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John Oliver Knows the Atlanta Spa Shootings Are ‘Very Much American’

Photo: HBO Max

While the main story on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight episode dealt with the plastics (no, not those Plastics) industry, John Oliver also discussed the horrifying Atlanta spa shootings, in which eight people, six of whom were Asian women, were killed by a white gunman. In response to a recent comment from Joe Biden that stated the shootings were “wrong” and “un-American,” Oliver disagreed with the president’s patriotic ideology by recapping centuries’ worth of anti-Asian violence in our country, which started with “the treatment of Chinese railroad workers” in the 1800s. “I’m really glad that he condemned hate crimes against Asians there, but to say they are un-American? I would love to visit the nation that exists in Joe Biden’s head,” Oliver explained. “Because it’s a place where racism is ‘not who we are’ and racist attacks against Asians are somehow ‘un-American’ despite the fact that, far be it for me to explain this to someone who seems like he’s lived through most of American history, anti-Asian racism has long been a fact of American life.”

Oliver also reminded viewers of the Japanese American internment camps that became prevalent during World War II, as well as the recent surge of unprovoked violence against Asian people. “Not only are attacks against Asians very much American, so is denying that they’re racist,” he continued. “It’s so American, in fact, that the national anthem should begin, ‘Oh say can you see, that this wasn’t about race?’” And for those who still believe the Atlanta shootings weren’t racially motivated, Oliver wants you to come close and hear this: “It feels like a weird distinction to be making. ‘Hey, I might be a mass murderer, but watch who you’re calling a racist. Words hurt.’”

John Oliver Knows Atlanta Shootings Are ‘Very Much American’