posts 1 - 15 of 28
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 181

Readings and Watchings:

Note: It’s important that you read and/or watch at least FOUR (4) of the 8 items listed below AND clearly reference them in your post. These are listed in chronological order; I would especially urge you to include within your choices #4 from Human Rights Watch (HRW).


  1. Video from the Los Angeles Times: Epidemic of Hate: Asian Xenophobia and Coronavirus, February 3, 2020 [7:55] https://youtu.be/7nlenypkMww and the accompanying article Suhuana Hassan, “Fear of coronavirus fuels racist sentiment targeting Asians, Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2020. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Z4iu--gthgMAwX2iuQdjeCkrGDwqvmTx/view?usp=sharing

  1. Ivan Natividad, “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies,” Berkeley News, February 12, 2020

https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/02/12/coronavirus-fear-of-asians-rooted-in-long-american-history-of-prejudicial-policies/


  1. Stephanie Garcia, “’I am not a Virus’: How This Artist is Illustrating Coronavirus-Fueled Racism,” PBS, April 1, 2020. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/i-am-not-a-virus-how-this-artist-is-illustrating-coronavirus-fueled-racism

  1. “Covid 19 fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide,” Human Rights Watch, May 12, 2020.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/12/covid-19-fueling-anti-asian-racism-and-xenophobia-worldwide


  1. Anna Purna Kambhampaty and Haruka Sakaguchi, “’I Will Not Stand Silent.’ 10 Asian-Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality.” Time, June 25, 2020.

https://time.com/5858649/racism-coronavirus/


  1. Article and video: Erin Donaghue, “2,120 Hate Incidents Against Asian Americans Reported During Coronavirus Pandemic,” CBS News, July 2, 2020 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/anti-asian-american-hate-incidents-up-racism/

  1. Sarah Li, “Anti-Asian Hate Has Surged during the Coronavirus Pandemic, Reports Find,”

Teen Vogue, September 18, 2020.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anti-asian-racism-stop-aapi-hate


  1. Felix Sitthivong, “Coronavirus has sparked another epidemic in my prison: Anti-Asian Racism,” The Marshall Project, December 3, 2020. https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/12/03/coronavirus-has-sparked-another-epidemic-in-my-prison-anti-asian-racism

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The President repeatedly refers to it as the “China virus” or the “Asian flu.” Insofar as we first became aware of a COVID-19 in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, that association has regrettably stuck for many Americans. And what it has unleashed, not only in the United States but in far-flung places around the world, is anti-Chinese vitriol and, because of the long history of Asian interchangeability by non-Asians, anti-Asian views more broadly.


Xenophobia directed at Asians isn’t new, as we will see this week in class. What COVID has inspired is just the latest in a long history of anti-Asian hate.


The Asian population in the United States, according to the US Census (as of 2018), as of, is believed to number 22.6 million people, roughly 5.6% of the total population in the nation. According to the Pew Research Center, Asian-Americans constitute the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.”


So many non-Asians can’t distinguish among Asians—witness Valerie Soh’s keenly observed short All Orientals Look the Same [pointedly using the pejorative term, “Orientals”] so they lump Asians all together. Not unlike the Native American voices we heard in December who wish that we would identify Native peoples by their tribes and not label them all “native” or “indigenous,” many Asians too wish people would acknowledge their specific places of origin, their differing circumstances, cultures, and histories, and not simply assume that “sameness.” Yet we know that this is not the reality in the United States of 2021.


So why the hate? And why is this hate not new but is based in a long history of anti-Asian discrimination? And why are most non-Asians—and some Asians--minimally aware of this history?


Maybe those are foolish questions. What we know from our work on discrimination and othering thus far is that issues of “us” and “them,” “superiority” and “inferiority,” the desire to identify an “in group” and an “out group” govern much of human interaction.


So how have Asians—who we already know are classified as “white” when it’s convenient (think of the example of the Boston School Committee) and are also classified as “other” or “POC”—confronted this othering? The latest version may be triggered by COVID but we know this has a long and sordid history. How does this relate to what we saw with Executive Order 9066 (in the film Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066 that you watched for Tuesday/Wednesday class)? And what should non-Asians do today to be allies in response to what these articles, the film, and the video clips chronicle?


Please weigh in on these questions in a thoughtful, well-supported post, supported by what you learned from class, from the readings and from what you know from your own experiences. And please do post a question for the next person to post (and respond to the question posed prior to your posting!).


user1234
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Xenophobia on the Rise

Covid-19 came at a really bad time because it is fueling the already high tensions between Asian Americans and non-Asians. The article called Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies talks about the issue of western dominance. As countries in Asia, such as China, get more powerful many Americans feel “worried” because they think America should be the best. Now, because of COVID people use it as an excuse to target Asians and feel like they are taking that power back which is very bad. This issue has been happening for years and now it is hitting a peak.

The Teen Vogue article discusses the parallels between COVID and the Executive Order 9066. During that time Japanese people were treated like garbage, like the enemy, and now the same is happening to Chinese Americans or Asian Americans in general because people can’t seem to tell the difference. Because of COVID people feel like they have the right to blame Asian people, when in reality they have done nothing wrong. It’s truly heartbreaking to hear accounts by teenagers who feel scared to let their grandparents go out because they think they could be attacked.

For many Asian-Americans it can be really hard to feel like an American. Felix Sitthivong speaks about how he thought that the racism and xenophobia that he experienced was not actually that because “how could people treat him like that if he was an American.” He soon realized that it was discrimination, and it was not okay or a joke at all. Asian-Americans also experience the feelings of separation and isolation that many Black and Latinx people feel on a daily basis. It is important to use those similar feelings and come together to get rid of the racism and the “model minority myth” because one minority is not better than the other. Like the “An epidemic of hate: anti-Asian hate crimes amid coronavirus” video explains, the most important step in combating xenophobia and racism against Asians is to get rid of the “us” and “them” mentality. Hopefully having a new administration in office, who doesn't seem like it will follow in the same footsteps as the Trump administration, will be able to help the issue at a more national and federal level. As allies the best thing we can do is not be a bystander and do something when we see racist behavior. So my question is, what are some ways in which we can be up standers and fight against Asian discrimination?

iluvcows
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Anti-Asian Tendencies Throughout History

Watching the film and reading these articles has been heartbreaking, but sadly not surprising to me. Around the world Asians are attacked and harassed for their background and have been throughout history. In article two, UC Berkeley experts talk about America's history involving anti-Asian notions, integrated in our biased health and immagration systems which are known to target immigrants coming from Asia. Between 1910 and 1940 “over 225,000 Chinese and Japanese immigrants were detained under oppressive conditions for as long as six months.” on Angel Island. Immigration centers such as this were present around America, abusing and mistreating the inhabitants for days on end. Sara Li talks about the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans following the Pearl Harbor attack, and how this is yet another example of anti-Asian behavior in our country. This injustice is not about "trade or free-market competition”, it is about maintaining America's dominance and superiority.


This already severe issue has been heightened even further with the introduction of the coronavirus. In the CBS news article, it described what these Asian-Americans are facing during the pandemic within businesses. Studies have shown Asian-American businesses drastically dropping in sales as well as increased harassment of workers. The video depicts an Asian restaurant owner who claims to have lost 1.5 billion dollars in the duration of COVID-19. Customers have begun to avoid dining at Asian-American establishments in fear of contracting the dangerous virus. This false stereotype has resulted in immense decrease in profits for many businesses causing many individuals to struggle to maintain their enterprise. Additionally, an abundance of Asian people have faced harassment and hate from members of society blaming them for the spread of the virus. According to CBS, “More than 2,100 anti-Asian American hate incidents related to COVID-19 were reported across the country over a three-month time span”. It was horrible to read in the Teen Vogue article that children as well as adults are attacked for their Asian origins, with only 10% of bystanders intervening.


A large influence on these racist incidents occurring throughout the United States is our president. Trump has illustrated his anti-Asian beliefs frequently, calling COVID-19 the “Chinese flu”. He blatantly blames Asian-Americans for the virus causing hysteria among society and further spreading this inaccurate information, brainwashing his supporters. Another white house official reportedly referred to it as the “Kung Flu”, a tremendously racist label. When high personnel and leaders of our country set this discriminatory example, it further inflames the deep rooted Xenophobia that has been present for decades.


In the Marshall project, Felix Sitthivong describes an experience he had while tutoring. During a debate about Japan and China, a student had called Asians an insult. Sitthivong froze, unsure how to react and let this ignorant statement knock him off guard and unable to defend himself. Asians have fought against the prejudice they have faced in America, trying to attain justice for the hurt inflicted upon them because of their background. This was seen in the film we watched, where Japanese-Americans fought against the abuse of power the government held and revealed the lies involved in the justification of Executive Order 9066. The movie illustrated the ongoing fight this group of people has encountered and the rigorous work involved in freeing Asians from the binds of racism.


