posts 16 - 28 of 28
bebe
Posts: 17

If we are not careful, history will definitely repeat itself

Most people, including myself, when they hear the word racism, immediately begin to associate it with African Americans, and we are not necessarily wrong in doing so. However, it is easy to overlook the immense history of racism and descrimination against other groups of people, such as Asian Americans, especially when it is so rarely talked about.


For years, even in our own school, Asian Americans were considered to be “white” solely based on their lighter skin color. But if this were true, it would mean that they also benefit from all of the same privileges that come with being a white person in America, and they most certainly have not. Racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans in our country has been present for centuries, and it is most certainly extremely prevalent today following the COVID 19 pandemic.


In the Berkeley News article, “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians Rooted in Long American History of Prejudicial Biases,” a research assistant, Winston Tseng, warns us that we could be headed towards a repeating of the history of intense and dangerous descrimination like in World War II and the Japanese internment camps.


Political leaders across the world are not doing anything to help denounce racism towards Asian people, and are in fact in some ways, encouraging it. As soon as news started to break about the coronavirus pandemic starting in Wuhan, China Donald Trump immediately started associating the virus itself with all Asians, regardless of the fact that the virus spreads the same way in everyone. He called it derogatory names such as the, “China virus” or the “Kung Flu.” When the leader of a country says something like this, he is essentially making it acceptable and normal to be prejudiced against Asian Americans. It is extremely obvious that this was the outcome when looking at the statistics from CBS news that there were 2,120 hate crimes against Asian Americans between March and June. Asian owned restaurants around the country are also losing business at record level amounts because people have been told to be scared to eat there. One popular restaurant in New York City has lost over 1.5 million dollars this past year.


Numbers as staggering as this cannot be ignored. The Anti-Asian racism and xenophobia in our country and around the world has been put on the international human rights watch. There is a call to action for all public officials to educate themselves and others to stop spreading hate speech and to promote respect.


This leads me to a question asked by @yvesIKB about how as young people, we can help build barriers across all races. I think, especially at our school and living in Massachusetts, we are all extremely fortunate to be receiving quality and well rounded educations. But we also need to use what we are learning to continue to educate those around us and build connections. Things like the global civic obligation initiative we have been taking part in this year are extremely valuable. We need to normalize the communication and empathy with those around us if we ever want a chance at starting to resolve this overpowering issue in our world.


Branching off of this idea of using even very locally our own global partners in this class, I would like to ask this question. How might you go about starting a conversation about racism and discrimination in other countries and the different ways to begin to combat it?


orangedino
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

Because the Coronavirus originated in China, China has been blamed for the pandemic. As a result, Chinese people have been the subject of rude and inappropriate behavior. It doesn’t help that our president did nothing to form any sense of unity during this pandemic, but rather instead of calling the Coronavirus by it’s name, he calls it the “China virus” which only creates more division. Many non-Asian Americans have taken it upon themselves to take out their anger of the pandemic on Chinese-Americans with hate crimes. But most Americans cannot tell the difference between Asians, so it is not only Chinese-Americans who are being hate crimed, but all Asian-Americans. The Teen Vogue article provides us with the statistic that 10% of Asian American Pacific Islander youths have been in a physical altercation because of their race.


The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 created an extremely xenophobic environment in America with Americans holding grudges against all Asians because of the acts of war from Japan. The country was powered by hysteria, the government convinced the citizens that all Japanese Americans were Japanese spies here to take them over. Which caused the government to build and fund the Japanese internment camps. Xenophobia is so deeply rooted in our history and our government, which is why it needs to be addressed to take the necessary steps to combat the negative impact it has on Asians in America. To answer the question brought up by @bebe, “How might you go about starting a conversation about racism and discrimination in other countries and the different ways to begin to combat it?” I think we need to spread awareness that this is a problem to begin with. I, personally, was unaware that xenophobia is still alive and well, I thought this was something that we have overcome as a country, but hearing the experiences different people have had has opened my eyes. In the Marshall Project article, Felix Sitthivong expressed his concerns for his son’s safety because of the rising hate crimes against Asian-Americans due to the pandemic. The first step to solving any problem is recognizing that there is a problem. Our country has a severe problem with racism against Asians and we need people higher up in our government to speak about it and alert the public because no one can come up with a plan on how to go about solving things if no one even knows that there is a problem in need of solving. Non-Asians should make sure to always listen to their Asian friends, family, coworkers, ect... to make sure that Asian experiences are listened to and heard.


The question I would like to present is: Why do you think, when speaking about racism in our country, that Asians are often not the topic of conversation?

speedyninja
BOSTON, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

All Asians do not Look the Same

First, to answer @bebe’s question, I would say that the easiest way to start a conversation about racism in other countries and how we can combat it would be simply to share our experiences with people in other countries to spark dialogue and draw connections or find different perspectives. For example, although the pandemic and resulting racism is obviously terrible. It did seem to spark dialogue among Asians in different countries about the discrimination they face. In this way, I think we will find that there are many similarities when it comes to racism in different countries, and because it is a global issue, we might as well work together to solve it. As you mentioned, our global civic obligation initiative is a great pathway for us to share experiences and collaborate. With our padlet about oppressed peoples in each of our countries, we saw so many commonalities in both the race issues we face, and how we are trying to combat them.


Unfortunately, it is clear that racial discrimination and othering within the United States and around the world does not exclude Asians. If it wasn’t as obvious before, the Corona Virus has brought this issue into the limelight. I agree with @babypluto9 in that I think one origin of this hatred against Asians lies in the perception that Asians are a threat. As we saw in the Executive Order 9066 film, this trend dates back in the United States to the beginnings of Asian immigration to our country. Roughly 30 years after the first influx of Asian immigration, the Chinese Exclusion act was passed in 1882, because it was believed that Chinese laborers were to blame for economic troubles and lower wages. Later, during the second world war, Japanese Americans were unfairly and incorrectly perceived as a threat to the safety of the United States and were forced into internment camps. Portrayed as spies and traitors with no evidence whatsoever, the chaos and paranoia of war combined with the corruption and immorality of leaders such as John Dewitt created the perfect environment for such an atrocity to occur. Additionally, the threat of Japan as a rival nation with a booming economy may have been a factor in this discrimination.


