How did #StopAsianHate and #BlackLivesMatter React to Each Other After the Atlanta Shootings: An Analysis of Twitter Hashtag Networks
The Atlanta Spa shootings interrogate the model minority myth of Asian Americans and their positionality in U.S. racial politics. Whereas recent nationwide surveys report broad support for Black Lives Matter among them, many studies have also portrayed Afro-Asian historical relationships as contentious. The main question in the current study is how the #StopAsianHate activism had reacted to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and vice versa on Twitter in terms of a shared sense of linked fate. To this end, we sought to examine hashtags and semantic networks with the data from March 2 to April 26, 2021. The tweets addressing #StopAsianHate without #BlackLivesMatter were characterized primarily by narratives about anti-Asian hate crimes and by South-Korean band BTS’s fanbase ARMY’s voices but with minimal concern regarding the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the case of George Floyd’s murder. In contrast, the tweets exclusively containing #BlackLivesMatter delivered messages on anti-Asian violence in response to the Atlanta tragedy although the degree and betweenness centralities of #asianlivesmatter had diminished as public attention was shifted to the trial. The overall evidence seems to suggest that hashtag activism, unlike offline rallies since the shootings, could be caught within the boundaries of imagined communities due to tagged interactions, engendering tension between social identity and collective identity.