For years Asian-Americans have confronted this alienation and discrimination with determination and strength to attempt to obtain equity. Non-Asians should learn from their mistakes and make an effort to alter the mindset of themselves and those around them. They should educate others on the history of Asian discrimination in our country because many individuals are unware of the extent to which it takes place. If they witness harassment, Non-Asians should intervene and prevent any harm from being imposed upon the victim. Society should work together in order to welcome people from all backgrounds and never enter a situation with preconceived stereotypes or assumptions without evidence to back it up.


To answer User1234’s question, I believe that some ways we can fight this Asian discrimination is through education, support, and understanding. We should inform others of what this group has been through in order to help others make progress and truly understand what has been inflicted upon these people. When Asian individuals are struggling to stay strong against harassment and prejudice, we can support them however they need and show our dedication to fixing and understanding this issue.


My question is: Where do you think most of these harmful stereotypes originated from?


thesnackthatsmilesback
brighton, ma, US
Posts: 14

The Power of Fear of the Unknown.

As said in the video, the mix of paranoia and ignorance has made a dangerous pair that spreads false information. I think it’s human nature to fear the things that people are not accustomed to. At first, it was the mass introduction of Asians to America, due to their hard work they were able to claim worthy jobs which lead to people seeing them as a threat. Now, the pent up aggression from the past and the introduction of COVID-19 has allowed people to have an excuse to once again target Asian Americans. Europe, Africa, and South America heavily connected America ever since Christopher Columbus. I think Asians are still seen as foreigners in many ways due to the fact that the mass introduction of the Asian American population started a little less than 200 years ago, not to mention they were able to create a whole system that regarded America as less economically. I think because of the freshness of the situation, many don’t see it at the level as the mistreatment African Americans. Also, due to the patriarchal values of traditional Asia, there is a lot of stigma relating to men being able to not be the headstrong leader of the family, and the women not being able to be emotional, but instead carry with grace. With that mindset, I think many start to devalue their own thoughts till they no longer have the urge to bring it up. Even in PBS’s article entitled, “’I am not a Virus’: How This Artist is Illustrating Coronavirus-Fueled Racism,” there is a quote that mentions the stereotype of Asian Americans. “Over time, the model minority myth began to apply to most Asian American Pacific Islander communities, stereotyping them as polite, law-abiding, and more inclined to achieve high levels of success, thus supposedly disproving America's racism.” I think this brings up a really interesting point, because they don't fight the system they are living in, they are able to carry on until signs point at them. Many Asian immigrants when they come to this country, they barely know how to speak english, but strive to get ahead economically, therefore, they are less involved in fixing the system and instead learning how to abide by the system that has created new worlds for it’s first travelers. This may have put them at an advantage when they were first introduced to the American workfield. Another interesting point to bring up is right after that line is said, it carries on to “however, the myth only served to exclude Southeast Asians and downplay the structural racism that Black and non-Asian communities face.” This leads to the question of “what makes them not “East Asian” enough that they can’t succeed?” I wonder if it was a tactical reason that they did intentionally to downplay the structural racism or if it all ties into the idea of skin tone. Southeast Asian are known to have darker skin, is this what stops them from being as successful in an European American society?

When I think of the model minority, and how Asian Americans compare to the corrupt system, I see us as a middle child. Asian Americans have become such a standard for the “stuck in the middle” status. Overlooked, yet still there to keep the division between the youngest and the oldest, taking scraps of the superiority status from the eldest, and needing to still prove themselves as responsible and mature like the youngest. We create a bridge from the substantial gap that puts white Americans at such an advantage, by becoming the model minority, I think it just shows that it is possible to get ahead in life and create a stable future for minorities. As seen in Executive Order (9066), unless the problem is at hand for Asian Americans, they are seen as a stepping stone to the glorified lives of white Americans. Knowledge plays a big role in how people react to a situation.On an everyday basis, the microaggression against Asian Americans is not as clear as the moving of thousands of Japanese Americans or the President calling COVID-19 the Chinese Virus. When it is bluntly shown, I think it's the only evidence that anyone has for these problems as most of the things that an Asian American sees as microaggression may not be noticed by anyone else.When COVID-19 became a problem in the United States, I definitely on many occasions as said in the PBS article was hyper analyzed. I would go to the bus and have to clear my voice from a Hereshy’s kiss I had and get stares or people walking to the next bus stop. I would get on the bus and have people stare at me till I got off. There was one instance where a man yelled several racial slurs at my face while I tried to walk to work, yet the only witness was me, and he was a white man well into his 80’s. I definitely feel that for non-Asians, the best thing to do is be more aware of their surroundings. America is clueless to the rest of the world's issues which I feel plays a big role in how we understand one another in the aspect on what problems are happening throughout the world. I would also say to be mindful, that just because you don’t see it happening, doesn’t mean that it isn’t prevalent and that like any other continent, each country has its own culture and society, I feel like there are multiple instances where we are grouped unfairly due to our appearances.

To answer @iluvcows question, where do you think most of these harmful stereotypes originated from, I think it all starts by comparing the physical or obvious features of a group’s similarities. Going into this process, the one making the harmful stereotypes has the mindset that their physical appearance and culture is “normal.” By harmfully comparing the group as less than, a stereotype is born. Usually stereotypes can arrive from conflict between two groups, but I think it's deeply rooted in the idea of fearing what we do not know. By making fun of it and degrading the opposer, the person is able to gain a sense of superiority and therefore the ideas of the opposing group is now replaced by the inferiority and not the fear.

Now relating back to what is prevalent now, a new strand of COVID has been found and spreading all over Europe and now in California. My question is how do you think this will affect the Asian American’s image and why aren’t there new racially charged nicknames for this new chain?





squirrelluver123
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

Normalization of offensive language

As we have seen by the many articles and what we discussed in class, discrimination against Asian people is still prevelant today. If anything it has become so normalized that people often do not call it out. People of color in America are often made to feel less than those who are white, people asking them where they are from or telling them to go back to where they came from. As professor John A. Powell says, “Asians are seen as not real Americans and not to be trusted.”


Beliefs like this and years of discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans, from the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII has contributed to the increase in public racism and xenaphobia Asians have met after the spread of the pandemic. Countries around the world are blaming China, and therefore anyone Chinese or even assumed to be Chinese, for “producing” a virus that could have come from any country in the world. CBS news states that “More than 2,100 anti-Asian American hate incidents related to COVID-19 were reported across the country over a three-month time span between March and June.” Before the pandemic spread widely in the US, people were not going to Chinese restaurants because they thought they may get infected. As the video from CBS news states, two hotels went so far as to deny an Asian man access, stating that they would not allow Asians to stay there. “Racism and physical attacks on Asians and people of Asian descent have spread with the Covid-19 pandemic” says John Sifton. Although they definitely did not start with the spread of the pandemic, people all over the world now think their actions are justified.


Discriminatory language against Asians has only become more normalized in recent years. People and even leaders such as Donald Trump referring to COVID as the “China virus” only continues to normalize this kind of language and makes others think it is acceptable for them to say as well. Among the incidents related to COVID, TeenVogue says that “In almost half of these incidents, adults were present, but only in 10% of cases did bystanders intervene.” A 13 year old responding to TeenVogue’s survey said “since society has normalized it so much that when we try to speak up about it, people still try and joke around about it.” Language like this has become so prevalent in our society that people either don't notice it or no longer think it is something they have to speak out against. I have heard people make jokes about Asians, and some in the beginning of the pandemic jokingly say that they could not eat at a Chinese restaurant because they would become infected if they did.


Nevertheless these are not isolated incidents, and this is not the first or only time that Asian people are being harassed or treated differently. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 set the precedent for America to refuse immigration to their country based on race or ethnicity. Later the internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans during WWII based on lies and zero evidence. The scapegoating that Asian Americans have faced since the beginning of the pandemic relates to the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in WWII. Japanese Americans were thought to be dangerous, a threat to the country, conspiring to bomb more of the country, even though there was no evidence supporting this.


We can all start by educating ourselves on our country’s history with Asian Americans, and understand how our actions today can affect that. This discriminatory and stereotypical language, whether it is meant as a joke or not, is unacceptable and needs to be addressed more frequently. Especially in school, where many people make jokes about things they should not be joking about, it is up to us to call out our friends and make them see why they are wrong, and even involve administrators if it continues.


To answer @thesnackthatsmilesback’s question: Although I think part of this may be because the pandemic has already been spreading for over a year and people are so used to this that they have stopped paying as much attention to it, I also think that there are no new nicknames for the new strain of COVID because it came out of mainly white, European countries. The nickname the “China Virus” only started out of racism against Chinese and other Asians, and blaming them for spreading the virus. I would hope that the spread of this new strain shows many people that the virus affects everyone equally, and really could have come from any country so there is no reason to blame China or any other Asian countries.


My question is: to what extent has Trump and others discriminatory actions affected hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans, and how do we begin to move past that as a country?