More recently, as stated in the UC Berkeley article, with the rise of China as a global superpower, some Americans feel the threat of the United States being replaced as the “best” or most powerful nation, culminating in anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiments. Finally, as ridiculous as it is, as seen in the CBS video and article, some terribly misinformed people believe that asians are a threat because they carry the coronavirus or are to blame for the pandemic. For example, just one of the thousands of examples of Coronavirus related racism includes a Chinese man in a San Francisco hardware store who was berated with comments such as, “bringing that Chinese virus over here.” Even global leaders are taking part in Covid related racism. Here, We have Trump continuously calling it the Chinese virus, and as noted in the Human Rights Watch article, an Italian governor remarked that Italy would better handle the pandemic because of their “culturally strong attention to hygiene, washing hands, taking showers, whereas we have all seen the Chinese eating mice alive.” If the boom in cases of blatant racism against Asians is not directly a result of the virus, then perhaps this pandemic simply exposed the vast anti-Asian biases present in many people, which I believe is more likely.


This idea of Asian hatred stemming from the perception that they are a threat also aligns with a key fact talked about by others such as @BlueWhale24: that Asians who immigrated to the United States typically did so under their own free will, and they were not enslaved, colonized, or put through a genocide. Additionally, the same systemic socio economic issues present for African Americans, LatinX, and indigenous peoples, do not exist in the same way for Asian Americans, although they still do clearly face discrimination. These factors have led to the high standing of many Asian Americans on the ladder of academic and economic success and their perception as a threat. As Ms. Freeman points out, according to the PEW Research Center, Asian Americans make up the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” Because Asian Americans are known for this success but still have different and sometimes unfamiliar cultures, names, customs, appearances, and are just “others” in general, non-Asian Americans may perceive Asian Americans as a threat and have these anti-Asian biases.


To confront this discrimination, it seems Asian Americans have turned to all kinds of different methods. After the implementation of Executive Order 9066 and Public Law 503, some Japanese Americans such as Gordon Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui and Fred Korematsu purposefully disobeyed the law in a show of defiance against these injustices. Decades later, they again showed courage in returning to court to clear their names and expose the atrocities of Japanese internment. As we learned in class, after the murder of Vincent Chin, Asian Americans took to the streets protesting for justice and in general educating the country on the Asian-American experience. From the PBS article, in the wake of racism against Asians as a result of the pandemic, Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom is creating illustrations and comics aimed at raising awareness about this heinous discrimination. And finally, from the TIME article, individuals such as Abraham Choi, who was coughed and spit on in a bathroom, have spoken out about their experiences with racism, insisting on equality. Asians have done anything and everything from purposely disobeying the law to creating relatable comics to make their voice heard and fight against “othering”.


In order to be allies, I think non-Asians simply should first listen and try to understand the Asian experience as it relates to discrimination. It is important that people do not downplay or invalidate the struggles Asians face with racism, but instead realize that it exists and should be addressed. Obviously, non-Asians should not participate in this discrimination, but should also defend and speak out when they witness or are made aware of this racism. Non-Asians should try to elevate the voice of Asians, who are often underrepresented, and make their experiences heard, as well as fight alongside them, because only Asians fighting for themselves will not be able to create change. Finally, as @BlueWhale24 mentions, I think it is important that non-Asians more generally try to learn about the cultures of China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Malaysia, and all other Asian countries. If people come to know about these diverse and distinct countries, rather than simply be stuck in the mindset that “ALL ASIANS LOOK THE SAME,” I think there will be less othering and more understanding and unity.


My question is, when the pandemic fades (hopefully soon), do you think the boom in cases of anti-Asian discrimination will fade too and return to “normal levels”, or has the pandemic exposed and made acceptable public displays of discrimination against Asians that will continue to surface around the globe?

wisteria
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

For generations the plight of Asian Americans has gone overlooked and underestimated by leadership, mainstream media, and school curriculums. Only now that we find ourselves in a global pandemic with an administration intent on proliferating these hateful attitudes has this issue gained more attention, but it’s still not enough. In the past year we’ve seen things escalate to the point where Asian Americans are being spit on, kicked in the face, beaten, and verbally harassed just for daring to exist in public, and it’s largely because of the racist rhetoric that has now become normalized. We should not have to hear the words “China virus” from anchors on influential news outlets, at presidential press conferences, or even from the mouths of religious leaders in church on Christmas Eve. This constant rhetoric makes Asian Americans like myself feel like outsiders, unwelcome in our own community and country, but this feeling is neither new nor unfamiliar.

As discussed in the Berkley article, the United States has a history of imposing blatantly racist immigration policy against Asian people, like the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the excruciating process and mistreatment thousands of Asian immigrants had to endure on Angel island, taking over two years for some. This solidified their (and their descendants’) status as “foreigners” in our country, and as BlueWhale previously elucidated, was tied to both economic and xenophobic motives. Later in the 1940s, much of the furor behind internment of Japanese Americans was driven by competition in West Coast agriculture. They posed a greater threat to white domination of the economy than they did to national security, but politicians latched onto the growing resentment in the white farming population. And so the order for internment progressed, fueled by the bias and ambitions of corrupt officials hoping to gain public approval by eliminating this “threat”. Although as the documentary expressed, there was no actual evidence behind the reasoning for violating numerous Constitutional rights and traumatizing hundreds of thousands of Americans.

We’d like to think that our leaders today would not stand for such injustice, but far too many of them are still complicit in this cycle of Anti Asian American racism. As mentioned in the HRW article, this behavior is not unique to America. It’s shocking and infuriating that so many national leaders would say such disgusting, untrue things about Chinese people, knowing what kind of effect their words can have on their citizens. Earlier in the pandemic, activist groups in California requested aid from Governor Newsom to address the growing number of anti-Asian hate crimes, but they were rejected. A few months ago 164 Republican congresspeople voted against a measure that would simply acknowledge Anti American racism in this country, not even calling for any direct action (which was very much needed anyways).

It seems like our officials should care more about an issue that is affecting such an integral part of the American people. As Ms. Freeman mentioned, Asian Americans comprise the highest earning racial group and are therefore an essential part of our national economy (not to mention all the cultural contributions they’ve made). The necessity of their labor and contributions is what protected most Japanese Americans living in Hawaii from incarceration, as they made up a larger portion of the workforce than in the mainland states. Despite the essential role Asian Americans have always played in the development of our country, their issues are often ignored on a national level. Asian Americans have the largest wealth gap within any racial group, but this fact is constantly erased by the model minority myth. I can’t recall news anchors ever debating what policies candidates should support to appeal to Asian American voters. Is it because we make up such a small portion of the electorate, or because the many subgroups within Asian Americans have such different concerns? It’s not a great sign that he needed outside pressure from activist groups to include more AAPI people in his cabinet, but I hope that the Biden administration will do more to cater toward Asian American interests, such as supporting their businesses as Chinatowns across the country are at risk of permanent economic hardship from this pandemic.

