posts 1 - 15 of 31
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

__________________________________________________________________________

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!).


20469154661
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

History Repeating Itself: Anti-Asian Discrimination

Most non-Asians—and some Asians—are minimally aware of the long history of anti-Asian discrimination because there is not a major focus on it in the school curriculum. I also think that many people are minimally aware because Asian Americans are still extremely successful despite all of the discrimination. According to the Pew Research Center, Asian-Americans make up the “highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.”


This anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia is not a newly occurring event. The United States has a long history of anti-Asian discrimination. One of the most notable acts was the implementation of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. This prevented Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States. In “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies,” Ivan Natividad writes that “Public health authorities...misrepresented Asians as diseased carriers of incurable afflictions...as a means to justify anti-immigration policy and to drum up hysteria against Asian immigrants, who were perceived as a threat to white Americans for jobs.” This is extremely similar to Americans currently “drumming up hysteria” that singles out Asians and misrepresents them as carriers of COVID. It is also related to the murder of Vincent Chin. The altercation was started when a man said that people like Vincent were stealing jobs. He was referencing Japanese companies producing more efficient and desirable cars, which caused car production in the United States to decrease. This in turn led to the loss of jobs for many Americans working for car manufacturers. It seems that Asian-Americans are being used as scape-goats and are often looked at as a threat.


This relates to Executive Order 9066, which authorized the relocation of all persons deemed a “threat to national security” from the West Coast to centers further inland, because in both cases, Asians are grouped together and thought of as an enemy. This happened during World War II, around a year after the bombing of Pearl harbor by the Japanese. There was long-standing racism on the West Coast against Japanese Americans, partly motivated by jealousy over their commercial success. While the reason given for the evacuation and relocation of Japanese Americans was that they could possibly be a safety threat, it is likely that it was because of jealousy and racism. If the sole reason for the relocation was security, wouldn’t German-Americans and Italian-Americans be relocated too?


Non-Asians should stand up for and support Asians to be allies in response to xenophobia and discrimination partly fueld by COVID. Individuals and organizations need to pressure the government to “prevent racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination linked to the Covid-19 pandemic while prosecuting racial attacks against Asians and people of Asian descent”. According to the Human Rights Watch, “On May 8, 2020, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that ‘the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering’ and urged governments to ‘act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate.”’


Relying on the government should not be the solution, especially considering that some government officials and political parties have advanced “anti-immigrant, white supremacist, ultra-nationalist, anti-semitic, and xenophobic conspiracy theories that demonize refugees, foreigners, prominent individuals, and political leaders.” They even encouraged “hate crimes, racism, or xenophobia by using anti-Chinese rhetoric."


There needs to be consequences for the racist and xenophobic discrimination. In addition, scare-mongering is a major issue right now that needs to stop. People are angry and scared, making people look for someone to blame. Many people are uneducated and know a minimal amount of facts, such as the fact that Chinese officials identified the first case. For many, this one fact is reason enough to believe that the virus is directly linked to all Asians.


Asians—who are classified as “white” when it’s convenient and are also classified as “other” or “POC”—confront “othering” by changing parts of their identity in some cases to try to lessen the likelihood of being singled out or discriminated against. For example, some Asian-Americans have a name that is more common in American culture that they go by.


COVID is giving individuals, governments, and other organizations the idea that it is acceptable to discriminate and promote “othering”. In the Los Angeles Times article written by Suhuana Hassan, “Fear of coronavirus fuels racist sentiment targeting Asians”, she writes about Aida Zhu. Aida was about to board a flight when a TSA agent said “I hope you’re not ill”. She thinks that racism has always been present, but “The coronavirus is bringing it to the surface.” She also thinks that “The coronavirus is an opportunity for them to safely express their racist thoughts in a way that can be excused.” While this should not be the case, it does seem like openly racist comments and actions have been allowed and excused with no repercussions. For example, “UC Berkeley’s health services center listed xenophobia toward Asian people as a “normal reaction” in an informational post on Instagram focused on “managing fears and anxiety” about the pneumonia-like sickness.” This statement in a way normalizes xenophobia and racism as a reaction to COVID.


My question for the next person is:

What is the most effective way to combat anti-Asian discrimination?


yelloworchids
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Racism Is A Virus

The rise of the COVID-19 pandemic was an outbreak that was accompanied by xenophobia and ignorance. Originating from Wuhan, China, the virus has been the motive behind hate crimes against Asians both within and outside the U.S. There have been several cases of verbal and physical harassment, workplace discrimination, and racist vandalism. This seemingly normalized racism towards Asian Americans is not something specific to this decade. Stereotypes and microaggressions are embedded within the U.S. in regards to treatment of minority groups. Anti-Asian agenda goes as far back as the 1800’s with the arrival of East Asian immigrants and the enactment of The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. In the film, Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066, it was made apparent that there were also efforts to conceal the existence of Japanese internment camps. There were hidden records that exposed the published lies responsible for the incarceration of an entire racial minority. This, in addition to anti-immigration policies in the past, were used to “drum up hysteria against Asian immigrants, who were perceived as a threat to white Americans for jobs”, as stated in the Berkeley News article.


The U.S.’ involvement with anti-Asian bias in the past have only become heightened with the pandemic and the subtle encouragement from Government officials to partake in racist ideals with their anti-Chinese rhetoric. As mentioned in the HRW article, politicians’ approach to addressing COVID-19 coincided with the increase in racist incidents. Terms used by Trump like “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu” only intensified the stereotyping and harassment towards the Asian American community. By establishing a particular group of people as an enemy, the individuals within said group—innocent or not—will fall victim to the claims, as seen in the case of Japanese Americans and the events that ensued post the bombing of Pearl harbor. Several political parties often use this tactic to instill fear within people via the demonization of foreigners and immigrants to push their anti-immigration agendas.


Despite this long history of anti-Asian discrimination, there are a handful of people who are still unaware of its existence and importance. Perhaps due to the fact that Asian American studies is often offered as an optional side course rather than a mandatory class. The American education system still has a long way to go in terms of implementing the histories of America’s oppressed minorities effectively into the curriculum.


