should not advocate for anti-racism and condemn such despicable racist actions, but in part, I think it is too naïve and idealistic to think that racism will ever go away. 

Perhaps, in the long-term future, it may be possible; since the Jim Crow era, we have made substantial strides in racial equality. But only after thousands of years when everyone is mixed race do I feel such a utopian society without racism will occur. However, for the time being, humans are always looking to find ways to divide each other. 

Since race is such an evident heterogeneous trait, it makes sense that this factor has become a big target to discriminate against. We’ve seen populist leaders across the world, from France’s Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump, adopt anti-immigration policies that target people based on race.  

However, even when people are similar in race, humans find a way to discriminate. Through the nineteenth and part of the twentieth centuries, Irish and Italian people were seen as inferior; nativist coalitions like the Know Nothings plagued these groups with violence and hate. In Latin America, the majority of people consider themselves as multiracial in heritage, yet those who are “less mixed” have a superiority complex. When race isn’t the root of discrimination, people defer to measuring the extent of ethnic mixture one has.  

Therefore, if we cannot change people’s mindset on how to look at race, then the only option left is to take away the means of executing such racial prejudices. That option is to outright abolish the Second Amendment. I do not mean this as an ideology for sedition or anything radical of that sort, but rather as a means of cementing public safety as our priority. Only then can we ensure that the tragedy of Atlanta does not repeat itself. 

During the formation of the Constitution, the Second Amendment was established so that local militias could ensure public safety by preventing any sort of attempt to overthrow the government—as seen in the infamous Shays’ Rebellion. Furthermore, at the time, farmers needed guns for hunting and protecting themselves during a time when most people lived in remote areas without police forces. Now, however, in a time when the U.S. has proper structures of law enforcement in place, the Second Amendment is simply obsolete.

It is time for the U.S. to follow in line with other countries in successfully combating mass shootings. My country, Japan, is a great case study to analyze. Japan has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world. This small island nation is so safe that it is a customary social norm for first graders to go on trains by themselves for a 30-minute commute to school. This amazing level of safety is in large part due to a 1958 law controlling the possession of firearms, effectively banning the possession and use of firearms. 

Out of a population of more than 120 million people, fewer than 271,000 people own guns. For prospective gun owners, police screening and psychological evaluations are beyond stringent. These individuals are even required to attend classes and pass written and practical exams regarding firearm safety. Such measures have worked remarkably as a major deterrent and have created a society in Japan where gun deaths are practically zero. 

Meanwhile, America’s gun homicide rate is horrifically 25 times higher than other high-income countries, at a staggering number of 19,223 deaths in 2020. With mass shootings making headlines weekly, it is time to try something new and follow Japan’s successful gun control model so we can finally end what has become a public menace. 

Maybe afterwards, we Asians won’t not have to worry about whether or not our mothers will come home safely after taking a trip to the spa.