Some of the instances of Anti Asian hate crimes which we examined in class were even committed by children, revealing that like other examples of racism we have studied, these Anti Asian American sentiments are being passed down from parent to child. It doesn’t help that Asian Americans lack sufficient representation in media or leadership to combat these prejudices. Despite high levels of education and achievement, Asian Americans rarely get high ranking, visible positions of leadership in government. Most of the time Asian American presence in media will be limited to harmful stereotypes or the butt of a racist joke. It’s no wonder that Americans living in mostly homogenous communities find it so easy to discriminate against and dehumanize Asian Americans when these are the representations they are fed.

I couldn’t resist scrolling through the comments under the LA Times video and naturally I found some pretty unpleasant things. Some were blaming anti Asian American racism on the actions of China and the CCP, as if Chinese Americans are synonymous with a foreign government located thousands of miles away. In the video, Erika Lee references Asian Americans’ resistance to centuries of racism, a history that is often overlooked in favor of the false image of a passive racial group, complacent in their own oppression, as well as that of other marginalized groups. While in some cases assimilation and “passivity” were necessary survival mechanisms to succeed in a society dominated by white people, this does not account for the entire Asian American response to racism. It is important that we acknowledge the various movements Asian Americans participated in and led, like the reaction to Vincent Chin’s lynching (which I sadly never even knew about until this week) or the mobilization of Asian, Black, Latinx, and other marginalized students in 1970s California to protest for broader representation and inclusivity in their schools’ curriculums. I think the erasure of this history is why we haven’t see such strong solidarity among different groups of people of color in recent years. The events of 2020 seem to have restored some of that unity among people of color, or at least demonstrated how desperately we need it to enact real change. I think we’ve all gained some valuable perspective on the challenges other minorities face. As Sitthivong mentions in his article, he gained some understanding of “the talk” Black parents must give their children when warning his son about Anti Asian hate crimes. To respond to j4ne.d03’s question on how racism against Asian people’s differs from racism against other minorities like Black, Latinx, and Indigenous peoples, I would say that anti Asian American racism has been more discreet in recent years and thus receives far less publicity and outcry. Asian American success has been weaponized against them as a tool to cover up the very real struggles and discrimination they face. The model minority myth (which mainly applies to East Asians) creates the illusion that Asian Americans have overcome all racial obstacles, even surpassing white people in some areas. This is also used to blame other people of color for their struggles, which are actually the result of centuries of systemic oppression. There is also a lot of overlap in the racism these minority groups experience. That same otherization and xenophobia fuels derision toward immigrants. Decades after the last of the WWII internment camps were emptied, thousands of people, even children, are still being caged and abused on American soil without having committed any real crime. Then there is Trump’s Muslim ban, which is reminiscent of the Chinese Exclusion Act. I hope that going forward people of color can continue to see the parallels between our experiences, and use them to strengthen our alliance with each other.

I agree with everyone who said non-Asians should become more familiar with the diverse array of cultures contained within the Asian-American identity. The assumption that we all share the same experiences or that we all look alike is inaccurate and just plain offensive. I can still hear that monotone voice saying “All Orientals look the same” echoing in my ears. Blegh. I also hope that all of those individual Asian identities can be incorporated into the broader American identity. Personally, instead of non-Asians trying to deduce what type of Asian I am, above all I would prefer them to see me as a fellow American. I would rather that others’ understanding of my ethnicity be inconsequential to their overall perception of me, unless it’s somehow relevant to the situation.

My question for the next person is: how do you think we can address the otherization of Asian Americans in communities that have very little exposure to them aside from what they consume from (probably conservative) media?


lurando
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 21

It’s fascinating to see history repeating itself again. Top political officials like DeWitt around World War 2 would be using racial slurs, calling them spies and conspirator with clear evidence disapproving it otherwise. We see the media depicting them in racist caricatures and contributing to the yellow peril, and yet, almost a decade later, the exact same things have exploded again in recent years. However, that is not to say that anti-Asian rhetoric wasn’t present, it was, commonplace ever since the first Chinese stepped on this land to 2021.


One of the most shocking yet makes complete sense, things to see was who different countries and different countries scapegoated. Asians, of course, were the number one scapegoat, but then you see things like Guangzhou evicting all their African immigrants and essentially placing nonsensical blame on them while India and Sri Lanka also pushing blame on their Muslims. These are direct parallels of the Japanese depictions around World War 2 and even the rampant propaganda about the Jews in Nazi Germany. Again, these sentiments are not new, it’s just that in the wake of a pandemic, ugly and irrational feelings erupt, pushing these awful ideas into the front light.


@yvesIKB brings up an interesting point about Americans stereotyping people based on accents. Even though it might be less obvious in the modern age, there are so many different accents on this land, and sure, we make stereotypes depending on what accent you have, it’s never to the mockery we see regarding non-American accents. One of the biggest hypocrisies about the US (aside from the American Dream and democracy ringing hollow especially after this month’s events) is America’s melting pot. A work that really left a big impact on me was “What is an American?” in “Letters from an American Farmer.” What struck me wasn’t the ideals, values, and diversity that the author noticed in this new American identity, it’s the blatant exclusion. The absence of the kidnapped slaves on the harbors and the natives that were massacred, kicked off from their land, and stripped of their culture. There were no Asians in America at the time, but I feel like this work is still telling of how Americans think what an “American identity” is - an identity that comprises entirely of white cultures. Even countries around the world now almost always depict an “American” as a white blue-eyed blonde male.


What most people don’t realize is the vast amount of diversity within the group. Asia range all the way from East Asia to Central Asia, and every single culture alongside this path is vastly different from each other. East Asians are different from South Asians. Central Asians are different from Southeast Asians, etc. Many people misunderstand the same thing about Hispanic and Latinx Americans. Hispanic isn’t just Mexican, it spans continents and races.


However, a very important distinction of Asian Americans is the diversity in generations and immigration. As @BlueWhale24 mentioned, like many Latinx immigrants, Asians have historically immigrated because of their war-torn countries and poverty. However, what starts to differ in the 20th century is the split in immigration. We have those that are still coming because of poverty reasons, but now we also have those that are coming with a college degree and skills that they already have picked up in their original country. What we have to realize is that Asians or children of Asians who came here with a college degree or came here to study abroad have completely different experiences and background than an Asian who came here to escape poverty. First generation have completely different experiences than a person who’s second generation or third or more. Yes, the common experience of discrimination based solely on our skin color unite us all, but the difference in life situations are still vast.