Asians that are classified as “white” when convenient, but also “other” or “POC”, confront “othering” by conforming to Western standards. Things like changing their traditional names to pander to a Western environment. For convenience sake, many may also feel as if having an English name would allow for them to evade discrimination and ridicule. In other situations, some may perceive this classification of “white” as dismissive of the struggles they faced on account of their race.


In a PBS news article, Sjöblom, a Korean-Swedish cartoonist and graphic designer, states,“The Asian community went “from being invisible” to being “hyper-visible, but as a virus or as a carrier of a virus...”. Further highlighting the normalization of racism against Asians with the limited media coverage on Asian American issues. Asian Americans are seen as Americans until something unfavorable happens in Asia, then they’re seen as foreigners. Decades after the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, people are still spitting racist rhetoric and grouping multiple ethnicities into one category. We will never truly progress as a country unless people are willing to educate themselves and others on the history of Asian Americans. Non-Asians today can show their allyship by pressuring government officials into implementing a system for effectively prosecuting hate crimes, while promoting tolerance and uplifting Asian voices. According to the CBS NEWS article, there have already been efforts from advocacy groups to appeal to governors to launch a racial bias task force that combats racism.


In order to properly enact change, we need to start within our own communities. I believe BLS was hosting Chinese exchange students in early February when news of the COVID-19 outbreak reached headlines. I remember going to school and hearing ignorant comments from BLS students: “The Chinese students better not cough on me…”, and even racist jokes targeted towards Asian BLS students and teachers. What seemed like a joke then, contributed to a bigger issue of anti-Asian sentiments. At this time, there was a rise in racially-motivated attacks and most of the Asian American community was in distress, yet it was not once addressed by BLS faculty. I felt as if teachers were ignoring the issue or brushing it off as non-important. As an Asian American I started taking precautions. When I had a cold I would suppress my coughs in public to avoid staring, my friends and I would scheme ways in which we would respond to racism if we, or our non-English-speaking parents, were to encounter racists in public. I also discouraged my parents from wearing masks (in February before it was mandatory) in fear that they’d get harassed or targeted. Only two of my teachers (one of whom is Asian) had actually acknowledged this as a prevalent issue.


My question is: If COVID-19 had originated in the U.S. or a European country, do you think the response (in terms of harassment and racism) would’ve been the same?

yelloworchids
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

@20469154661

Originally posted by 20469154661 on January 13, 2021 13:42

What is the most effective way to combat anti-Asian discrimination?

I believe the most effective way to combat anti-Asian discrimination would be to implement Asian American history into our curriculum (in addition to the histories of other minority groups). Racism stems from ignorance, and ignorance can be avoided if the proper resources are offered to people who may be unaware of these issues. Moreover, taking responsibility to educate yourself and others around you will also be very effective in combatting discrimination against Asians.

purplenailpolish00
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

History is written by the winners. White people never want to address the problems in their own mindsets, and I’m saying this as a white person. It’s hard enough to get people to admit to an unpleasant truth when it’s obvious, like slavery and it’s reprecussions, and it’s even harder when it isn’t obvious, like microaggressions. As Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom said, “activists are trying to make people aware that it always starts here with jokes and starts with harmful language.” I’ve seen people “joke” about Asian people my entire life, and as a white person, I’ve (obviously) never experienced any sort of Anti-Asian prejudice. We’re socialized from a very young age to pick up on things like tone of voice and words used, so even if you aren’t exposed to someone being openly racist, being around people who hold judgements quietly still influences you a lot. There’s also the issue of things not being seen as a problem unless it’s physically harming someone-- again, it’s easier to pretend that you’re joking instead of really changing your mindset. For example, when Abraham Choi was spat on, he “was told that spitting wasn’t a crime, and that it wouldn’t be worth the paperwork I would have to go through to take any sort of action,” by a police officer.

I feel like a broken record because I’m always talking about how American history needs to be taught, but I never learned about Executive Order 9066 until I got to BLS, despite covering things like the revolutionary war over and over every year. I just recently learned about Angel Island and how “Public health authorities, in turn, misrepresented Asians as diseased carriers of incurable afflictions, like smallpox and bubonic plague, as a means to justify anti-immigration policy and to drum up hysteria,” which is a statement that rings loudly today.

I think it’s really important to call out any racism you see. It’s always going to be uncomfortable to do so, and could get you on some people’s bad side, but it’s better than being a bystander. When I see microaggressions, like “jokes,” often made by a painfully unfunny white dude trying to shift the attention back to himself, I make them explain why it’s funny. I know that as a white teenage girl, they often already think I’m dumb or naieve, and I try to use that to my advantage.

To answer the question above (If COVID-19 had originated in the U.S. or a European country, do you think the response (in terms of harassment and racism) would’ve been the same?) Definitely not, partly because white people are the majority in the USA and much of EUrope, and because it’s easier for people to blame it on Eastern civilizations who we’ve been socialized to see as underdeveloped, despite the fact that the opposite is true.


madagascar
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 15

It All Comes Down To White Supremacy

I find that many people conveniently forget that Asian people are included in BIPOC. Due to the model minority aspect of being an Asian American, racism and bias against Asian people is usually overlooked. COVID19 certainly has not helped with this racism and stereotypes either. It’s so extremely upsetting and disgusting to see all of the abuse and remarks about the “chinese virus”, and reading these articles was certainly heavy.


As a non Asian American I wouldn’t know from personal experience how the othering feels or how people confront this othering, however there has been a lot of pushback and attempts to educate others about the Asian community, etc. For example, the #IAmNotAVirus, which has been an effort to spread awareness about the blaming of Chinese, and other Asians, for the CoronaVirus.


All of these recent events and racism isn’t new or out of nowhere. Felix Sitthivong, an Asian American inmate, spoke about how racist comments “took me back to being a kid with classmates who made fun of me…” For having a different culture. So many young children of color, specifically in this context, Asian children have to deal with casual “teasing” and racism from other young children. It’s horrifying to think that at age 5 there are kids who already have biases and prejudices against each other. The Coronavirus has certainly increased hate, with “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.” According to the CBS article. Unsurprisingly, many of these ideas and accusations against Chinese and other Asians come from the “highest office in the land” (CBS article), aka Donald Trump.