BlueWhale24
Boston , Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Anti-Asian Sentiment - A History of Ignorance

To start off, I’d like to address the question posed by @iluvcows: “Where do you think most of these harmful stereotypes [towards Asian Americans] originated from?” This, in itself, is a loaded question, as no singular answer could define where such widespread discriminatory practices originated. However, my general answer is as follows: most Asian American stereotypes have had their basis in historical events, during which non-Asian Americans sought to draw contrast between themselves and these “foreigners”. Like discrimination against all other groups, Asian American stereotypes came about as a form of “othering”, to be employed by those who were made uncomfortable and upset by foreign-looking people entering into a white country. What’s interesting however, is that the perception of, or connotations associated with, Asian Americans have varied so much throughout history, fluctuating from labels such as the ‘Yellow Peril’ in the 1800’s to the “Model Minority Myth” in modern day. The common thread throughout these monikers, however, is that the mere existence of Asian Americans is somehow damaging to the country as a whole - a thought process which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19 recently. Working to eradicate this mindset must be the first priority in a long journey of overturning century-old stereotypes and combating anti-Asian discrimination.


Asian Americans differ from other minority groups within the US in one crucial way: while other groups have undergone centuries of continuous subjugation and neglect (enslavement of Black Americans, conquering of Hispanic/Latinx Americans, genocide of Native Americans), Asian Americans have, for the most part, immigrated to the US by free will. Through analyzing the two major eras of Asian immigration (Gold Rush era & Cold War to Modern era), it’s clear to see that the main reasoning behind such waves of migrants was the search for new opportunities and better living conditions within a foreign country. These circumstances are important to note because they drastically affected both the types of Asian immigrants who arrived in the US, as well as their perception by others in the country.


In the Gold Rush era, many Chinese immigrants flocked to the US in pursuit of gold (obviously), which they could then convert into wealth to distribute to their families back in China. This process, however, was fraught with uncertainty and danger; thus, this wave of immigration consisted of young, low-class Chinese citizens, who had nothing to lose in making the journey to California. These people were open to performing manual labor for little cost, making them cheap alternatives to American workers. It is also during this era that Chinese, and overall Asian, American discrimination and xenophobia begins. Many viewed such Chinese laborers with contempt, seeing them as nothing more than disgusting, low-class foreigners. As lynching's and mob-killings became more frequent, this period of hatred culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which effectively stopped large-scale Chinese immigration for the next half-century. Nonetheless, other Asian groups, such as Japanese and South Asian immigrants, soon filled the void of cheap laborers left by the Chinese Exclusion Act; needless to say, they faced similar amounts of violence and racism.


By contrast, Asian Americans faced very different challenges in the Cold War to Modern era of immigration. In this era, many Asian immigrants came to the United States in search of educational and job opportunities. After World War II, America firmly established itself as the sole global superpower, a status which drew many’s attention. As this was happening, many Asian countries were experiencing the negative effects of Communist regimes: places such as Korea and Vietnam were struck by warfare, China by poverty, Japan by the losses of WWII. For these populations, Capitalist America became appealing, as it represented the opposite of their environments. As a child of such immigrants myself, I’ve heard countless stories from my father about his trials and tribulations over his journey to America. He explains that during this time, America was very hesitant about giving visas to hopeful immigrants, many of whom could not afford to live within the States. To overcome this, young adults sought to apply for scholarships from American colleges, many of which would only accept a tiny amount of Asian applicants for ‘full-ride’ scholarships. These tough circumstances for entering the country meant that the Asian Americans who had succeeded in fighting their way through the system were more than well-equipped enough to integrate into American society and acquire mostly-STEM related jobs as a result of their college degrees. This ties in directly to the creation of what is now known as the “model-minority myth”. Instead of facing the outright persecution and xenophobia which challenged Asian Americans over a century ago, new-age Asian immigrants became the gold-standard for what “living out the American Dream” meant. Many white Americans used such a group for exhibiting how a POC group can indeed succeed within the country. As these immigrants grew older and started families, their second-generation children, influenced by the values which brought their parents into America, were pushed and pressured towards high-achievement within their schools, further conforming to the stereotypes of Asians being “inherently smart”. While it’s important to note that not all modern Asian American immigrants entered the country in this manner (most notably, refugees of the Korean/Vietnam Wars), the process itself does explain a lot about the drastic shift in Asian American perception over recent history.


Although I’ve spent a great amount of time discussing the contrasts between different forms of anti-Asian discrimination, it’s important to note that nearly all of these historical stereotypes continue to exist today. The low-class perception of Asian Americans, including the view that Asians are “unclean” or “disease-ridden”, remains as a last-over from the Gold Rush era. In recent times, it’s apparent that this connotation has gained more steam, as China became the epicenter for the COVID-19 virus, leading to a plethora of increased prejudice. The most shocking part of this, however, is the willingness of many to make highly offensive remarks regarding the topic. A quote taken from the Human Rights Watch article regarding COVID-related xenophobia states as follows: “The governor of the Veneto region of Italy, an early epicenter of the pandemic, told journalists in February that the country would be better than China in handling the virus due to Italians’ “culturally strong attention to hygiene, washing hands, taking showers, whereas we have all seen the Chinese eating mice alive.” Given the outbreak of cases within Italy last March, it’s safe to assume that the governor likely regrets his statement. Nevertheless, it doesn’t draw any focus away from the shocking truth that even government officials are willing to generalize an entire Asian country under a singular statement. Brazil’s prime minister hilariously suggested that the COVID pandemic was part of China’s plan to seize world domination - and of course, how could we forget the words of our very own President, who so eloquently coined the term, “China virus”. Rhetoric of this type was nowhere near as prevalent against African countries for the Ebola virus, or against Mexico and Latinx groups for the Swine flu. Fair treatment towards Asian populations has been neglected for too long - it’s seen as something which should not to be taken as seriously as making a racially charged statement about another ethnic group. For Asians, it’s “just a joke”. For others, it’s outright racist.


Another long withstanding issue regarding the treatment of Asian Americans is the unwillingness of many to distinguish amongst vast ethnic groups and populations. In short, too many people still live by the mantra of “All Orientals Look the Same”, even adding on new additions such as “All Orientals Must Act the Same Way” or “All Orientals Must Carry Coronavirus”. In the Los Angeles Times article, we see first-hand accounts of Asian Americans recounting instances (pre-lockdown) of people targeting them for carrying the virus. A TSA agent jeered at mask-wearing Aida Zhu, stating “I hope you’re not ill”. Andrew Nguyen recalls an experience during which a customer asked for a new mask, simply because Nguyen had brushed the surface with his finger. Stories like this are not only sickening to hear, but also outrageous acts of stereotyping. It absolutely amazes me that in pre-COVID times, when the United States positive case count numbered in the mere thousands, so many people could associate the disease with just any Asian face that they see. While it’s tremendously saddening, it also speaks volumes about the innate thoughts of many Americans regarding people of Asian descent. Katherine Lu summarizes this perfectly in the LA Times article, saying “The coronavirus is an opportunity for [people] to safely express their racist thoughts in a way that can be excused.” The pandemic has highlighted that century-old stereotypes are very much alive and well today.


The truth is, the heart of the problem within Asian American perception is the perpetual lack-of-understanding for their culture. While this most certainly is an issue that all ethnicities face, it’s frequently highlighted within Asian populations as many seek to collectively associate Asian faces with the one country which apparently represents all of Asia, China. The term “Chinaman” has been used in America to mock not just real Chinese men, but any person who may resemble or be associated with an Asian thing. Furthermore, Americans seem to be unwilling to accept that Asian American culture differs from their own. While millions of US citizens proclaim that they love eating orange chicken and chow mein, they demonized Chinese people for eating “dogs and bats”. Some people say that Asian languages sound ugly and loud, without considering how English might sound to a non-native speaker. Misrepresentation and misunderstanding has challenged all groups of people. The issue, once again, is that people feel at ease with perpetuating such connotations about Asians specifically. They make fun of that which they don’t understand, including the culture, customs, and traditions of Asian Americans. Nor does it help that recent socioeconomic factors have strained US-China relations, with the most notable of such factors being, of course, the rhetoric of Donald Trump. The POTUS has been avid in his rejection of China since pre-pandemic times; even now, he refuses to relent, and continues to enforce trade blockades with China. “History is resurfacing again, with China becoming a stronger country and more competitive and a threat to U.S. dominance today, just like Japan was a threat in the second world war.”, states UC Berkeley researcher and lecturer Winston Tseng via Berkeley News. Regardless of how you feel regarding the political affairs at-hand, this marks grave trouble for Asian Americans, many of whom are already feeling the effects of President Trump’s words.


Given all that we now know regarding the history of Asian Americans, one fact has become clear. The issues and plights of this group have long been ignored for a simple reason: Asian Americans have not struggled enough to be taken seriously. I must first disclaim that by no means do I disregard the issues which Asian Americans have faced in the past, nor do I mean to disrespect the real struggles which other POC groups are facing; the point which I mean to make by this statement is an overall perception of Asians which seems to apply to our nation. Asian Americans have, for the most part, been relatively successful within the United States. This ethnic group boasts the highest-average income of any demographic, even higher than white Americans. Asian Americans have low unemployment rates, and their children continue to maintain high-achieving status in schools. In short, they’ve integrated themselves into American society very successfully, further perpetuating the “model minority myth”. Yet in this success of the mean, some people seem to forget that Asian Americans face real struggles, similar to that of other POC, in their day-to-day life. However, this fact is brushed aside because they don’t need the support and advocacy which other groups do. This in turn alienates Asian Americans not only from white Americans, but also from other minority demographics within the US. Thus, Asians have been claimed as "white", if needed, or POC, whenever it's most convenient. As an Asian American myself, this fact has become clear to me since childhood. One of the most striking works which I’ve seen regarding the Asian American experiences comes from the artwork of Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom. This picture, depicting a presumptively Asian boy, shows a child dusting his face with white powder, representing an attempt by many Asian children to conform in American society. It’s a very real and accurate experience: one which I, many of my peers, have undergone because our country puts Asian American experiences on the back-burner, and doesn’t seem to value us as much as other groups. This needs to change.