I agree with @Cookie Monster and @cherryblossom that education is key. When we talk about civil rights in the US, if ever, we never mention Vincent Chin. We never mention the massive Asian protests against Japanese internment nor I do we never see the protests, primarily made up of Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino activists, for Vincent Chin. It’s, in some ways, erasure, perpetuating these stereotypes that Asians are weak and have always kept silent. Another thing we should do is support Asians creating art, as Sjöblom wonderfully puts it, “A lot of things that I comment on, which are often seen as quite controversial, people tend to understand it better or show more empathy when they see my drawings.” In the same vein, as @yvesIKB said, we should always support Asians that want to venture into fields like the humanities and politics. The more representation Asians have in these fields, the more people will be reassured that you yourself can venture into it as well.


Anti-Asian attacks and discrimination shouldn’t be a contest. There’s a quote by Haruka Sakaguchi that I was particularly struck by. I’ll leave it here for you to think about: “The protests have brought public attention to the idea that individuality is a luxury afforded to a privileged class, no matter how reckless their behavior or how consequential their actions.”


@wisteria asks “How do you think we can address the otherization of Asian Americans in communities that have very little exposure to them aside from what they consume from (probably conservative) media?“ That’s honestly a really good, and, quite frankly, a really difficult question. The pessimistic side of me tells me that they will never learn because, well, why should they care? Asians are still a minority in this country. Every leader here and every top executive is white male. Why are Asians important? I think the biggest problem is their bubble, most of them are surrounded by similar people with similar mindsets, and, right now, even our supposed “leaders” are spouting the same nonsense about “China viruses” that they themselves believe. Many of these people never grew up or even encountered an Asian in their life. The only possible ideas I have is media representation and school education, but if they’re already watching conservative media then I doubt those kinds of media would show much representation.


My question is: “What kinds of normalization of racist behavior and racist jokes that you witnessed growing up? That everybody tolerated and saw nothing wrong with it?”


Sippycup
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

The History of Asian American Racism and it's Resurrection

The hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans are not a new thing, but has been sadly embedded within American society. And with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, these hate crimes has increased dramatically. According to the Human Rights Watch article, “Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide,” there were more than 1,500 reports of incidents of racism, hate speech, discrimination, and physical attacks against Asian Americans because they were accused of having the COVID-19 virus. In the CBS News article, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action states that there were 2,120 hate crimes since March 19 with 40% of them occurring in California (which is known to have a high Asian population) and it can indirectly prove that in most cases these instances of racism are underreported. And quite frankly, Donald Trump is a big factor to this increase of widespread xenophobia because of his rhetoric. He refers to the virus with many derogatory terms such as the “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and even the “Kung Flu.” By enabling this type of behavior, this discrimination has been normalized in American society and Asian Americans are forced to be the victims, most of the time in silence and in fear of speaking up.

I as an Asian-American have faced this before. In February when coronavirus wasn’t as bad, I had entered the bus with my friend with a mask at the time too and we sat down in the back. As soon as we got comfortable, two older white men immediately left the back and sat in the front. I left the bus that day feeling hurt. I am glad that Sjöblom in the article, “‘I am not a virus.’ How this artist is illustrating coronavirus-fueled racism” depicts both the realities of Asian Americans and what we can do to support them and especially what we can do to educate other non-Asians. The comics range from the micro-aggressions from people to Asian Americans in public places such as the tram to an Asian American applying white makeup. I think these are very powerful statements. In the first, it demonstrates the subtle racism that they face on a day to day basis and proves what the Human Rights Watch article had said, and in the latter it shows how Asian Americans feel the need to somehow conform and fit into this white American society. This is due to the lack of representation of East Asians. And when Asians are represented in Western culture, it is often in a negative manner. In movies especially, the roles of Asians can be seen as insulting with men being emasculated and women being overly sexualized.

Another instance that has happened to me is when I was walking to a CVS, a man yelled at me “Chinese, go home!” despite me not being Chinese. I think that’s another problem America faces. The generalization of all Asian Americans which is caused by stereotypes that all Asians look the same. Yet, this stereotype is conveniently only used for East Asians. South Asians are often left out in this generalization of Asians and their representation in Western culture is little. Despite this, they are also conveniently used to prove the Model Minority Myth. Like @thesnackthatsmilesback said, people look at Asians as law-abiding and successful which somehow insinuates that America’s problem of racism does not exist because of this. I find that South Asians are usually subject to this proving of the Model Minority as they are stereotyped as being extremely successful in the technology business. They are only mentioned in order to disprove discrimination but never included when it comes to the media, film, etc.

We’ve seen the history of xenophobia before. During the Gold Rush where immigrants from China travelled to the US in order to seek better opportunities, or in order words follow the American Dream, they were faced with discrimination and even violence. And even legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 where it prevented an entire group of people from immigrating to the United States on the basis of their ethnicity. In the movie “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” we have also seen the treatment of Japanese Americans. They were seen as enemies and traitors of the nation because of identity and were forced into interment camps for years. I think that this history is overlooked and even forgotten in the American education system. We need to be informed of this history and educate others in order to combat this normalization of Asian American racism. I like how @BlueWhale24 explains it. We should learn more about other Asian cultures in order to fight back against the stereotype that all Asians look the same because the continent of Asia is very diverse, from countries in the Middle East to the countries in the South Pacific Ocean.

To answer @speedyninja’s question, (well maybe not answer but I have a comment on it) I find that the Coronavirus was an interesting case. It definitely made it more acceptable to treat Asians in this degrading manner but at the same time it also brought light to the discrimination that they face. But to actually answer the question, I think they will return to “normal levels” meaning that the racism that they face will then again be hidden.

My question is that with America’s economic tensions with China, do you think the villainization of Asians will continue to persist?

FANBOY
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

Asian-Americans and COVID: Xenophobia and Hate Crimes on the Rise

I’ve never really thought about the way people look and how that factors into their race, but the video we saw in class got me thinking. I look like a member from a race I am not. The video got me think not only about what does it mean to be Asian, but what does it mean to be African, European, Hispanic or Native American? Are those even terms we should use? Are these terms too broad for people to be able to express their individuality? When we take standardized testing there aren’t many options for people to chose from. From what I remember there’s: Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander. According to the video Pacific Islander and Asian are the same thing. How did the government decide to give Pacific Islander their own separate category? Why not decide to give Southeast Asia or the Middle East a category? The video revealed a lot of questions I can’t answer. There’s so much culture that gets blended up into a single word to describe an almost inconceivable amount of diversity.