Just like in the film about the Executive Order, a lot of hatred comes from a place of fear. Back in WWII, Japan was seen as a “threat to U.S. dominance” (Berkeley News). Due to this competition and strength that other countries hold, the people of inferior countries feel threatened and feel the need to spread lies and racist rhetorics. People are also just looking for anyone to blame, “scapegoating and scare-mongering” (HRW). There always has to be somebody to blame and it usually falls on minority groups.


Additionally, behind all of the trading and production competition, there is the aspect of “preserving white American dominance” (Berkeley News) I truly believe that is what racism against almost any group is really about, the fact that white americans think they are the elite group of people, and will not allow anyone to beat that.


I think that just like with every ally, the best thing they can do is educate themselves. Being educated is the strongest weapon against racism and bias. If we learn the real truth behind stereotypes, and the real facts about Asians, especially making sure not to group them into one person, it can help with the ignorance and racism.


My response to Yellow Orchids’ question is that I think the response would be bad, however not this severe. Europe does have their own issues with racism and prejudice, however I think that the United States wins the prize for the most racist of all (yay us! Number 1!). I do think there still would be attacks and harassment, because there actually has been in many European countries.


My question for the next person is: How does Trump’s response and language towards COVID 19 and China affect the response of other in the United States?

goob
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

"Go Back Home"

Reading the personal stories from class and watching the film, Executive Order 9066, was disappointing to see but not exactly unexpected. Unfortunately, discrimination and racism towards Asians has been a prevalent topic ever since our arrival to the United States. Being told to “go back home” and “you don’t belong here” is a phrase many Asians are used to hearing. Not only has it been extremely normalized, anti-Asian discrimination fails to be taken seriously and has been neglected for far too long.


This mistreatment and anti-Asian behavior within our country is not new, stemming from various historical and health policies. In an article by the Berkeley News, experts go further in depth about the anti-Asian xenophobia in the U.S. and its roots in American and public health and immigration policies. For instance, many of the immigrants at Angel Island “were quarantined and given invasive medical examinations and interrogations at the facility without their consent or actual evidence of disease”. There was a false association between these Asian immigrants and diseases, like smallpox or the bubonic plague, which was used as justification for the anti-immigration policies. Asian immigrants were seen as a threat to Americans, and so they created this false notion in fear of losing their jobs. Similar behaviors with the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen today, especially with it being nicknamed the “China Virus”. Seeing as how these associations continue to exist today really goes to show how little progress we’ve made in addressing and rectifying anti-Asian attitudes.


Going back to the pandemic, this othering that Asians have experienced has only worsened. In the article by CBS news, it depicted 2,120 hate incidents against Asian Americans that were reported during the coronavirus pandemic. Such incidents included “one assailant yell(ing) about ‘bringing that Chinese virus over here’ during an attack against an Asian-American man at a San Francisco hardware store on May 6”. In addition to that, Asian-American businesses have suffered great losses as well. They’ve been subject to stigmatization, as many customers fear that dining at these restaurants will infect them with the coronavirus. To much dismay, a narrative has been created where the Chinese and East Asian communities are to blame for the pandemic. As the article from The Human Rights Watch has pointed out, this way of thinking has only been fueled by racist rhetoric with “Trump’s use of the term ‘Chinese Virus’, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s use of ‘Wuhan virus’”. Not only does this encourage hate speech, it places much emphasis on the lack of governmental protection in regards to Asians and those of Asian descent. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Asians to be the targets of derogatory language and upsetting acts of violence, further alienating them from a country they have lived their whole lives in.


In response to this “othering”, Asians have fought against the ignorance of others to no avail. In the Marshall project, Felix Sitthivong discusses his experiences against the invisible adversary of anti-Asian racism. One day when he was tutoring a GED class, a debate about Japan and China erupted. Suddenly, a white student blurted out that “it didn't matter if China and Japan were different countries because ‘they are all gooks anyway’”. Felix was shocked at such an insult and had to defend himself as the only Asian American in the room, since no one else was going to. Asians have had to defend themselves merely for their background in a world infected with discrimination, only to end up disappointed from the lack of progress in our nation. We see this in the video, Executive Order 9066, where Minoru Yasui, Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu were arrested for curfew violation during the height of the Japanese American internment and accusations of espionage. Each appealed their conviction and went to the Supreme Court, where the government tried to justify their arrest for violating Public Law 503, although there was no evidence to indicate that the 3 men were disloyal. These three men had to wait 40 years for their cases to be reopened before they finally obtained justice against fraudulent claims. Asians have fought their whole lives against this prejudice, yet their efforts seem to wash away, noting the many instances of anti-Asian discrimination that takes place today.


Thus, in order to increase education and support around anti-Asian discrimination, non-Asians should make an effort to educate themselves, starting with the blatantly racist and discriminatory language that is embedded within our media and used by our governmental leaders. We should start addressing instances of microaggressions as well, such as the one that Felix Sitthivong experienced, and not exist as silent bystanders. Finally, we should start including more information about Asian-American history within our textbooks so that crucial events and its details, such as the Japanese incarceration, is not condensed into a small paragraph that students can just skim over.


In response to @madagascar’s question, I believe that Trump’s response and language towards the COVID-19 pandemic has only incited further racism and discrimination towards Asians from others in the United States. His continuous racist rhetoric and use of the term “China Virus” only fuels this false narrative that the Asian community is to blame for the pandemic. Many are ignorant enough to believe his words, which unfortunately further encourages hate speech and violence towards Asians.


My question is: Why do so many people continue to be bystanders when they witness an act of anti-Asian discrimination? We saw a multitude of people just look on as various Asian-Americans were called names and derogatory terms in the personal stories we read especially.







Fidget
Boston, Massachuesetts, US
Posts: 13

COVID-19 Is Not The Only Virus Spreading-- Xenophobia Has Spread Like Wildfire

COVID-19 has spread to over 21 million people in the United States alone, totaling in over 380,000 deaths, and causing irreversible damages in every aspect of life. One problem caused by COVID-19 that many people underestimate/ don't consider, is the level of discrimination and hate that it has helped produce. Violence and discrimination against Asian Americans is arguably at it's highest point since the switch from American to Japanese cars, in which hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their jobs and took this anger out on innocent Asian Americans. This is, in many ways, exactly what is occurring now. The violence occurring today is similar to the violence that took the life of Vincent Chin, an innocent Chinese man, out celebrating before his wedding that was going occur soon. The parallels to what he faced and what thousands of Americans are facing is uncanny, a disaster (one a pandemic, the other mass loss of jobs) is blamed on a person, solely for the way they look, the race they belong to. Asian people are constantly under scrutiny and attack, people judging them based on stereotypes that sometimes don't even make sense to me, as a Caucasian person. Stereotypes such as ones that state Asian people are naturally good at math, science and schooling in general, or that Asian people can't drive, and many others are grounds for hatred and generalization, that must be stopped.