Asian Americans have long been neglected within our country for reasons which were absolutely out of their control. The United States, as a whole, has become so acutely unaware of discrimination towards Asians that it passes unchecked from the mouths of our President, our peers, and sometimes ourselves. To address another question posed by @user1234, “what are some ways in which we can be up standers and fight against Asian discrimination?” Asian American experiences need to stop being brushed over - treat Asian American tragedies with the same horror with which we treat the enslavement of Black Americans or the genocide of Indigenous peoples. Furthermore, instead of Asian American, why not utilize terms such as Chinese-American, Japanese-American, Korean-American, Vietnamese-American, Indian-American? Break the cycle of misrepresentation, misunderstanding, and ignorance through educating yourself regarding the rich and diverse cultures of the “Orient”. We must all adapt our attitudes, and make sure that our efforts in creating a better America don’t overlook this portion of our nation.


My question is, as tensions grow between the United States and China, how do we separate the perception and treatment of Asian Americans from political affairs which they have no relation to?

babypluto9
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Xenophobia and Asians in America

Hatred for Asians come from many sources. Either being seen as a threat when it came to working, such as the gold rush or farming in California, to COVID-19, hatred for Asians has always been instilled. Asian Americans have always been ostracized and demonized. American government and society pushed back on Asians since their first arrivals with the gold rush. Many racist and exaggerated ads were released to put Asians down and were used to depict them as dirty, less than, or dangerous. From WWII, fighting against Imperial Japanese has also left a bad taste in American society's mouth. The Vietnam War also leaves a bad taste. Americans soldiers were in Vietnam fighting a war many Americans at home didn't believe in and didn't support. These factors in the long history of Asians in America lead to a imbedded distain for them. With time this distain was used to mold Asians into what American society saw them fit to be.

Being labeled as "white" or "POC" is used to classify Asians when it's most convenient. This unstable classification leads to many downfalls living in today's society. A common rhetoric is that Asian Americans do not experience the same struggles and issues as brown and black peoples, so they are not considered a "POC". Society still believes in the Model Minority Myth fueling this misconception not only in other communities, but the Asian community as well. Many misinformed Asian Americans internalize this myth and believe they are better than others because of it. They consider themselves as "POC" but preach how they are able to achieve more, asking why other "POC's" are not able to do the same. These misconceptions create a divide between POC's and pit them against themselves. Being labeled as "POC" would be the correct term as Asians do not receive the same amount of privileges that white people do. Asian Americans still go through struggles such as discrimination and racism, but such actions are normalized in everyday life. This is true as being called a racial slur is more accepted when its directed towards Asians than other "POC's".

COVID-19 only highlighted the xenophobia and discrimination towards Asians that was underlined in societies all over the world. When the pandemic started to spread, instances of hate crimes and racism rose. Asian business received fewer and fewer customers and eventually began to go out of business. Association between Asian Americans and COVID-19 brought out what was already normalized to the spotlight. Instead of a literal ostracization such as Executive Order 9066 did to Japanese Americans, COVID-19 brought out ostracization of Asians socially.

To combat this Asian Americans must speak up and fight for themselves. Non-Asians should educate themselves and refrain from perpetuating racial stereotypes and normalized racism.

Cookie Monster
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

This year has been a rough year for all of us. We have been cooped up in our homes for long durations of time to attempt to quell the novel Coronavirus with little social interaction outside our own bubbles. The sickness itself has directly affected many of us who have had family members and loved ones fall ill or even die. This year has also been an important year for the Civil Rights Movement that has been ongoing since the beginning of our very existence. Police brutality has been pervasive, which can be seen through the many state sponsored killings of black people that have occured recently. Some examples are the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the volume of these incidents only increases the emphasis on the fact that equity still hasn't been reached in the so-called "Land of the Free". However, one phenomena that has come to fruition in the past year, which usually falls under the radar, is the element of racism against Asians that is prevalent throughout our national and global society. From the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, we have witnessed a stark increase in incidents of racial harassment and abuse towards Asians. Others have boycotted Chinese businesses and have avoided large Asian communities in their vicinities in the name of fear and xenophobia. International leaders, like Donald Trump, have fanned the flames of this behavior, refering to the virus as the "Chinese Virus" of the "Kung-Flu". This has allowed for many to come out of the shadows with their own racist beliefs as they feel emoldened by the President's seeming agreement with their biases. However, what our world is experiencing today is the reemergence of often forgotten history.

The history of discrimination and abuse of Asian peoples is often forgotten. However, this long series of events is directly rooted in the upholding of white empirical dominance. In 1882, the United States Government implemented the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese laborers from immigrating to this country. This was the first immigration law to result in the exclusion of an entire ethnic group, and is not unlike what we have been through in recent times with Trump's Muslim Ban. This resolution prevented immigration from 7 predominantly Muslim countries at the start of his presidential term. However, even the migrants from Asian countries who were still permitted to enter the US still faced tremendous amounts of oppression once they reached our shores. Angel Island, the immigration center in the San Francisco Bay that processed 225,000 Chinese and Japanese newcomers between 1910-1940, detained them for as long as six months to even two years. Many migrants were forcibly quarantined and without evidence of widespread, pervasive disease. Public health officials also falsely designated Asian peoples as carriers of incurable diseases as means of justifying the strict anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as adding to the idea that these people where taking jobs from whites. In 1942, President FDR signed Executive Order 9066, which expelled anybody who was deemed a threat to national security, resulting in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans into repressive camps. As I have stated above, today, the novel Coronavirus has allowed for age old Anti-Asian sentiments to creep back above the surface. All of these events in our history suggest that many of the derogatory language used, as well as the presence of discriminatory policies not only of the past, but of today serve for the purpose of one goal: Anglo-American dominance. Asian Americans are now the wealthiest, most highly educated, and fastest growing racial demographic in the country; China's global economic power and influence has been to rival that of the US's in recent years. Just as in the past, when America made efforts to rid society of Asian peoples, who they saw as threats to the existing power structure, today they are being used as scapegoats in order to reduce their prominence in society and to quell any defiance of the existing order.

Although they are faced with steep obstacles, the AAPI community has come up with many solutions to challenge the biases they have dealt with in history and in modern times. Many, such as Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, have taken to social media to make their voices heard. She has created comics that depict real life scenarios she has experienced with discrimination against people who look like her. Many, like like Sjöblom, have emphasized the importance of artistic expression in curating a potent message that can be more accessible and easier to understand for the wider public. Some have developed reporting mechanisms in order to record incidents of hate against Asian Americans. This doesn't only help with fully understanding the experience of the Asian American community, but it also helps us develop adequate responses of potential crimes or biases permeating through society. One example of one online website that operates like this was launched by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Committee and Chinese for Affirmative Action on March 19 last year, which recorded more a drastic 2,100 hate incidents against Asian Americans during a three month period at the height of the Pandemic. However, fixing our systemic problems shouldn't just be up to the oppressed. White Americans, as well as other demographics, must address the permeation of Anti-Asian sentiments that have affected our society for generations. There should be a lot more resources from our education system put into curriculums with Asian American history implimented into them. This way, many people will be able to educate themselves on the root of their internal biases and why they are based on stereotypes and niches. This will also combat the erasure of Anti-Asian discrimination that occurs when the idea of the "model minority" is often associated with their community. I also believe that we need to make sure that Asian representation is adequate within our institutions, which I can't say is being fulfilled at this moment. In order to ensure that their is a diverse variety of perspectives among our leadership, there should be an exerted effort to uplift more Asian Americans into positions of power. However, many of these racist ideas and alternative facts that misrepresent the Asian community are prevalent outside of our academic lives and greatly affect the world around us. How can we we confront the problem of social media-spread hate without infringing on free speech rights that hold large sway in American culture?


Cookie Monster
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Originally posted by BlueWhale24 on January 13, 2021 20:46

To start off, I’d like to address the question posed by @iluvcows: “Where do you think most of these harmful stereotypes [towards Asian Americans] originated from?” This, in itself, is a loaded question, as no singular answer could define where such widespread discriminatory practices originated. However, my general answer is as follows: most Asian American stereotypes have had their basis in historical events, during which non-Asian Americans sought to draw contrast between themselves and these “foreigners”. Like discrimination against all other groups, Asian American stereotypes came about as a form of “othering”, to be employed by those who were made uncomfortable and upset by foreign-looking people entering into a white country. What’s interesting however, is that the perception of, or connotations associated with, Asian Americans have varied so much throughout history, fluctuating from labels such as the ‘Yellow Peril’ in the 1800’s to the “Model Minority Myth” in modern day. The common thread throughout these monikers, however, is that the mere existence of Asian Americans is somehow damaging to the country as a whole - a thought process which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19 recently. Whether it's Californians disliking the arrival of Japanese farmers pre-WWII or 1980’s Detroit auto-workers opposing Asian immigration out of fear that jobs will be stolen, this attitude has been present throughout our country’s history. Regardless, I firmly maintain the belief that the presence of Asian Americans has never harmed, and continues to not harm, any group within the United States. But, as we know very clearly from the past year, some always seem to feel that they do.


