An Asian family in Oakdale, Minnesota was on the receiving end of an extreme act of hatred.
The Xiongs, who are of Hmong descent, found the racial slur “chinks” spray painted across their garage on Sunday, the Oakdale Police Department confirmed.
While the incident has been written up as criminal damage to property, it’s currently under investigation, police Capt. Karin LaTour told the Huffington Post. However, there are no suspects at this time.
“We don’t have words to describe how we feel,” Linda Xiong, who lives with her siblings and parents in the house, told WCCO of the incident.
She explained to the outlet that a newspaper delivery person had woken the family up early that day to alert them of the offensive graffiti. According to a police report, the spray painting had taken place in the early morning hours, shortly after another car in the area had been vandalized.
The family was shocked by the incident as they’d just moved to the area and were excited to live in a larger home.
“We just moved in two months ago [and] haven’t done anything wrong to anyone,” family member TL Xiong wrote on Facebook.
"We all have to acknowledge that racism has been going on [for] more than hundreds of years before our grandparents, parents and now including my very own generation."
He later called on people to recognize the role that racism played in the incident.
“We all have to acknowledge that racism has been going on [for] more than hundreds of years before our grandparents, parents and now including my very own generation.”
Luckily, the family has been flooded with messages of support. Some people have even offered to donate funds to help cover the costs of the damage, which the family has declined, another Facebook post from TL indicated. The Xiongs’ neighbors visited them on the day of the incident, leaving the family touched by their compassion.
“They came and they knocked on our door and said they were very sorry. And our neighbor, his name is Pat, he was helping us,” Linda told WCCO. “He was already cleaning our garage.”
Hate crimes directed at the Asian community have been on the rise ― particularly since the election cycle kicked off. And the problem is widespread nationwide. In 2015, Los Angeles saw an uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes, with the majority targeting people of Chinese descent. Nonprofit AAAJ-Los Angeles said it suspects it’s a result of Trump painting China as the “foreign enemy,” while on the campaign trail.
And another report by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) revealed that acts of hate targeting South Asians have risen to post-9/11 levels. An especially large spike in hate violence and xenophobic rhetoric has been observed in the American South.