One thing that continues the hatred spread by generalization and ignorance is publicity and taunting from well known public figures. It is well known that the President of the United States, self proclaimed to be the country of liberty and justice for all, proudly and publicly calls the virus, the "China virus." This is immeasurably harmful for our country, as if a man like Donald Trump, the president, believes and says things like this, that his supporters can and will also. And they do, quite a bit. As seen in the article, Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide, written by the Human Rights watch, writes this statement taken from John Sifton,

“Racism and physical attacks on Asians and people of Asian descent have spread with the Covid-19 pandemic, and government leaders need to act decisively to address the trend,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director. “Governments should act to expand public outreach, promote tolerance, and counter hate speech while aggressively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.”

In this quote, Sifton talks about the racism and physical attacks, brought on by the generalization of Asian people and the Corona Virus. He gives a clear plan to stop these attacks, one I strongly stand by. The root of this evil is misinformation and ignorance, and so in order to solve the issue people must be educated. If this means teaching students about Asian American struggle and where harmful generalizations stem from, then that's what this country needs. In this same article, it discusses cases of racially charged violence against Asian Americans in other countries and continents such as in the UK, middle east, Africa and more, where Asian people are being told to go back where they came from, and other racially charged insults.

Targeting of the Asian race is not new for this country, with instances such as 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, in which Chinese people were barred immigration into the country. This was the first immigration law that targeted a specific ethnicity. In this case, over a hundred years ago, the immigrants were seen as carriers of disease by those blocking them entry, as in the United States government and surely a portion of it's population. This harmful stereotype still exists today, with the idea that all Chinese people have the "China Virus" and can spread it to everyone else. CBS news writes that over 40% of the 2,120 hate crimes against Asian people occurred in California alone, an epicenter for the virus. These attacks are often grounded in the belief, as mentioned before, that Asian Americans are disease carries. This is harmful, and downright disturbing, as it is clear dehumanization and attacking someone's core identity. I can't even find grounds for their arguments at all.

One question written by my peer asked what can we do to prevent attacks on the Asian American community. I think that as John Sifton stated, we need to promote tolerance and prosecute hate crimes, while educating the populous on how those generalizations are made and why they are harmful. These hate crimes exist out of ignorance, and ignorance cannot exist if we educate the masses. Do you think there is a possibility that in the future a majority of the population of Earth will look at eachother and think fellow human- rather than seeing divides based on race or class? (I know it seems open ended- but with the pure hatred and racism that exists for every race against one another, unity is a question that doesn't even seem worth asking to me at this point)

anonymouse
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

Hate Crimes Undercover

Discrimination against Asians is not something new. Covid-19 is not the cause and root of the discrimination that we often see in the media. But rather Covid-19 only exacerbates the intensity of the situation. Since the coronavirus originated from Wuhan, China, people started to associate the virus with Chinese people, but many non-Asians cannot differentiate between Asians and start to target all Asians as a result.


In “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies”, it addresses the reasons behind the blame on Asians. Asian Americans are used as scapegoats because of the growing threat of China to America’s global dominance. In addition, the languages used by government officials when referring to pandemic also influence a lot of the hatred towards Asians. “Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide” mentions that “officials in some instances have directly or indirectly encouraged hate crimes, racism, or xenophobia by using anti-Chinese rhetoric.” The hatred towards Asians is not only happening in America but also happening worldwide in Australia, Europe, and Africa.


This is not surprising as discrimination against Asians has been happening for centuries and has even been encouraged by the government, which further normalizes the rascist behavior. In the film Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066, it exposes the truth behind the Japanese Internment during World War II. The U.S. put over 110,000 Japanese Americans in camps despite not having any evidence that they were a threat to national security. Fear is often turned into panic by government officals, thus leading to discrimination and public hatred against the group of people. The government has also pinned minorities against each other in order to benefit from them. TeenVogue’s “Anti-Asian Hate Has Surged During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Reports Find” mentioned that model minority was created for Chinese-Americans during WWII. The model minority now stereotypes many Asian Americans as polite and law-abiding citizens, but in reality it is another form of racism by Americans.


The U.S. education system is not built to teach the students about the wrongdoings of the country, but rather used to glorify the U.S. Asian American discrimination, which is normalized to the fact that most people do not even realize that it’s happening. The common occurrence of it and the lack of education around it causes a disconnect between non-Asians and Asians.


Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom says her illustrations help people understand the situation more and empathize more. Sjöblom also brought up points about the requirement of ethnic studies in schools and more representation in the media to help combat racism. I believe that education and representation will at least bring awareness and can create more open conversations about racism against Asians. Non-Asians should help spread awareness and continue education themselves about the discrimination. It is also important for them to report incidents of racism and hate crime to officials and help ensure that the perpetrators are taken accountable for their actions.


Answering @Fidget’s question, I think it would be hard for people to not see divides. It’s our instinct to discriminate, but it is up to our education and values to decide how to act upon those discriminations. As generations pass there are developments and improvements to eliminate discrimination or strict division between race. With a lot of work, there would be a slim possibility that most people would look past our differences and see each other as fellow human beings.


My question is how has internalized racism within Asians impacted their ability to respond to and stand up against discriminatory actions? What effects does it have on societal stereotypes of Asians?

Murs1214
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Growing up as a Korean America and Xenophobia

Originally, I was adopted from South Korean and came to America at a young age into a white family in Boston. Because of this I grew up knowing white culture at all, I went to a white elementary school, made a lot of white friends, and did not learn much Korean culture at all. However, because I grew up as an odd one out for so long, I never really understood how offensive Americans really can be to Asians with stereotypes and insulting our facial features such as our eyes. In elementary, a few times people would stretch they're eyes to mock that I was Asian, and a couple times some people said the racist saying "ching chong." But for some reason it didn't hit me personally when it really should've. However, with the current pandemic and with what I've learned in 2020 overall, it really put me full swing understanding how xenophobic America really is.