Asian Americans differ from other minority groups within the US in one crucial way: while other groups have undergone centuries of continuous subjugation and neglect (enslavement of Black Americans, conquering of Hispanic/Latinx Americans, genocide of Native Americans), Asian Americans have, for the most part, immigrated to the US by free will. Through analyzing the two major eras of Asian immigration (Gold Rush era & Cold War to Modern era), it’s clear to see that the main reasoning behind such waves of migrants was the search for new opportunities and better living conditions within a foreign country. These circumstances are important to note because they drastically affected both the types of Asian immigrants who arrived in the US, as well as their perception by others in the country.


In the Gold Rush era, many Chinese immigrants flocked to the US in pursuit of gold (obviously), which they could then convert into wealth to distribute to their families back in China. This process, however, was fraught with uncertainty and danger; thus, this wave of immigration consisted of young, low-class Chinese citizens, who had nothing to lose in making the journey to California. These people were open to performing manual labor for little cost, making them cheap alternatives to American workers. It is also during this era that Chinese, and overall Asian, American discrimination and xenophobia begins. Many viewed such Chinese laborers with contempt, seeing them as nothing more than disgusting, low-class foreigners. As lynching's and mob-killings became more frequent, this period of hatred culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which effectively stopped large-scale Chinese immigration for the next half-century. Nonetheless, other Asian groups, such as Japanese and South Asian immigrants, soon filled the void of cheap laborers left by the Chinese Exclusion Act; needless to say, they faced similar amounts of violence and racism.


By contrast, Asian Americans faced very different challenges in the Cold War to Modern era of immigration. In this era, many Asian immigrants came to the United States in search of educational and job opportunities. After World War II, America firmly established itself as the sole global superpower, a status which drew many’s attention. Meanwhile, as this was happening, many Asian countries were experiencing the negative effects of Communist regimes: places such as Korea and Vietnam were struck by warfare, China by poverty, Japan by the effects of losing WWII. For these populations, Capitalist America became appealing, as it represented the opposite of their environments. As a child of such immigrants myself, I’ve heard countless stories from my father about his trials and tribulations over his journey to America. He explains that during this time, America was very hesitant about giving visas to hopeful immigrants, many of whom could not afford to live within the States. To overcome this, young adults sought to apply for scholarships from American colleges, many of which would only accept a tiny amount of Asian applicants for ‘full-ride’ scholarships. These tough circumstances for entering the country meant that the Asian Americans who had succeeded in fighting their way through the system were more than well-equipped enough to integrate into American society and acquire mostly-STEM related jobs as a result of their college degrees. This ties in directly to the creation of what is now known as the “model-minority myth”. Instead of facing the outright persecution and xenophobia which challenged Asian Americans over a century ago, new-age Asian immigrants became the gold-standard for what “living out the American Dream” meant. Many white Americans used such a group for exhibiting how a POC group can indeed succeed within the country. As these immigrants grew older and started families, their second-generation children, influenced by the values which brought their parents into America, were pushed and pressured towards high-achievement within their schools, further conforming to the stereotypes of Asians being “inherently smart”. While it’s important to note that not all modern Asian American immigrants entered the country in this manner (most notably, refugees of the Korean/Vietnam Wars), the process itself does explain a lot about the drastic shift in Asian American perception over recent history.


Although I’ve spent a great amount of time discussing the contrasts between different forms of anti-Asian discrimination, it’s important to note that nearly all of these historical stereotypes continue to exist today. The low-class perception of Asian Americans, including the view that Asians are “unclean” or “disease-ridden”, remains as a last-over from the Gold Rush era. In recent times, it’s apparent that this connotation has gained more steam, as China became the epicenter for the COVID-19 virus, leading to a plethora of increased prejudice. The most shocking part of this, however, is the willingness of many to make highly offensive remarks regarding the topic. A quote taken from the Human Rights Watch article regarding COVID-related xenophobia states as follows: “The governor of the Veneto region of Italy, an early epicenter of the pandemic, told journalists in February that the country would be better than China in handling the virus due to Italians’ “culturally strong attention to hygiene, washing hands, taking showers, whereas we have all seen the Chinese eating mice alive.” Given the outbreak of cases within Italy last March, it’s safe to assume that the governor likely regrets his statement. Nevertheless, it doesn’t draw any focus away from the shocking truth that even government officials are willing to generalize an entire Asian country under a singular statement. Brazil’s prime minister hilariously suggested that the COVID pandemic was part of China’s plan to seize world domination - and of course, how could we forget the words of our very own President, who so eloquently coined the term, “China virus”. Rhetoric of this type was nowhere near as prevalent against African countries for the Ebola virus, or against Mexico and Latinx groups for the Swine flu. Fair treatment towards Asian populations has been neglected for too long - it’s seen as something which should not to be taken as seriously as making a racially charged statement about another ethnic group. For Asians, it’s “just a joke”. For others, it’s outright racist.


Another long withstanding issue regarding the treatment of Asian Americans is the unwillingness of many to distinguish amongst vast ethnic groups and populations. In short, too many people still live by the mantra of “All Orientals Look the Same”, even adding on new additions such as “All Orientals Must Act the Same Way” or “All Orientals Must Carry Coronavirus”. In the Los Angeles Times article, we see first-hand accounts of Asian Americans recounting instances (pre-lockdown) of people targeting them for carrying the virus. A TSA agent jeered at mask-wearing Aida Zhu, stating “I hope you’re not ill”. Andrew Nguyen recalls an experience during which a customer asked for a new mask, simply because Nguyen had brushed the surface with his finger. Stories like this are not only sickening to hear, but also outrageous acts of stereotyping. It absolutely amazes me that in pre-COVID times, when the United States positive case count numbered in the mere thousands, so many people could associate the disease with just any Asian face that they see. While it’s tremendously saddening, it also speaks volumes about the innate thoughts of many Americans regarding people of Asian descent. Katherine Lu summarizes this perfectly in the LA Times article, saying “The coronavirus is an opportunity for [people] to safely express their racist thoughts in a way that can be excused.” The pandemic has highlighted that century-old stereotypes are very much alive and well today.


The truth is, the heart of the problem within Asian American perception is the perpetual lack-of-understanding for their culture. While this most certainly is an issue that all ethnicities face, it’s frequently highlighted within Asian populations as many seek to collectively associate Asian faces with the one country which apparently represents all of Asia, China. The term “Chinaman” has been used in America to mock not just real Chinese men, but any person who may resemble or be associated with an Asian thing. Furthermore, Americans seem to be unwilling to accept that Asian American culture differs from their own. While millions of US citizens proclaim that they love eating orange chicken and chow mein, they demonized Chinese people for eating “dogs and bats”. Some people say that Asian languages sound ugly and loud, without considering how English might sound to a non-native speaker. Misrepresentation and misunderstanding has challenged all groups of people. The issue, once again, is that people feel at ease with perpetuating such connotations about Asians specifically. They make fun of that which they don’t understand, including the culture, customs, and traditions of Asian Americans. Nor does it help that recent socioeconomic factors have strained US-China relations, with the most notable of such factors being, of course, the rhetoric of Donald Trump. The POTUS has been avid in his rejection of China since pre-pandemic times; even now, he refuses to relent, and continues to enforce trade blockades with China. “History is resurfacing again, with China becoming a stronger country and more competitive and a threat to U.S. dominance today, just like Japan was a threat in the second world war.”, states UC Berkeley researcher and lecturer Winston Tseng via Berkeley News. Regardless of how you feel regarding the political affairs at-hand, this marks grave trouble for Asian Americans, many of whom are already feeling the effects of President Trump’s words.


Given all that we now know regarding the history of Asian Americans, one fact has become clear. The issues and plights of this group have long been ignored for a simple reason: Asian Americans have not struggled enough to be taken seriously. I must first disclaim that by no means do I disregard the issues which Asian Americans have faced in the past, nor do I mean to disrespect the real struggles which other POC groups are facing; the point which I mean to make by this statement is an overall perception of Asians which seems to apply to our nation. Asian Americans have, for the most part, been relatively successful within the United States. This ethnic group boasts the highest-average income of any demographic, even higher than white Americans. Asian Americans have low unemployment rates, and their children continue to maintain high-achieving status in schools. In short, they’ve integrated themselves into American society very successfully, further perpetuating the “model minority myth”. Yet in this success of the mean, some people seem to forget that Asian Americans face real struggles, similar to that of other POC, in their day-to-day life. However, this fact is brushed aside because they don’t need the support and advocacy which other groups do. This in turn alienates Asian Americans not only from white Americans, but also from other minority demographics within the US. As an Asian American myself, this fact has become clear to me since childhood. One of the most striking works which I’ve seen regarding the Asian American experiences comes from the artwork of Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom. This picture, depicting a presumptively Asian boy, shows a child dusting his face with white powder, representing an attempt by many Asian children to conform in American society. It’s a very real and accurate experience: one which I, many of my peers, have undergone because our country puts Asian American experiences on the back-burner, and doesn’t seem to value us as much as other groups. This needs to change.