To address the hate Asian-Americans have been facing during the months of this pandemic is hard for me to do. I knew there was discrimination against them, as there is for all minorities, but I didn’t think it was on this scale to the point where people will assault Asian people and boycott Asian businesses. Of course this history of Asian discrimination isn’t new and I’m not surprised. Of course Asians have been discriminated against, this is America. Everyone single group has been discriminated against, unless you’re a white straight male. I wish I could say I was surprised to hear about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The very first act in United States history that excluded an entire ethic group. But of course this wouldn’t be the last, because Trump’s Muslim Ban copied and pasted and same concept onto Muslims. Trump himself is one of the top reasons we have to write this post today. He repeatedly calls Covid-19 the Kung Flu and refuses to acknowledge the effect that has on Asians and Asian-American citizens. What if Covid-19 came from Norway or Sweden? Places Trump has repeatedly encouraged immigration from. Would he call it the “Nordic Virus” or the “Sweden Flu”? Of course he wouldn’t. Its unbelievable Asians all across this nation have to suffer just because the leader of the Free World refused to call a virus by its proper name.


Xenophobia not just only against Asian people is on the rise but xenophobia is on the rise against most, if not all, minorities in this country. We can apply the same concept what happened on January 6, 2020 to hate crimes. People just don’t up and invade Capitol Hill. It takes a build up of months, of Trump saying the election will be fraudulent/ was fraudulent. Same thing with xenophobia against Asian people. The seed of hatred was already in the ground all it needed was someone to water it and give it life and that’s where Trump fits into the equation. When he says “Chinaaaaaa” in that annoying tone of voice (I know you hear it in your head right now) he is belittling an entire population of people in America. The way I see it, all this can be relayed back to the president of the United States of America. And its not just America, according to the Human Rights Watch, this anti-Asian rhetoric is happening in “ United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and Germany”. Its astounding.


What can we do about this ignorance. I don’t know. Ever since sixie year I’ve watched the world go down this path of blindingly following the leader. Freedom of thought is disappearing. Well how do we get this freedom back? Who took it? Where did they take it? Why did they take it? Education is the only way to get freedom of thought back. It seems like every LearnToQuestion post I write, the answer always comes back to education, education, education. That’s all the world needs to be more accepting. It will take a long time, longer than my lifetime, but its possible. To answer the question Sippycup left for the next poster, I think the villainization of Asians will continue to persist as long as they are a bigger economic power than us. People don’t like what they don’t understand we saw it at the capital on January 6th. People would rather fight than learn so as long as blind human nature persist rational human thought the worst is yet to come when it comes to xenophobia against Asians in this country and most likely around the world.


My question to the class is: Are worlds like Asian, African, and European too broad or should we try to narrow it down?

dxaoko
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 19

Acknowledging Anti-Asian Sentiment - Past and Present

First off I’d like to address @Iurando’s question: “What kinds of normalization of racist behavior and racist jokes that you witnessed growing up? That everybody tolerated and saw nothing wrong with it?” Initially, I thought that my elementary school and middle school years were relatively normal but I do recall a few events that have caused me to reconsider my experiences. As I was one of the only Asian-American students in my class, I was seen as “inherently smarter” as per the model minority myth, and because I had grown increasingly aware of how “____” was taking advanced math, and “____” was doing several extracurricular activities, I started to question if I was doing enough. As someone who was seen as “inherently smart” in my class, I decided to fit this notion in my third year of elementary school and acted the way I was seen externally: submissive, smart, and quiet. Fortunately, I quickly learned to be more comfortable during the next couple of years but I continued to experience other events. As a Filipino-American, people often thought I was racially ambiguous: “You’re Filipino? Why is your last name Spanish? You’re not Asian.” “You’re so American. Are you really an Asian?” Of course, they didn’t know that because the Philippines was colonized twice by Spain and the United States, my culture would reflect that. However, I felt invalidated and excluded from the Asian-American community - that I did not fit their perception of an "East-Asian appearance" and the ignorance of interethnic differences frustrated me- I felt as if I was having an identity crisis. My most recent experience was during a visit to a health care center in which a white, middle-aged man spat on the floor and muttered “stupid Asian *****” as he looked in my direction. I didn’t know how to respond so I chose to ignore him but I continued to hear his utterances of racial slurs. Never having faced outright racism directed towards me before, I was left with a feeling of fear that followed me home and left me with confused thoughts about what had just occurred hours prior. Of course, ignoring the ordeal was an option but this moment was what made me realize the importance of my experiences with racial microaggressions and my outlook on racism in the Asian-American community as a whole.


My experiences, along with the experiences of my family, and the information I’ve learned from media sources, the idea of Othering in the Asian American community is slowly gaining traction but is still far from change. We’ve seen governments throughout the world who have shown acknowledgment of these hate crimes towards Asians but have not taken extensive action, and the racist rhetoric of leaders such as the Brazilian prime minister, the governor of Veneto, and of course, our soon-to-be-impeached president, have shown to be fueling hate speech. From the COVID-19 pandemic being referred to as the “China Virus” or “Kung Flu”, Asian-American communities are facing the repercussions of these derogatory terms and harassment, both verbal and physical, and they have been extremely prevalent as of now. Smaller Asian communities, which have already suffered from socioeconomic disadvantages, are facing even more xenophobia and are at risk of losing their businesses, not only because of lack of customers, but extreme vandalization caused by racially-charged individuals and groups.


However, despite all of this hate, Asian-Americans have a long history of being alienated and considered foreigners by others. We’ve seen in history that catastrophic events such as the COVID-19 pandemic lead to extreme xenophobia - again the idea of Othering is fueled when there’s a need to blame a group for problems beyond their control. Alienation in terms of federal laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 which prohibited any further Chinese immigration, set into stone the racism and alienation towards Asian-Americans as they were seen as “demons”, the “Yellow Peril”, that came to dominate American businesses. This mass hysteria was present in the events of Angel Island during the 1930s, in which the limited immigration in America caused thousands of Chinese and Japanese immigrants to be quarantined, medically examined, and interrogated within the facilities with the perception that they held disease. There was no proper, actual evidence--just actions based on political agenda and speculation, although ultimately detaining some immigrants for over twenty years.