There are many examples of how Americans have disrespected all Asians over history. Looking presently with the pandemic, one prime example was when millions of Americans joined the bandwagon led by Trump calling Covid-19 the "Chinese Virus." Understanding that the virus did originate from China is one thing, but to use that fact against essentially all Asians is completely repulsive and disrespectful. If I remember correctly, a fellow Asian student from my Facing class said that she was walking down the street one day and a group of white boys came up to her friend group and started harassing them by saying eww they have corona virus. The sad part about it was that the girl had to fake cough to make them go away. Not to mention that I also had to deal with the same thing in the beginning of the pandemic with some white strangers in Boston. But one thing that I think is very unfair to the other races such as African Americans and Hispanics is that we Asians can classify at times as white.

It is unfair that us Asians can classify as white at times and receive the white privileges at time whereas the other races cannot, and to be completely honest, I have a strong belief that Africans and Hispanics have to deal with a lot more stereotypical confrontations than us Asians do. For example, a current issues that has become more brought up today is police brutality, and to be completely honest, I think it is safe to say that most Asians don't have a big fear of American police brutality the way that African Americans do. To add onto the matter, you never hear about Asian Americans getting murdered by American police at all really. Even on many social media platforms such as tiktok, I have seen videos where an African American man has been pulled over for speeding and then prays that he doesn't get harmed and even said "I hate being black please God let me go unharmed." As an overall conclusion, it is safe to say that Asian racism keeps finding more excuses over time to remain and that it is unfair that the only other non-white race that gets the "white treatment" is the Asian race that that for some reason Americans can't respect African Americans and HIspanics the same way.

vintage.garfield
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

We Are Not the Virus

Although it is never justified why people target whole racial or religious groups, there are many factors (like fear) that can lead people to separating these certain groups from themselves and see these groups as inferior or as a threat. Focusing on Asians, I believe that the hate comes from fear of competition and cultural differences, and with othering, it makes sense why the word “xenophobia” is used (since xeno- means foreigner or alien).

Asians have been discriminated against for centuries before the Coronavirus. This hate was never something new - it has been ingrained in history, leading back to even the black/ bubonic plague. In Anna Purna Kambhampaty and Haruka Sakaguchi’s “’I Will Not Stand Silent.’ 10 Asian-Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality,” it is said that back in the 1800s, white labor unions argued for an immigration ban, claiming that Chinese disease strains were more harmful than those carried by white people. These unions feared that Chinese workers were taking their jobs. In the “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies” by Ivan Natividad, he says that this anti-Asian xenophobia has been rooted in decades of health based discrimination, with public health officials misrepresenting Asians as disease carriers of incurable diseases like smallpox and the bubonic plague. This was used as a means to justify anti-immigration policies.

Personally, this is so frustrating because of the lack of common sense and authorities abusing their power or attempting to gain more power and control their citizens by othering groups of people. Europeans weren’t discriminated against for killing 90% of the Native American population by bringing diseases like smallpox, measles, influenza, and etc. and even participating in biological warfare by giving infected blankets to them. Also, I find the normalized, but extremely insensitive, joke about (East/ Southeast) Asians eating dogs and cats is not at all funny. Some groups of Asians resorted to eating cats and dogs due to poverty and starvation and it is not commonly eaten. Plus, it makes no sense that Asians are considered dirty for eating cats and dogs (even if it isn’t true) since there is a whole thing about Americans eating roadkill.

An example of immigration related discrimination in the US would be when hundreds of thousands of Japanese immigrants were forced into concentration camps because of fear of competition in farming, fear of Japanese spies carrying bombs instilled by government and military officials like DeWitt, and a ton of lies and misinformation spread, creating national panic that these Japanese people were a threat to national security. In the “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” film, white farmers feared that the Japanese farmers were going to take over the Central Valley. The Japanese bought land that was undesired by the whites because the whites believed that the land was unsuitable for farming. To the whites’ surprise and fear, these Japanese families turned the land into thriving farms. Then the Pearl Harbor bombing happened and these innocent Japanese people were believed to be spies and over 100,000 Japanese people were forced into concentration camps.

To summarize the jumble of information, Asians, for centuries, have been discriminated against because of cultural differences, which led to othering, fear of competition and disease, and misinformation by the media, public health officials, or even authorities causing a widespread panic.

This history to most non-Asians and even some Asians isn’t well known because not only has discrimination and stereotyping been normalized, but also it isn’t taught in schools and authorities have been purposefully hiding any evidence that Asians have been discriminated against, such as DeWitt preventing the printing presses from spreading the truth about how Japanese Americans were innocent (and that the stories about them being spies were all made up) to the public and the Supreme Court. In the “Covid 19 fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide” article, it is said that “... the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which 182 countries have ratified, has recommended that governments adopt “national action plans against racial discrimination.” These plans should combat racial discrimination with things like stricter rules/laws against hate crimes and education programming to encourage tolerance. The article also says that governments need to take urgent action to quickly address the wave of coronavirus related racism

Asians have been classified as “white” when it is convenient and are also classified as “other” or “POC.” They confront this “othering” by changing parts of their identity and possibly conforming to Westerns standards. Some examples of Asians confronting this “othering” is changing their ethnic names to being something more “American” or “white” or refusing to speak their language and learn about their own culture. This may be done so that Asians wouldn’t get discriminated against for being “different” or harassed. In Sarah Li’s “Anti-Asian Hate Has Surged during the Coronavirus Pandemic, Reports Find,” she discusses survey results. A conclusion from the survey is that many Asian youths are fearing for the safety of their families and communities. A 13-year-old wrote, “‘I feel scared to let my grandparents go out in fear that they may be harassed. I feel anger and confusion since society has normalized it so much that when we try to speak up about it, people still try and joke around about it.’”

Personally, I struggled a lot with identity because although I love my culture and grew up speaking my mother tongue, I had students who thought my ethnic food was disgusting and teachers often mispronounced my name and eventually (even now) all of my classmates and teachers call me by an easier, but wrong, pronounced name.