Asian Americans have long been neglected within our country for reasons which were absolutely out of their control. The United States, as a whole, has become so acutely unaware of discrimination towards Asians that it passes unchecked from the mouths of our President, our peers, and sometimes ourselves. To address another question posed by @user1234, “what are some ways in which we can be up standers and fight against Asian discrimination?” Asian American experiences need to stop being brushed over - treat Asian American tragedies with the same horror with which we treat the enslavement of Black Americans or the genocide of Indigenous peoples. Furthermore, instead of Asian American, why not utilize terms such as Chinese-American, Japanese-American, Korean-American, Vietnamese-American, Indian-American? Break the cycle of misrepresentation, misunderstanding, and ignorance through educating yourself regarding the rich and diverse cultures of the “Orient”. We must all adapt our attitudes, and make sure that our efforts in creating a better America don’t overlook this portion of our nation.


My question is, as tensions grow between the United States and China, how do we separate the perception and treatment of Asian Americans from political affairs which they have no relation to?

An effective way to combat this problem would be educating members of American society on the diversity of Asian cultures that exist. As we learned about in class, the idea that all people of Asian descent look the same is prevalent throughout not just American culture, but global culture as a whole. Many people have witnessed incidents of others mistaking one Asian person for another, which spreads the stereotype of homogeneity throughout our community. In our education system, we must incorporate anti-racist curriculum that also confront the history and larger presence of Anti-Asian discrimination. This should involve exposure to all types of East Asian cultures, from Japanese to Singaporean, to make sure that everyone is well aware of the variety and depth of values and traditions. This will invalidate the myth that the Asian community is a homogeneous body, which will disassociate many of them with the country of China. However, we also must emphasize the fact that Asian Americans are deeply embedded into larger American society. Many of them have come here in seek of a better life, or their ancestors have, and deeply believe in American values and traditions. Asian Americans attend our public school system, work in our economy, and represent their fellow citizens in government. This should dispel the idea that they are somehow any more obligated to their home countries than they are to the United States of America.

ernest.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

Forms of Anti-Asian Racism

Similar to the discrimination against Native Americans that we have recently discussed, anti-Asian discrimination is far less talked-about and acknowledged than it should be. I, for one, as a non-Asian, while not exactly shocked by what read over in class today, still found it somewhat new. When we do discuss racism against (East) Asians, it is usually in the context of the model minority myth (MMM), and stereotypes people often have such as “all Asians are good at math.” The reading of people’s encounters with discrimination, both in the blog Ms. Freeman gave us during class and in the Time and PBS articles, all of which contained incidents of direct aggression and even assault, was thus so important: we need to recognize that there are Asian-Americans, like Black people and other oppressed groups, who live in fear of suffering from the violent and physical manifestations of racism, as was described in the Time article by one victim who began avoiding the bus for fear of assault, and another, Jilleen, who began planning her outings so that she was always in a position to defend herself (such as never having her hands full with groceries).

Reading the HRW report was also informative for me, in the sense that I hadn’t previously considered the extent to which our government really does have the power to help combat hatred against Asian Americans, especially in this time. It saddened me to reflect that my expectations are so low of my government after the last few years (+ the last 400 or so), it wouldn’t even occur to me to expect them to do something about this concerning trend, such as setting up hotlines and “enhanced policing of hate crimes.” Going on to our more personal implicit biases, there is of course the MMM, an issue certainly prominent at BLS given that non-Asian students often group Asian students together, seeing them as all good at math, all playing an instrument, all getting good grades, etc. etc. In terms of the roots of this issue, I have to give a huge thanks to @BlueWhale24 for their detailed post (holy cow that was long, but well worth the read!!!) on the origins of this issue. It was incredibly informative and I recommend looking it over to anyone who hasn’t. It seems immigration patterns have helped shape the statistical success of many Asian Americans in our society, which many associate with a lack of barriers or discrimination. I’d add on to @BlueWhale24’s analysis that, like many other foreign (well, non-Northern European) ethnic groups, many Asians are seen as “dirty” or “uncivilized.” Many will likely recognize the stereotype that Chinese food is more likely to get you sick (even though it really isn’t- if anyone watches Ugly Delicious on Netflix there is an episode that addresses this racist myth), and I distinctly remember seeing a clip early on in the pandemic of a Fox News guest going on about how the coronavirus revealed just how “uncivilized” Chinese culture is. This aligns perfectly with the comment by the Italian governor, cited by @BlueWhale24, about Chinese people being “unclean.” This specific problem (i.e. the issue of seeing foreign cultures that differ greatly from our own as inferior or barbarous) can be addressed by increasing representation of other cultures in media/entertainment, and more teaching about them in school from a young age!
Going off of that, I must admit there is a specific type of sinophobia popular (at least among young kids), which paints anything as totally opposite from the norm as “Chinese,” has puzzled me a bit. I remember in elementary school, kids used to use “Chinese” as a modifier to indicate strangeness/oppositeness: allowing someone to cut in line by moving up to right behind you (as opposed to in front of you) was called “Chinese cutting,” the pinky finger was “the Chinese middle finger”—I always thought that one was particularly ridiculous—and so forth. Why Chinese? Why not German, Mexican, or Egyptian?? I’m not quite sure why we particularly associated China with extreme difference, but I feel sure that the answer to this is revealing. The only similar thing I can think of is “Indian sunburn.” When we got electronics, I remember my neighbors used to think it was hilarious to put Siri in Mandarin Chinese and listen to her speak- again, why not any other language? This was a terrible mockery of a another people’s language and our parents should never have tolerated it, and we should never have done it. Needless to say, there were almost zero Asian American kids in my school, and kids did things there were far worse- such as pulling at their skin to make their eyes small and saying racist things like “Ching Chong”- that went unpunished by the adults around us. How could they have been so tolerant of such blatant racism?! Kids certainly didn’t do these things for other races. I must say, tonight is the first time I have given this amount of thought to it, and now I wonder the extent to which others experienced these things at their own elementary schools. (Side note, reflecting on this has led me to text my friends from my old school about how racist kids (including us) used to be there in regrad to Asian Americans!! They agreed that they were shocked about how bad it used to be. I am thinking of two Vietnamese brothers I was friendly with, the only Asian kids in our grade, and what they must have endured….)

Hopefully more students can comment on Anti-American racism as it has occurred in their elementary/middle schools. I also want to pose a question about the issue of conflating all East Asian nationalities into “Asian.” While if we explicitly know someone’s nationality, it’s better to refer to them as that instead of as simply “Asian” when we need to refer to their race, but what about when we don’t know their nationality? When we don’t know someone’s nationality (and this is with the understanding that it is generally inappropriate to ask someone about their background, unprompted), do we just resign ourselves to calling them Asian American? Do we expect people to differentiate based on appearance who is from where? That seems weird and unrealistic, but I wonder what other people think about this.

yvesIKB
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

Bridging Gaps, Denouncing "Othering"

Since the rampant Coronavirus outbreak, we have seen racism against Asians become vitriolic and plant itself deeper into society. Growing up as an Asian-American, I have always felt the persistent, underlying effects of racism as I moved through society; now, with this pandemic, anti-Asian rhetoric has surfaced in such overt ways that I almost cannot believe it is possible. But, of course — if it wasn’t evident enough from the words of politicians and from thousands of reports of assault and harassment — it is possible, and it has been present for decades of our country’s history.


In the film, Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066, it is clear that discrimination against Asians in America is not a new practice. We can even still see effects of the racist stereotypes of that time now during this pandemic, specifically the notion of Asians being akin to “diseased carriers of incurable afflictions, like smallpox and bubonic plague,” according to the Berkeley News article “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies.” Moreover, what we see, both with Executive Order 9066, and now with the Coronavirus, is that these false notions have been perpetuated by military and government leaders, guides for our country, on account of their xenophobic political agendas. China’s increasingly competitive relationship with the United States has incited more anti-Asian sentiment in our country, and our political leaders, like Trump, certainly have used this virus as a means to bolster the dominance of white supremacy through nationalism and xenophobia. Instead of assuaging the fears of their citizens, they use them to fuel racism. As Berkeley News continues, this parallels the responses of American leaders in the 19th century, with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act as Chinese laborers became more competitive, and in the 20th century, with the internment of Japanese citizens as Japan gained strength and influence during World War II.