We can see the same xenophobic sentiment with Executive Order 9066, in which the government responded to the aggression of Japanese imperialism and the attack on Pearl Harbor by fueling anti-Japanese sentiment. Now that the citizens’ attention was on a specific group, it was easy for them to direct the culminations of their fear and anger towards the Japanese. Hate towards Japanese immigrants was already growing as they were seen as competition for gold mines in California, as well as their success in fertilizing the lands in Central Valley, but as soon as the bombings occurred, they finally were able to justify their hate. The act of neighbors turning in accounts of neighbors communicating overseas with the Japanese military and gossip of possible Japanese spies within the vicinity soon became widespread. Again, the government took advantage of the already growing hate towards Japanese-Americans, especially with the influence of John Dewitt, and his inciting panic by declaring false news of bombers over San Francisco. Once news emerged that Japanese-Americans were to be allocated into internment camps, huge unrest occurred within their communities, In the book I’ve read over the summer, “Looking Like the Enemy” by Mary Matsuda, she recalls her family rushing to burn all their belongings that seemed to align with nationalist Japanese sentiment before military personnel came but despite all they’ve done to erase any evidence of their culture and identity, they were still forced to go into internment camps. Matsuda recalls the major divisions within Japanese people during the internment camps, especially after being faced with the loyalty questionnaire. Even after internment camps were repealed, Japanese-Americans still faced significant hostility and difficulty in finding employment. Executive Order 9066 shows the extent to which Asian-Americans were always tied to being “foreigners” and never Americans. Vincent Chin’s murder during the 1980s just show how the same hate still exists in America against Asian-Americans-- they’re still seen as “job-stealing, disease-ridden savages”.


The video we were shown in class--“All Orientals Look the Same”-- addresses the first issue that is extremely common: putting every Asian individual, regardless of ethnicity, into the same bubble, which ultimately leads to their generalization. The intersection between this act of generalizing and the model minority myth is significant; by only focusing on the idea that all Asian-Americans are extremely successful, you ignore those who do not actually have the resources nor the opportunities to reach that same level of success as other underrepresented Asian-Americans. The model minority myth not only contributes to the stereotypes of Asians being “inherently smart” and quiet, but it only encourages lack of communication and intergenerational conflict within Asian-American households. The concept of shame runs throughout Asian culture-- anything topic of great emotional import is taboo and instead, the “American Dream” has led several Asian immigrants to entertain the belief that it is possible to build a successful livelihood just by working hard enough--above and beyond. However, aspiring to be white-adjacent only to be exploited by white people shouldn’t be the mantra to go about. In the article, “I Will Not Stand Silent”, Haruka Sakaguchi makes an important point about the “bad apple” narrative; in order to avoid being shamed by other Asian-Americans, one gives the benefit of the doubt to the aggressor, considering a racist experience to be an isolated incident, and thus the individual supports a cycle of marginalization. In the article, “Anti-Asian Hate Has Surged During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Reports Find” by Anna Purna Kambhampaty, the Stop AAPI Hate team remarks that “[T]his narrative was intended to pit minorities against each other and allows a segment of the country to avoid any responsibility for addressing racism or the damage it continues to inflict”, which I think is significant to understand as Asian-Americans are experiencing racism in real time as any other minority group. In addition to this, Asian-Americans are not guaranteed success even after putting their hard work and efforts to become like their white counterparts and this bootstrap mentality only enables them to be exploited while living in ignorance that the system they live in is racist. To better characterize this system, Sakaguchi sums it up: Individuality is a luxury afforded to a privileged class, no matter how reckless their behavior or how consequential their actions.


Ultimately, what can non-Asians do as allies? I would say first and foremost, we must validate the experiences of Asian-Americans who open up with their stories as they are breaking out of the concept of shame that they have been raised with. Every experience matters and we could argue about the “what-ifs” and be thankful that so-and-so didn’t happen but it still happened - we must acknowledge that and recognize that we have a role of acting out against the systemic racism we face. We should also encourage supporting small Asian businesses and restaurants at this time as some families rely on it as their only source of income and it makes a huge difference in bridging the gaps from all the xenophobic attacks we’ve witnessed in the past year. Getting rid of the stereotypes and putting more focus on educating people on how to respect interethnic differences, being more aware of the media we consume, as well as supporting the outcry for public officials to take accountability for their incitement of racial microaggressions are also significant to note. Lastly, I want to end with something that I believe is important from the article, “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies”: There is no “them”, there is only “us’ and we have to figure out how everyone can belong with nobody completely dominating.


In America, we’ve seen that aggressors towards Asian-Americans consider them to be “easy targets” because they’re “submissive”, thus acute forms of racism are usually directed towards immigrant elders. My question for the next person is this: Why do you think that first-generation immigrants, mostly non-English speaking elders, are considered more racist than their “Americanized” children, who are more susceptible to internalizing systemic racism in America?

boricua1234
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 16

xenophobia and hate crimes

Reading through the articles and watching videos of Asian American accounts of racism was intense to say the least. It is scary to hear accounts of racist encounters especially because most were completely unprovoked and lead to white violence against Asian Americans. These hate crimes stem a lot from ignorance because as one of the stories says, during an attack on an Asian American they were called Chinese which they aren't. This is commmon, the wrongful assumption of ones background, and needs to be stopped because it strips away part of the identity of Asian Americans because there are many asian countries that they can be from and it is ignorant to ignore the rich cultural diversity of Asia.

To answer a question posed by noodle about whether or not xenophobia is being overshadowed by the current BLM protests, I think yes. During the pandemic asian people have faced a lot of descrimination because the virus which originated in China was used as a tool to fuel even more hate and xenophobia. In addition with protests that are centered around BLM asian americans are sort of left out. Because of the model minority myth there is almost a division between asian americans and other minorities. Although they are all minorities there is at times a lot of racial tensions. But now because BLM is heavely in the spotlight xenophobia against asian americans is being put on the back burner. Both are very important issues and in the near future I hope there can be an action of some sort that combines the two, or celebrates all misrepresented groups in order to show the world that not all of us will allow this racism and xeophobia to continue.

Back to the model minority myth, reading accounts, it has been hard or asian americans to deal with this. At this point it is very internalized and leads people to go through an identity crisis of sorts. When the world tells you something, in this case that asian people are the model minority, it is hard not to listen. Wherever you turn this myth is sort of shoved down your throat, which then puts an enormous amount of pressure on someone. This pressure can lead to either accepting the myth or forging your own path, the latter usually being more difficult but most definetly worth it because you will not longer be conforming to this myth that discredits other minorities and takes away the individuality of asian americans. As an ally to help stop the racism and xenophobia it is necessary to take action, to stop people when they make seemingly harmless jokes about asian americans, because racism is not funny no matter how it is disguised. Also to suppot our asian friends and checking in on them to make sure they are ok because it is difficult seeing people who look like you go through horrible things just because they happen to look a certain way. Lastly we can help by continuing to do research and learning/ reading about accounts of xenophobia and racism, because although they can be hard to read, and at times triggering it is necessary to educate ourselves on the experiences of others so that hopefully we can improve the lives of all people.