An example of being classified as white can be seen in the model minority myth, where stereotypes of Asians being good at math, or excelling in academics in general due to strict parents who push for something in the STEM field, are used to perpetuate the narrative that Asian Americans are timid, polite, and are naturally smart due to being Asian. This is often used to dismiss Asian accomplishments and discriminate against other minority groups.

What non-Asians should do to be allies is to educate themselves, interact more with Asian people if they haven’t yet (to learn first hand about the many different cultures and gain more understanding and empathy), and speak out against stereotypes and de-normalize them (i.e. calling out racist jokes). They need to address these issues (like speaking out against coronavirus related discrimination and bringing it up to teachers and faculty staff). They must allow lift up Asian voices.

To answer @anonymouse’s question: Internalized racism within Asians has led certain Asians to believe that they are part of the “white” group and they often make racist jokes about their own cultures, trying to fit in with their peers and losing their sense of self. This impacts their ability to respond to and stand up against discriminatory actions because they are scared that they could be targeted or “othered” and could believe that the victims deserved it or just show apathy. The effects it has on societal stereotypes of Asians is that it could separate different groups of Asians (meaning whitewashed Asian Americans against newly immigrated or just other Asian Americans).

My question is: There is a lot of discrimination within Asian communities where some Asians can develop a racist mindset, believe that America is the best, and essentially hate certain Asian communities because of tensions between countries and direct experience of war because of those tensions (i.e. Vietnam War). How can we unite Asian communities and undo racist beliefs when some of the older Asian people have experienced such things?

eastbostonsavingsbank
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

History of Racism Towards Asians

Many have tried to justify calling COVID-19 the “China/Chinese Virus” by using the Spanish Flu as an example of how the region it originates from has historically been used without backlash. There are so many flaws in that logic and surprise- they all stem from ignorance. In 1918 at the start of what would become the deadliest pandemic in history, Spain said not to call it the Spanish influenza. Spain was the first country to report the disease publicly, and was not the flu’s place of origin. Spaniards called the highly contagious disease “The Soldier of Naples” after a catchy song popular at the time, and protested that they were being falsely stigmatized due to the name that other nations gave the flu. In 2015, the World Health Organization made new guidelines for naming diseases “to minimize unnecessary negative impact of disease names” and “avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.”, specifically speaking against referring to countries in disease names. Trump publicly refers to COVID as the “Chinese virus” during nationally televised news briefing, despite the constant backlash he receives for blatant prejudice. Many say he is unfairly stigmatizing all Chinese people, but Trump has said that he is just stating the truth. And when Trump does something, his supporters follow him blindly, so now the population of those who think that calling COVID the “Chinese virus” is ever-growing.


In the “’I Will Not Stand Silent.’ 10 Asian-Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality.” article, Douglas Kim’s story stuck out to me most. He owns a Michelin star restaurant, which was vandalized and closed down out of fear for his workers, all because he is Asian in a pandemic. In “Fear of coronavirus fuels racist sentiment targeting Asians”, Katherine Lu said, “The coronavirus is an opportunity for them to safely express their racist thoughts in a way that can be excused.”, and I think this is a great way to show how COVID has enabled racism towards Asian people. People tend to follow the leader and mimic their actions, and as our leader is Trump, it makes sense that his disgusting behavior towards Asian people especially during this pandemic encourages his followers to do the exact same thing, using both Trump and the origin of the virus as defense. Hate crimes against Asian people weren’t are before the pandemic either, shown in the article “2,120 Hate Incidents Against Asian Americans Reported During Coronavirus Pandemic”, where the author Erin Donaghue tells the raiders that over 2,100 anti-Asian hate events have happened just between March and June of last year. Many of these were COVID prompted, but violence and micro-aggressions against Asians has become pretty normalized in our society.


Why does all of this happen? Where is this aggression coming from? Well, prior to COVID, Asians in America were thought of as the ideal immigrants of color due to their history of economic success. But at the same time, Asians have been considered a threat to our nation that promoted a white-only immigration policy, called a “yellow peril”. In the late 19th century, white nativists spread xenophobic propaganda about Chinese uncleanliness in San Francisco. This fueled the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act, the first law in the United States that stopped immigration solely based on race. In 1924, the Immigration Act was passed and Japanese and other East Asians were banned from entering the United States. With the process came an atmosphere of hostility and discrimination that would help to put 120,000 Japanese-American people in internment camps during WW2. Almost 20 years later, the first Japanese internment camp opened in southern California in reaction to Pearl Harbor. While the Japanese were the ones targeted during this time, ignorant white Americans who didn’t care where people in Asia were from targeted Chinese people they would see and harass them because they thought they were involved in Pearl Harbor. As with racism towards African-Americans, these kinds of prejudice that we see today are learned from older family members, most likely those who were alive and well during the internment camps and Pearl Harbor. Many non-Asian people are aware of the Chinese migration to the West Coast in the 1800s and the racism that comes with it, but that is maybe all. This has never been a large focus point in any history class I’ve taken, and the most I’ve learned about Asians in America historically has been about the internment camps and Pearl Harbor, but even then I never learned very much about it. Non-Asians should show their support for Asians and be allies, and the best way to do this is to educate yourself. Educate yourself about their histories, their cultures, and really think about your subconscious feelings about them. Racism towards Asians has become pretty normalized within our society, with many making fun of broken english, thick accents, and mocking languages just because they are different from their own, and a good way to show ally ship is to call them out and tell them how offensive they are being.


In response to @vintage.garfield’s question: I think the best way to unite Asian communities and undo racist beliefs is to educate those with prejudice and let them know that it is good to form their own opinions. Learning about each side and their motivations can open up a new perspective and realize that prejudice will lead nowhere but more hate.