To touch upon @iluvcows’ question of the origin of these stereotypes, I would say a lot of them form because they serve as weaponry of white supremacists to reinforce prejudices, that all peoples from around the globe (who are not white Europeans) are lesser than, just by nature of their birth or ethnicity. Many other ways we discriminate with stereotypes are based on accents or physical appearance, and this form of mockery too is utilized to put down peoples of color, to say our existences are somehow lesser than. Frankly, it is soul-crushing to see how easy it is for the prejudices to come into law, for federal legislation to be put forth (recently with the Muslim Travel Bans and attempts to rescind DACA — see here for a longer list), all for the purpose of prohibiting “The Other,” as if immigrants are a problem that Americans, if they are true patriots, must solve.


And I feel the effects. As much as I can call America my home, as much as my relatives can joke that I am basically completely American and not Asian, I still feel the label of “Other,” as I’m sure many of my Asian-American friends do too. Growing up in America as an Asian can be a confusing experience, because you might feel American in the way you talk or dress or act, but you do not see yourself in America’s songs, or movies, or books, or Congress, or teachers. What really struck a chord was that with Haruka Sakaguchi’s project in Time Magazine, ‘I Will Not Stand Silent,’ it is not just first generation immigrants who face this classification as a “foreigner,” but also individuals who are fifth or sixth generation, being told that they do not belong here. It is as if by wearing an Asian face or bearing an Asian name, we are tainted, stained by our country of origin. This way of thinking was very apparent with the emergence of the Coronavirus — we see Asian people who have not returned to their homeland in years, being accused of bringing the virus to America. We see family businesses in Chinatown, closed, because somehow by vaguely sharing the facial features of millions across the world, they are one and the same. This is yet another pattern we have seen with the Alternative Facts film, where Japanese-Americans were accused of communicating with Japanese forces across the globe, despite there being zero evidence or means of such, because of their common Asian face. This monotonizing of being simply and identically Asian — despite the fact that we are very, very different — is so pernicious, and continues its influence on our social fabric today.


To my surprise, the “Othering” of Asians is not an exclusively American phenomenon. The Human Rights Watch report, “Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide,” opened my eyes to the fact that this is really everywhere. It is possible that I, like other Americans, am way too focused only on the affairs of the United States, so it was shocking to read that in Russia, the state-owned transport company Mosgortrans had their drivers report any Chinese passengers to the police, or that an Italian governor tweeted about the hygienic superiority of Italians, compared with Chinese people. Asians in various countries are so disconnected from each other, we don’t know the similarities or differences in our experiences. But if anything, it shows the anti-Asian rhetoric (and accompanying white supremacy) is more pervasive than we might’ve thought.


I also read in the Human Rights Watch report that Muslims, in Sri Lanka and India, have been discriminated against due to an association with the Coronavirus — an idea so absurd I can’t imagine where it could possibly come from. But that is the danger of scapegoating. And we certainly are not immune from this in America, especially after 9/11, with the devastating, incessant attacks against Muslims (or anyone who looked like they might be). In this case, I think of a statement by Hasan Minhaj, an Indian-American Muslim comedian, that as immigrants, it is like we always “have to put on these press releases to prove our patriotism,” to prove that we are not foreigners and we want America to thrive just as much as a white citizen does. With 9/11, there was the notion that Muslims are terrorists; with the Coronavirus, there was the notion that Chinese people have brought the virus — in both cases, there is an “Othering” where a group of people are seen as attackers of their own country.


Because other ethnic or racial groups might view Asian-Americans as attacking the country, Asian-Americans are being attacked. What I’ve noticed, both from the Time article, and from the Stand Against Hatred accounts in class, is that much of the time, they are being accosted in public, and, moreover, that they are not being defended. I’m not sure why this is, but it breaks my heart. For me, being a non-Asian ally (just with other marginalized groups) means speaking up, even when it is not convenient for you. It means treating us as complex individuals, not flat characters who are all alike. I think, in response to @Cookie Monster’s question of confronting social media hate-speech, speaking up goes for online platforms too. Preventing hate-speech is not the same as preventing free-speech, so when we see these attacks on certain communities for their skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, etc., we can report it and point out why it is wrong, instead of swiping away and allowing the user to continue spreading their hatred.


From these attacks, I have also noticed a rather intersectional effect. For instance, the article “2,120 hate incidents against Asian Americans reported during coronavirus pandemic” by CBS News discloses that with reported hate incidents in California, for those who included their gender, “Asian-American women reported almost twice as many incidents of discrimination and harassment as men.” Additionally, I’ve noticed with the Time article that for those sharing their experiences, women in particular shared having to change their schedule, or make some kind of accommodation, for fear of being harassed again. It definitely saddens me that there is a lack of safety among Asian-Americans, that, for a time, even I could not stop myself from tensing during the rare times I left the house in the pandemic for fear I would be attacked or harassed.


Being an Asian-American sometimes feels like bottling everything up, trying to keep being this perfect, “model” citizen, to be as invisible as possible. But if anything, I am proud of us — for protesting when Vincent Chin was murdered, for reporting our experiences on Stand Against Hatred, for figures like Michelle Wu and Andrew Yang taking a chance, for becoming participants in art and film instead of defaulting to STEM, for finding the courage to resist so that we may exist as we are.


It’s not all bright and happy, of course. I’ve found there is so much division that exists in Asian communities, between different Asian countries, and between Asian Americans and other ethnic groups (shamefully, with Black people in particular) in America. There is such an unwillingness to let go of prejudices, to see each other (even amongst minorities) as equals — and this is another symptom of white domination and oppression. But it will take everyone, of all races and ethnicities, to overcome these prejudices and build a just society, and I already see it changing drastically with our generation. A question I have left is, how can we bridge social barriers amongst all races as young people? How can we move outside our comfort zones, away from just people who look like us, to socialize more diversely, to listen to different perspectives, and to see each other as humans in the end? I think making an effort to understand each other in this way is most productive to mending old wounds — after all, as Maya Angelou once said, “we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

cherryblossom
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

Xenophobia Before and Now: Its Impacts

It’s no surprise that acts of physical and verbal aggression against Asian Americans have significantly increased since the beginning of the pandemic. Both the articles and the comments on the Stand Against Hatred site clearly show that Trump’s rhetoric and attitude toward the virus have contributed to the rise of racism towards Asian Americans, as he calls it the “Chinese Virus” or “Kung Flu.” With no proper repercussions given to the aggressors in these incidents, hate speech and discrimination against Asians are normalized. As an Asian American, I have witnessed anti-Asian sentiments around the coronavirus as white American shoppers gave my mother disgusted looks when she touched and picked up fruit from the produce section of the grocery store. Racist incidents like this also root from the decades of xenophobia that Asian Americans have faced. To echo the Berkeley News article, between the 1910’s and 1940’s, more than 225,000 Chinese and Japanese immigrants were kept at Angel Island, where they were interrogated and forced to go through medical examinations. With these examinations, health officials concluded that Asians were carriers of diseases, like the bubonic plague and smallpox. In addition, assumptions were made about Asians being labor competition to and stealing jobs from white Americans. These stereotypes that are internalized in our society and culture have been elevated ever since the pandemic began.


Xenophobia against Asian Americans also stems from the hysteria that developed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II, leading to the mass incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans. The film Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066discussed a lot about this. I learned that the media outlets on the West Coast exaggerated details and twisted perceptions of Japanese Americans, adding to the collective fear of the public. It prompted people to call the police and FBI, claiming that they saw light signals on the coast and Japanese planes flying over them or that their neighbors had radios which they were using to communicate with the Japanese. Moreover, I am more upset by the fact that the Executive Order 9066 and internment camps were purely based on assumptions. The government had no evidence that Japanese Americans committed acts of espionage and sabotage. Dewitt and other officials that carried out the incarceration of Japanese Americans justified their response with racist reasons like “they are so ethnically different from us that we cannot trust them”, “the lack of evidence is evidence”, or “we cannot distinguish the loyal from the disloyal.” In addition, Dewitt was aware of documents stating that Japanese Americans posed no danger and that the internment of this ethnic group was not recommended, and he took efforts to destroy these documents. In short, he suppressed evidence from the Supreme Court and he knew what he was doing was wrong. The reality behind the imprisonment of Japanese Americans alone tells a lot about our history.


These racist policies and systems and the harassment related to COVID-19 have enormous impacts on Asian Americans. They change the way we look at the world, the way we feel about our community, and the way we see ourselves. The Marshall Project article shows us how anti-Asian attitudes and thoughts affect Asian Americans. Felix Sitthivong explains how he felt disappointed after he received a racist comment from an individual and no one else in the room cared to intervene. This incident caused him to recall racist experiences during his childhood, such as being told to “go back to China'' or being bullied for the smell of his lunches. I can also recall racist incidents that I have faced. I remember people telling me as an elementary schooler that my nose was too flat and my eyes were too small, chanting racist limericks about Asians, and assuming that I was Chinese. This emphasizes that racism leaves pain scars on those who are affected by it, as those moments become ingrained in their minds and haunt them. Furthermore, in the PBS article, Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, like Felix Sitthivong, expressed her concern about the discrimination and racial attacks that her children might face as Asians. She talked about how she moved her family from Sweden to Auckland because of the amount of racism in Sweden and had conversations with her children about anti-Asian attacks, telling them that they will face discrimination because of the way they look. Asians should not have to worry about our safety when we go out in public or move to a different country or city to ensure our safety. We should not have to teach our young children “survival strategies” to prepare for incidents of racial aggression. This series of comics that Wool-Rim Sjöblom created is beneficial because it combines storytelling with activism by allowing the stories of Asians to be heard. Her comics will also make conversations with children easier and allow young children to be aware of the racial insensitivity and inequality that exist within our society.