BLStudent
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

anti-asian discrimination

Discrimination against Asian communities is nothing new but president Trump along with others sparked a new wave of anti-Asian xenophobia with his response to the Coronavirus outbreak. These articles and videos not only demonstrate that this discrimination exists but show the shocking extent of how common and often how severe these instances are. There are many negative stereotypes surrounding Asian people in this country and even some positive stereotypes which can end up proving just as harmful by holding people to unfair expectations and creating the model minority myth.

The articles support the ideas that anti-Asian sentiment has been around for a long time and the coronavirus and the fear it brought caused it to reach a bursting point with Asian people being attacked randomly in the street. Trump and Mike Pompeos use of "Chinese virus" and "wuhan virus" has had a direct impact of causing violence against innocent people based purely on their race. This isn't just exclusive to America either leadership around the world has said horrible things about asian people and especially Chinese people, a governor of Italy said Chinese people eat mice and implied they weren't clean and Brazils education minister said that Chinese people wanted "world domination". Even in other Asian countries including South Korea and Japan theres been anti-Chinese sentiment.

Many would argue that while these comments by world leaders are horribly offensive they dont actually do much harm other than hurting peoples feelings but in reality these words have a devastating impact. People listen to these leaders and the dehumanizing things their saying and it creates an environment of fear of and hatred for Asian people. Theres is countless examples of this fear and hatred leading to senseless and meaningless violence for the sake of violence against the Asian community. According to TeenVogue and Stop APPI Hate there have been a recorded 2,583 incidents of discrimination from just March to August 2020 alone, and theres likely more that weren't reported or recorded. As the article points out each week after trump coined the term "Chinese virus" the amount of incidents of discrimination against asian Americans escalated dramatically. The dehumanization of Asian people especially by powerful people, in turn normalized mistreatment and violence against them.

It got so bad that one artist, Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, created a piece called I Am Not A Virus to show off anti-Asian discrimination. Even the name of this piece is incredibly telling. The fact that it needs to be said out loud that Asian people are not a virus is pretty shocking. The dehumanization of Asian people has gotten so intense so fast that many people are genuinely afraid of eating Asian food for fear that they may get sick. This seems to be exactly what Lisa is trying to combat in her piece by reminding everyone that they are human beings and not just a virus which most Asian people dont even have any sort of connection to.

I found it especially interesting that even in prison anti-Asian sentiment had a surprising spike. Prisons are isolated with little to no contact with the outside world so fear of catching the corona from another prisoner simply because of their race is even more ridiculous than it was in everyday life.

to answer @squirrelluver123 question, I think that while anti-Asian racism and descrimination definitely existed before Trump and will continue to exist after him he definitely encouraged it and fueled the flames by using harmful and xenophobic language in a time when a lot of people feel uncertain and afraid because of the pandemic. In alot of ways its similar to the capital attack where he didnt directly say to do it but his supporters understood that the implied meaning of both was to act out in violence and he didnt do anything to prevent this by walking back his previous statements, so he definitely has a certain degree of responsibility.

My question is what can be done moving forwards to counteract the stereotyping of Asian people and the subsequent dehumanization and then discrimination that follows?

ithinkitscauseofme
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 19

I think one of the most important aspects to study while looking at discrimination against people of Asian descent is that Asian Americans are the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States,” as noted in the prompt for this post. Knowing America the way I do, I know that this has made other Americans look for every possible reason to cut these people down. I think that is a strong reason for much of the recent (not just during covid, but in the last twenty-or-so years) anti-Asian discrimination. Other Americans see themselves making less and being less successful think to themselves “there is no way that there are people who are simply smarter than me, it must be that they are worse than me in other ways” completely disregarding the possibility of hard work, as well as the fact that this idea is not always true of Asian people.

I think that the root of the hate comes from that “othering” that we have talked about as a class countless times, and from a lack of education. Reading the article from “Berkeley News,” I was struck by their mention of Angel Island, where 225,000 Asian Immigrants were detained. This brought me back to my fourth-grade history class, where we read a book concerning the immigration process on Ellis Island. Why did we never read anything similar about Angel Island? As an avid lover of historical fiction, I read every book my elementary school had to offer on people (particularly people my age) immigrating to the US. Why did I read so many books about Irish and French and Swedish children and so few about Chinese and Japanese children? Somewhere along the line, these stories were suppressed. I do not know if my librarian chose to exclude these stories, if they are not published as often, or if there was some other reason that I lacked access to them, but I do know that somewhere, someone made it hard for Americans to learn about the Asia/Asian American experience from in-depth, empathic stories.

The prompt asks how Asians have confronted this othering, and as someone who is not Asian, all I can say is that it appears they are primarily confronting this othering as best they can. While for some people this may be by spreading correct information on the falsehood of racist stereotypes or attending a march (as seen in the video from CBS news), it seems that some people feel powerless. Teen Vogue quotes a 13-year-old as being scared to let their grandparents go out in public, for fear they might be attacked. While it makes sense that this 13-year-old and their (presumably) elderly grandparents cannot do very much to combat this racism (especially while we are all stuck in our homes), it does not make sense that in only 10% of cases of harassment did bystanders intervene, including when there were adults present (statistic from Teen Vogue).

To me, the recent rise in anti-Asian sentiment is related to Executive order 9066 in that they both stem from the belief that, if a person is from a country that currently has a bad reputation, then they too must be bad. One of the things most striking to me about both cases is that it does not matter how long the Asian person has been out of Asia, they are still seen as carrying the intangible threat with them. I assume that some of this comes from the fact that many Asian cultures are so different from American culture that non-Asian Americans assume that it is impossible for Asian people to assimilate, and instead rather live as a failed transplant in their new country.

To respond to both @BLStudent and the original prompt: I believe that as non-Asians, to be allies we must first and foremost listen to Asian people about their experiences. If they say something is racist, even if it does not appear that way to us, we must believe them. We must also be willing to educate ourselves on the truths of Asian cultures, and respect them. This is especially important so that when falsehoods are spread, such as the Italian Governor’s implication that Chinese people lack proper hygiene (as seen in the Human Rights Watch Article), we are able to combat them with the truth and use our amplified voices as non-Asians to call out those who spread such falsehoods.