My question is: Do you think racism against Asians is too normalized to ever reach a point in which it is no longer normalized? Will it ever get the same media coverage as racism against black people?

greenflowers58
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Normalization of Xenophobia and Anti-Asian Racism

Reading and learning in further depth about how Asian people face discrimination, especially now amid the coronavirus is showing me how normalized xenophobia and racism against the Asian community is. It just makes me think, if people had stopped to think about why they assume all Asians have the coronavirus, they would realize how incredibly off base and offensive they are but the ones that make racist remarks, harass, etc. asians and people of asian descent don’t care. They don’t even want to look at facts and it comes from illogical hate and fear. As a white person myself, I can’t say how the othering Asian people have faced could have affected them or how to confront it, but after reading the article “I Will Not Stand Silent.' 10 Asian Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality” and reading the personal accounts in class, I got a better understanding of how it feels for them to be discriminated against or even attacked because of your race. A quote that really stood out to me came from a personal account by Haruka Sakaguchi, “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.” I thought this was incredibly insightful and showed me more why this is all so normalized. Not seeing Asian people, or other people of color, as individuals makes it easier for people to group all of them together, even going back to the video we watched in class, “All Orientals Look the Same” it is just another example of how privileged white people are for some of them to be able to look past everything that makes these people their own person and dehumanize them and in this case, just look at them as a virus.

Something that was brought to my attention from the article “Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide” was the influence of politicians and leaders on the actions of citizens. For example, Trump calling Covid-19 the “China virus” influences his supporters into blaming all Chinese people, or people that they think are Chinese. In the article “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American History of prejudicial policies” Berkeley professor John A. Powell says “the discrimination against Asians because of the coronavirus is due to a ‘heightened state of (anti-immigrant) bias’ in the United States.”... “So, somehow, Asians are seen as not real Americans and not to be trusted.” I thought this was interesting because of how it goes to show it really isn’t about Asian people or other people of color, it is about the need to “preserve white American dominance”. Also on the topic of influence is education and awareness surrounding issues of xenophobia and anti-asian racism in the U.S. Like another classmate mentioned in their post, I had never learned about Executive Order 9066 until BLS and not specifically until this year. My privilege as a white person does contribute to the fact that I was so blind to the racism that Asian people faced now and throughout history, but I also think that the American school system should have done a better job addressing it, because if people had heard more about the history of anti-asian racism when they were young they would be less ignorant to it as adults.

As for what non-Asians should do to be allies, I think the most important thing is listening to Asian people about their experiences and doing what they think will be most helpful to do as an ally. Going on social media and spreading awareness can also be extremely beneficial. For example from the article “‘I am not a virus’ How this artist is illustrating corona-virus fueled racism” there is mentioned a hashtag (#IAmNotAVirus) that was started and I think that things that people can just see while they are scrolling through their phones are very helpful to spread awareness.

To answer @vintage.garfield’s question, I would say that, although it seems simple, awareness and education go a long way in getting people to understand the truth about something they may have been taught incorrectly. I also think that getting people within different parts of the Asian community to understand that although they are all different in their own ways, they face a common struggle and it will only hurt them to create a bigger divide.

My question is: Why do you think it is so easy for non-Asian people to be bystanders when witnessing anti-asian racism?

muumihalit
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 11

Anti-Asian Discrimination in America: past and present

A similarity between what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII and what is happening to Asian Americans now, is the concept that immigrants of a certain ethnicity, are at fault because their country of heritage is doing something Americans are opposed to. To explain it better, during WWII, Japanese Americans were incarcerated because the US was at war with Japan. Now Asian Americans are being targeted because the coronavirus originated in China, and the US President is blaming China for it, rather than acknowledging the United States’ own lousy handling of the virus. First, it is wrong to blame an entire ethnic group in America, for something other Americans have against the country of their ethnicity. They may have never even been to that country, and they certainly should not be targeted because of this. Secondly, as questionable and problematic as the Chinese government’s handling of the virus was, we should not be blaming it entirely on the whole country, when our own country had a terrible response to it.

This association brings up the question of who is really considered an American (by other Americans)? America is a country of immigrants, yet certain immigrant groups and their descendants are still “othered” as if they are not Americans themselves.

I think a lot of anti-Asian racism and historical anti-Asian sentiment are as John A. Powell says in the UC Berkeley article “about preserving white American dominance. It’s an assumption that the West, particularly Anglo-American Christians, should dominate the world,”...“So, somehow, Asians are seen as not real Americans and not to be trusted.” This is exactly what happened when early Chinese immigrants came in the 19th century, and a reason for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, was that white people were afraid of Chinese competition for employment, so they wanted to bar any Chinese from coming in and from becoming citizens.

I think there is a lack of knowledge about Asian American history and the long history of anti-Asian discrimination in America, because people see Asians as “others” and they “other” them and don’t think of them as fellow Americans, as Powell said. Also, like people have said a million times before, history that we learn in school is so Eurocentric, and thus hate really stems from ignorance. Felix Sitthivong writes in his article about a non-Asian confusing China and Japan. I heard similar things a lot as a kid from other non-Asian kids: for example making fun of a country’s food while confusing it for another. If you’re going to be mean at least be accurate :( Don’t make fun of sushi for being “disgusting because it’s raw fish” and then say that’s why Chinese food is “gross”. Kids are not taught enough about other countries/cultures and that’s where it all starts.

In my experience, related to the video “All Orientals Look the Same”, in grade school there was one other East Asian student in my class (a small school), and we would get mixed up all the time by teachers. Kids naturally find differences between each other, but all parents need to teach their children not to make fun of others because of their differences. Like most East Asian kids, I too was made fun of for my small eyes: kids would call them “Chinese eyes” and pull their eyes back to imitate mine, and it was something I really disliked about myself for a long time. It shouldn’t be the norm that most kids are going through this, and that is something non-Asians and really everyone can teach their kids not to do.

People should also understand that we are all Americans, and so non-Asians should stand up for anyone they see in public being targeted. And in turn Asians too need to stand up for others when they see racism occuring. Like the Human Rights Watch article encoruages, governements should take more steps in condemning this anti-Asian violence and discrimination, especially because of the recent surge.

Another specific thing non-Asians and Asians actually, can do right now, is support Asian businesses and Chinatown businesses, because like the LA Times video said, a lot of these businesses have struggled especially during the pandemic because of racism, in addition to the obvious struggles all businesses are facing due to COVID.

