‘Speak out’: Biden, Harris decry racism against Asian Americans on visit to Atlanta

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Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. solace / ˈsɒl ɪs / (n.) – help and comfort in times of great sadness, disappointment, etc.

    After her father died, Gina found solace in writing poetry.

  2. denounce / dɪˈnaʊns / (v.) – to publicly criticize someone or something

    The protestors denounced the way the government was handling the crisis.

  3. scourge / skɜrdʒ / (n.) – a person or thing that causes great harm, trouble, or suffering

    Many people have suffered the scourge of unemployment because of the pandemic.

  4. heart-wrenching / ˈhɑrt ˈrɛn tʃɪŋ / (adj.) – extremely sad or miserable

    The end of the movie is absolutely heart-wrenching; I cry every time I watch it.

  5. stand by / stænd baɪ / (phrasal v.) – to just watch and do nothing while someone needs help or while something bad is happening

    Don’t just stand by! Go over there and help him!


Read the text below.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris offered solace to Asian Americans and denounced the scourge of racism as they visited Atlanta, just days after a white gunman killed eight people, most of them Asian American women.

Addressing the nation after a roughly 80-minute meeting with Asian American state legislators and other leaders March 19, Biden said it was “heart-wrenching” to listen to their stories of the fear among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders amid what he called a “skyrocketing spike” of harassment and violence against them. He called on all Americans to stand up to bigotry when they see it.

“The president and I will not be silent. We will not stand by. We will always speak out against violence, hate crimes and discrimination, wherever and whenever it occurs,” said Harris, the first person of South Asian descent to hold national office.

As the fastest-growing racial demographic in the U.S. electorate, Asian Americans are gaining political influence across the country. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Biden talked about the “skyrocketing spike” of harassment and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In your opinion, what caused this spike? Why? Discuss.
  • What do you think the US should do to tackle this problem? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Harris said that she and Biden will not just stand by as violence, hate crimes, and discrimination happen. In your opinion, why do some people just stand by when bad things happen right in front of them (ex. they don’t care, they’re scared to get involved)? Discuss.
  • In some places, it can be a crime to just stand by without trying to help in some way. Do you agree that it should be a crime? Why or why not? Discuss.