Lastly my question is this: How do we bring racism against Asian people to the broader public eye?


Fruit Snacks
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 20

Asians and COVID: Xenophobia and Hate Crimes on the Rise

There is no reason why Asians should be getting harassed in their everyday lives. Now they can’t even go on a train or get some snacks at Rite Aid without receiving hate. In the video “An Epidemic of Hate”, we are explained how this virus has enhanced the culture war in the whole world. Our Asian community should not be referred to as they or them because we’re all the same. One of the ways Asians are coping with this discrimination is by standing up on Twitter and saying things like “washing away the hate”, while washing their hands. Another way is through artistic expression. Sjöblom is a Korean- Swedish artist who is addressing the hostility Asians are facing in a series of comics. Her first comic is of an Asian woman wearing a mask with the words “I am not a virus” over her head. The second one is of an Asian woman on a train getting told by a white woman that she should get off the tram. The third one is another Asian woman with a frustrated face being surrounded by “yellow peril Kung flu the Chinese virus pandemonium” because her community is constantly scapegoating her for a disease she clearly didn’t create. Another one is a mom sitting on the couch with her kids telling them that “because of this virus, there’s a chance that people may say or do mean things to us”. That’s so sad because we should be able to live in a world where we don’t have to explain xenophobia to our kids because it doesn’t exist. The last comic is an Asian man painting his face white because he wants to blend in so he isn’t called out for simply being. In another article we learn that Haruka Sakaguchi started a photo project with other peers because one day she was in line at a grocery store and a white man was standing extremely close to her. She asked him nicely if she could have her space and he called her a “chink”. She thought she had just come across the wrong person at the wrong time only to realize upon some reflection that she had internalized discrimination out of custom. The fact that she internalized it like many others goes to show how often she is marginalized. Her brain is just trying to make the belittlement and oppression hurt a little less. Furthermore CBS News highlights that this discrimination isn’t just teasing but is affect the livelihoods of our Asian community. If a famous Asian restaurant can lose business because of such ignorance then there’s a really big problem. Asians are also getting refused a stay at hotels. However these xenophobic acts are happening world wide. All this ties back to the Executive Order 9065 because the federal government is participating in the marginalization of Asians. Non- Asians need to stop being imbeciles and educate themselves. Just because a virus originated in a specific country doesn’t mean a whole race carries the virus among their DNA. We are all in just as much risk as the next for catching the virus. Also the same people being discriminatory to Asians are the same people refusing to wear a mask and do their part in society. At least our Asian community isn’t selfish and had enough compassion to help keep the rest of their community safe by continuing to maintain good hygiene even though they could revolt for being attacked and actually give the world a reason to be mad. To all my Asian peers I’m sorry that all this is happening, it’s not anyone’s fault but it has spiraled because of the world's superiority complex.


My question is why have people continually seen ok to single out races since the beginning of time? Why is scapegoating such a big part in our world when it can be ended so easily?

Fruit Snacks
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 20

Public Eye?

Originally posted by ithinkitscauseofme on January 14, 2021 14:13

I think one of the most important aspects to study while looking at discrimination against people of Asian descent is that Asian Americans are the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States,” as noted in the prompt for this post. Knowing America the way I do, I know that this has made other Americans look for every possible reason to cut these people down. I think that is a strong reason for much of the recent (not just during covid, but in the last twenty-or-so years) anti-Asian discrimination. Other Americans see themselves making less and being less successful think to themselves “there is no way that there are people who are simply smarter than me, it must be that they are worse than me in other ways” completely disregarding the possibility of hard work, as well as the fact that this idea is not always true of Asian people.

I think that the root of the hate comes from that “othering” that we have talked about as a class countless times, and from a lack of education. Reading the article from “Berkeley News,” I was struck by their mention of Angel Island, where 225,000 Asian Immigrants were detained. This brought me back to my fourth-grade history class, where we read a book concerning the immigration process on Ellis Island. Why did we never read anything similar about Angel Island? As an avid lover of historical fiction, I read every book my elementary school had to offer on people (particularly people my age) immigrating to the US. Why did I read so many books about Irish and French and Swedish children and so few about Chinese and Japanese children? Somewhere along the line, these stories were suppressed. I do not know if my librarian chose to exclude these stories, if they are not published as often, or if there was some other reason that I lacked access to them, but I do know that somewhere, someone made it hard for Americans to learn about the Asia/Asian American experience from in-depth, empathic stories.

The prompt asks how Asians have confronted this othering, and as someone who is not Asian, all I can say is that it appears they are primarily confronting this othering as best they can. While for some people this may be by spreading correct information on the falsehood of racist stereotypes or attending a march (as seen in the video from CBS news), it seems that some people feel powerless. Teen Vogue quotes a 13-year-old as being scared to let their grandparents go out in public, for fear they might be attacked. While it makes sense that this 13-year-old and their (presumably) elderly grandparents cannot do very much to combat this racism (especially while we are all stuck in our homes), it does not make sense that in only 10% of cases of harassment did bystanders intervene, including when there were adults present (statistic from Teen Vogue).

To me, the recent rise in anti-Asian sentiment is related to Executive order 9066 in that they both stem from the belief that, if a person is from a country that currently has a bad reputation, then they too must be bad. One of the things most striking to me about both cases is that it does not matter how long the Asian person has been out of Asia, they are still seen as carrying the intangible threat with them. I assume that some of this comes from the fact that many Asian cultures are so different from American culture that non-Asian Americans assume that it is impossible for Asian people to assimilate, and instead rather live as a failed transplant in their new country.

To respond to both @BLStudent and the original prompt: I believe that as non-Asians, to be allies we must first and foremost listen to Asian people about their experiences. If they say something is racist, even if it does not appear that way to us, we must believe them. We must also be willing to educate ourselves on the truths of Asian cultures, and respect them. This is especially important so that when falsehoods are spread, such as the Italian Governor’s implication that Chinese people lack proper hygiene (as seen in the Human Rights Watch Article), we are able to combat them with the truth and use our amplified voices as non-Asians to call out those who spread such falsehoods.

Lastly my question is this: How do we bring racism against Asian people to the broader public eye?


We bring racism against Asian people to the broader eye by not remaining silence. We must educate all the people in our live, make posts on social media, and make sure we aren't participating in the belittlement. If petitions must be written than we must write them. If protest must be marched than we must march them. And if an Asian peer in our community needs a hug and reassurance we must do that and not look the other way.

posts 16 - 28 of 28