This quote by Ida Chen from the TIME article stood out to me: “Since then, Chen has been doing everything she can to avoid similar situations. “The other day, I walked 40 blocks to avoid taking the bus or the subway. I’d rather be out in the open where I can run away if I have to,” she says. “I wear big sunglasses, and my hair is ombré blond, so I wear a hat to cover the black hair so you can only see the blond.”” Chen describes how she tries to hide her East Asian features in public so as not to be targeted. She covers her eyes and black hair, so that people can only see her blond hair. Through this tactic, she is trying to appear more white (blond hair) which I think is so sad that we can’t even be out in public, showing our own appearances, without fear of an attack or violence. That she had to resort to basically disguising herself as a white person to feel safer, is horrible.

Also from the TIME article, Haruka Sakaguchi said “the idea that individuality is a luxury afforded to a privileged class, no matter how reckless their behavior or how consequential their actions.” Here Sakaguchi is referring to how in her mind, when this white man harassed her, she was finding fault with only himself as an individual, while he was doing the opposite, and grouping her because of her race, calling her the racial slur c-word that is used to offensively refer to Chinese people. While she did not immediately fault all members of his race for what he had done, he faulted her because of his dislike of people of her race. This is related to something else about individuality that I read for English class, which was very different from this subject, but still about race. A point from that article was that when white goalkeepers make mistakes, no one uses their performances to say that all white players don’t make good goalkeepers, and only that one white player’s reputation suffers. But when Black goalkeepers make any mistake, it is used as evidence to claim that all Black goalkeepers make mistakes, or Black players shouldn’t be goalkeepers. This is an issue regarding representation, that when Black people and other people of color are in a new position, it is more than just their own individual reputation that is on the line, but it will affect the chances of others of their race after them. “If 80 percent of the white male directors of football in the league are abject failures, that will not stop anyone appointing the next white guy,” Hislop said. “But Les had to be outstanding for other Black players to be given a shot.”

Although this may seem unrelated, it emphasizes Sakaguchi’s point that individuality is only afforded to a privileged set of people, in her case she had given her aggressor the benefit of the doubt and did not use his racism towards her to then believe that all white people were racist, but he did not afford her the same privilege of individuality, by thinking that all Asian people had the coronavirus. This is a danger of stereotypes, and it shows that people should not hold prejudices against people based on their race, in addition to other things.

To answer @vintage.garfield’s question: I definitely agree that these problems exist. One thing is that in America, because of race and white supremacy, Asians have been grouped together as “Asians” instead of being referred to by their specific country of heritage. Personally as a third generation Asian American I do feel more of a connection to other Asians of different countries of heritage than mine, than to non-Asians, so the collective term “Asian” does not bother me as much. However, I do have the privilege of being from one of the better known Asian countries, so people don’t incorrectly assume my heritage as much as others, whom I understand might have a problem with being grouped as an “Asian” because of that. I think now with the increased discrimination against Asians (of multiple Asian countries, not just China) in America because of COVID, it’s important to say that all Asian Americans are being treated unfairly, that the perpatrators don’t distinguish between countries of heritage, so Asians need to come together to stand against the racism we are experiencing collectively. Another important thing is that people shouldn’t be blamed for things the country of their heritage did, many probably may have no relation to what happened. Similarly, Asians need to also support other communities of color who are fighting against racism as well, and not be the source of it. (I know I wrote Asian a lot sorry)

My question is this: Unfortunately there is also anti-Blackness and racism against other races in many Asian communities. Do you think this has been the result of the “model minority” myth and how can we combat it?


JGV
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

The Rising Anti-Asian Rhetoric can be traced to White Supremacy

The United States has a white supremacy problem which is the root cause of the continuous cycle of racism we encounter and witness everyday. Anti-asian discrimination and xenophobia is not new but, due to the “normalization” of micro-agressions and denial of the problem many people will claim this to be solely Covid related. Factually this is incorrect as the rhetoric began over a century ago and was promoted by government policies like 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the 1924 Immigration Act and Executive Order 9066 in 1942.


As with claims used to justify the discrimiation in the Covid era, the government instituted these policies on baseless claims supported by white-supremacists officials who allowed it to continue. In modern days the continuous spread of misinformation that fuels the dicrimination can be attributed to social media, where these claims can run rampant and quickly spread. John Sifton, an Asia advocacy director says “ Social media companies have a responsibility to protect users against hateful and xenophobic content on their platforms, and should invest adequate resources to addressing it and mitigating its harm.”


Due to widespread misinformation and stereotypes like the “model minority myth” the troubles of Asian-Americans are all too minimized. This has even been brought to light in institutions like UC Berkley whose “health services center listed xenophobia toward Asian people as a “normal reaction” in an informational post on Instagram” (Hussain, LA Times). As too refering to Asian's as white when its convenient, it should never occur because that negates the history where their opressors have been actual White people insitituting policies that harm them. No minority should ever have their identity taken away and replaced with whatever is politically convenient especially to push them against other minorities.


The idea that racism and fear against Asians is acceptable due to the prevalence of a virus is not only an uneducated opinion but one rooted in the “otherness” seen far too often. John Powell makes an excellent point on this matter when he said,

“It’s an assumption that the West, particularly Anglo-American Christians, should dominate the world. So, somehow, Asians are seen as not real Americans and not to be trusted.”

The idea of there being “real americans” and those who are “other” dates back to the idea of white power and supremacy. White Americans have always been threatened by other minority groups striving to make their mark on America and they claim them to be threats to their jobs, illegal spies or as of right now carriers of a disease. It will never be factually based since it's solely dependent on the tradition of racism and “otherness”. There can be no excuses as, Felix Sitthivong says because the intention is to,”lacerate, maim, mutilate, disable, debilitate [and] impair” (Marshall Project).


Individuals must learn about the history of Asian-Americans in the United States because often the lack of knowledge on a subject provides room for misinformation to grow. In the entire time I’ve been in school I believe the topic of Asian-Americas in the US only came into the curriculum in 7th grade reading Dragonwings and in 10th grade when discussing Joy Luck Club. In no way can two books encapsulate the history that we should be aware of. To be allies we must have a factually correct and unbiased version of events where the government is not put on a pedestall when it did something wrong. Starting with documentaries like Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066 students can gain the foothold they need to bring themselves to awareness.


My question is: How are students supposed to make an active change to turn the tide away from Asian discrimination if we are never taught its deep history in the States? How can we institute a change in our education system?

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