To answer @CookieMonster’s question, projects like these comics are a step forward in supporting the Asian community and confronting the hate against Asians both online and face-to-face. As the Teen Vogue article mentioned, we should take additional strides to empower Asians and put an end to the racist and violent situations that they experience. Efforts we as a society should take are establishing anti-bullying policies to allow Asians, especially the youth, to feel safe at school and on online, creating anti-racism and anti-bullying training workshops, and providing wellness services and programs to support individuals that feel alone. Most of all, I think we should change school curriculums by adding the history of Asian Americans because education will allow people to understand racist policies and systems against Asian Americans and recognize the impacts of racism.


My Question: According to the Teen Vogue article, only 10% of people intervened in all the reported incidents of racism against Asians during the pandemic? Is this the case for other racial groups, or only for Asians? Why?


kurapika
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

a rise in anti-Asian sentiments

Due to COVID-19, anti-Asian sentiment has been currently thriving. However, discrimination towards Asians in America is frankly, not new; Asians have been perceived as a threat as far back as the beginning of the gold rush in California. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to the Japanese internment camps during WWII and the Vietnam War, the distrust and disdain for Asians in this country have only spread

When news of COVID-19 first hit America, government officials, the most vocal being Trump, were quick to label it any variation of “the Chinese Virus”. Associating this virus with Asian-American effectively shifts the blame onto that very group. Because of this, anti-Asian hysteria spread through American society, which only served to exacerbate the anti-Asian sentiment this country carried before this. This rise in discrimination has sadly impacted Asian-American businesses, with CBS reporting a significant loss of sales and increased harassment of workers; according to CBS, “More than 2,100 anti-Asian American hate incidents related to COVID-19 were reported across the country over a three-month time span”. Like Executive Order 9066, misconceptions of Asian-Americans have been supported by the government and spread through the American public.


So, if there are so many examples of anti-Asian sentiment in this country alone, why are so many unaware of this history? One main root of this blockage is the “model minority myth” that has been curated in this country for ages. According to the Pew Research Center, Asians constitute the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” Because of this, Asian-Americans are often seen as being closer to whiteness than other minority groups in America; this is only emphasized by the interchanging labels of “POC” or “white” in our country’s institutions. Because of this, American society believes for the most part that Asian-Americans receive all the privileges that come with being white, and that they are not “POC.” This sense of superiority is, like @babypluto9 wrote, internalized by the Asian-American community, which ostracizes them both from white Americans and other POC Americans.


On a somewhat lighter note, like what we saw in Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066, many Asian-Americans and their allies have fought against this surge in anti-Asian prejudice. An example is Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, a Korean-Swedish artist who is using her art as a way to showcase the racism the Asian community has faced due to COVID-19. Lastly, as for what non-Asians can do to be allies, I think the first step must be educating yourself and unlearning misconceptions and biases that you have. Secondly, don’t be afraid to stand up and not be a bystander; according to Teen Vogue, in cases of discrimination and racism towards young people, “only in 10% of cases did bystanders intervene.” It is important to fight discrimination and hate when you witness it. Only then will be able to tackle the normalized racism against Asians that this country loves to perpetuate.
vare
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Much like many others have stated, this never ending hate and blatant racism against Asians has certainly increased with the coming of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this issue seems to always be hidden in the shadows, and many are unaware or simply decide to ignore the hate that Asians continue to be subjected to. Many seem to gloss over the hate that Asians receive, as (especially in America) Asians have been branded as the “model minority.” One of the more significant events that highlighted this hate and racism towards Asian is the immigration station at Angel Island. The American government implemented the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which delayed and prevented Asians from immigrating to the United States. While it may not have been the exact origin for Asian hate, unquestionably further divided white Americans and Asians. As to why most non-Asians as well as some Asians are unaware of this deep rooted history, much of this is never spoken about in normal school education. Much of American history never dives too deeply into the deep rooted hate against Asians, and fails to address the current continuous hate that Asians receive.


In terms of the Asian response to their undeserving hate, there have certainly been protests and movements carried out to not only spread awareness but to fight against this racism. While there are certainly many that decide to fight against this racism, those who personally experience this hate are in a position where (many times) they fear for their own life. The Time article that provided 10 accounts of Asian Americans who faced racist slurs and threats clearly shows how many seem to view Asians. In every single one of these accounts, the victim is simply going about their day to day activities when they are suddenly provoked by racist strangers simply because they are Asian. Many of these were in direct relation to COVID-19 where the provokers would immediately assume any Asian they met was Chinese, and therefore supposedly deserve getting insulted and threatened for a virus that was in no way their fault. However, through all the hate it’s incredibly empowering to see that people are protesting against Asian discrimination and the general public is becoming more aware of the underlying issues of racism towards Asians in the United States. While it is far from perfect, it certainly is a step towards more awareness and less racism.


To follow up the previous statements, I believe one of the first steps that non-Asians can take is to not only be educated on the history of anti-Asian hate, but to also spread that knowledge to friends, colleagues, family members, etc. We must first be aware of the issue in order to fully tackle it, and from there it is possible to take more definitive action against racism against Asians. Much like many other cases of racism, this isn’t going to be a quick and easy fix. It may take decades for those who have such a twisted conception of Asians to dismantle these ideas, but even then I without a doubt believe that there’s hope in the future.

Noodles
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 15

Xenophobia and Anti-Asian Sentiment in America

Xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment has always existed in the US, but far too many people (mostly white) have become desensitized from hearing and seeing it. Only within the past year with the coronavirus outbreak, has this hatred become more visible to most Americans. As the article from UC Berkeley explains, America has a long standing history of anti-Asian policies restricting their entrance into the country purely based off of discrimination and predujice.The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and the immigration station of Angel Island that was used to detain hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Japanese immigrants did not occur because Asians were “diseased carriers of incurable afflictions,” but because they were seen as a threat to white Americans jobs. Whenever a country is facing economic turmoil, the government and people often use prosperous minorities as escape goats. In 1930s Germany it was the Jewish, in 1940s America it was the Japanese. Executive Order 9066 led to the wrongful and unjust internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans purely because they faced a “threat” to white American farmers. Japanese-Americans lost their farms, land, and incomes. Today, with the growing anti-Asian discrimination from the coronavirus, Asian-American restaurants have lost business and income as customers avoid their businesses in fear of contracting the virus.


The othering of Asians could possibly come from a place of not knowing about Asian-American history, as it is easier to hate and discriminate against something that is unknown or foreign to one. As the article from PBS pointed out, many Asians who face discrimination related to the coronavirus were not even Chinese. This shows that many people just generalize Asians as one group of people, similar to how Native Americans are grouped together even though their individual tribes are vastly different from one another. One thing that non-Asians could do is recognize that “Asian” is an overarching term for descendents from countries within continental Asia. Similarly to how Germans or Italians are usually referred to as Germans and Italians instead of plainly Europeans, non-Asians should try to be more specific when referring to an Asian colleague or friend. Another thing non-Asians need to do is be a good samaritan by confronting and intervening against discrimination. This is especially important as, shown by the CBS article, many of the discrimination that started as hate speech and slurs has quickly turned into physical violence against Asian-Americans.


In the “I Will Not Stand Quiet Article,” one of the Asian-Americans reflects that “COVID-19 racism is coinciding with an election year” which only helps to further the discrimination, especially when a US president is leading the charge. Abraham Choi, an Asian-American, was told that “all of you should die, and all of you have the Chinese virus” by a—most likely—Trump supporter referring to either all Asians or all Chinese. It should be no suprise that when a president spreads the terminology of “Chinese flu” and “Kung Flu”—basically approving anti-Asian discrimination and hate—there will be a rise in such discrimination and hate. The article also explains how they have dealt with the rise in discrimination, and how they will not stand for it. Ida Chen, an Asian-American who was followed by a white man on a bicycle shouting derogatory slurs at her, is still fighting for BLM even though her family asked her to avoid the protests due to anti-Asian sentiments. Many of the others had similar beliefs of not backing down even from the fear of discrimination. The video on Executive Order 9066 explained how Asian-Americans have always fought for their rights, especially to overturn internment, and that is how many Asian-Americans are confronting this othering in the time of COVID-19.


To answer @cherryblossom's question: There are many different reasons why no one would intervene, ranging from uncertainty to the risk of getting hurt themselves or even catching COVID and spreading it to their loved ones. Often in a group, people expect someone else who is more qualified to step in, and they wait, not knowing if they themselves may be the most qualified. We have seen this in previous lessons, especially revolving around the good/bad samaritan. But then there is also the racial aspect of it, and I do believe that more people would have intervened had the incident been against a white person.


My question: With the national and international BLM protests, do you think that the Asian American Movement is being overshadowed and underrepresented? If so, what do you think activists should do to raise awareness?

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