posts 16 - 30 of 33
Posts: 21

Repeated Themes of Hatred

Over the past year (I guess now more than a year), Asian-Americans have faced constant harrassment, disrespect, and even violence as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world. Asian-Americans have also faced a long, long history of discrimination and hatred in the United States.

The single most important point that I think I need to make on this topic is the fact that this is not being talked about. This a long pattern in the history of oppression for Asian-Americans, and it is unfortunately being carried on today. Even in history textbooks, very few instances or examples of this discrimination and hatred are included in curriculums, even about Japanese Internment camps during WWII. For example, I did not learn about any oppression against Asian-American people in any of my history classes up until now, and got all of my information from outside sources. During WWII, a time when a many Americans felt intense patriotism and the desire to fight the rising power of the Nazis in Europe for their own freedom, we were simultaneously locking up hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese-Americans (citizens for the most part), right in the middle of California. The hypocrisy in this is often overlooked, and it is still washed over in our US History classes!!! For many years, the voices of Asian-Americans who have attempted to speak up about their own experiences with prejudice, discrimination and hatred have largely been silenced or ignored, while people proclaim about how the US is the greatest country in the world and how everyone is equal here. Justice is not selective; you cannot fight against oppression for one group of people and then turn around and ignore another. To use the same quote a second time, by Elie Wiesel, "Those who are silent in times of injustice have chosen the side of the oppressor".

And this hate continues to grow. A largely recurring theme in the pattern large-scale discrimination or acts of hatred against one group of people is the act of "othering" or "scape-goating". Clearly, our country was absolutely devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, and many people are very angry about this. They want someone to blame, a tangible thing to point their finger at, when in reality we should be pointing the fingers at ourselves. According to both the UC Berkely and the CBS article, over 2,500 cases of acts of violence and hatred against Asian-Americans have been reported in the last year alone. Winston Tseng, from UC Berkeley, says that this reminds him of the same racism and xenophobia that was present in America in the 19th and 20th centuries (UC Berkeley article). I find this truly scary, because the extreme and horrific measures that the government went to in an attempt to silence and oppress Asian-Americans. And the even scarier thing is, this is not some far-off, intangible kind of thing that we only hear about on the news once a month, but rather a sad reality for everyday people. Cynthia Choi, the co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, says "These are real people just living their lives and encountering this kind of hate" (CBS article).This is very, very real fear for any Asian-American living in the United States right now. Asian-American parents are even saying that they have to have the "talk" about what to do if their child finds themselves in a dangerous situation. From the article from The Marshall Project, Felix Sitthivong shares his story about having this "talk" with his son: "But then my eyes filled with tears as I expressed how, after all of the anti-Asian racism I've been seeing lately, I was concerned I was for his safety out on the road by himself. My son listened reluctantly as I went through the do's and don'ts of his reaction if he ever found himself in a sketchy situation" (The Marshall Project article). This racism and hatred goes as deep as our own president, who continues to call the coronavirus the "Chinese Virus" and "Kung-Flu". Once again, this is extremely dangerous, because he is saying to the rest of America that this is ok. He is giving encouragement to the rest of his supporters to do the same. This is also very scary, because going back to Executive Order 9066, it was simple politicians who created and executed the internment camps of WWII. The parellels from that time and now are very scary. And this kind of image of Asian-Americans has deeper roots than we know of in America; the Stop AAPI Hate team took a look at anti-Asian xenophobia back in the 1800's, where Asian-Americans were demonized as violent, disease ridden savages, even in the windows of local, everyday businesses (TeenVogue article). The pattern here is clear. Part of the problem is ignorance, which is partly due to the flaws and holes in the American education system, but the other part of the problem is simply that people won't speak up. There are people who are afraid to walk outside, be in public, every day in our country, yet we stay silent.

Thus, this racism and xenophobia is a widespread and rampant threat to Asian-Americans in the United States right now, and it is largely being ignored. I think that the best thing we can do as allies is to not be what I call "selective activists", which means that we only speak up on issues that are being widely talked about. We cannot simply go along with the tide of society in these situations, in order to create real change we have to speak up, even if we are the only one doing so. In these kinds of times, being a bystander is just as bad as being the aggressor. By staying silent during these times, we are giving our consent for the times to stay as they are, which we know, as seen above, cannot happen.

My final question is this: what tangible things can we do? Above, I mentioned that we must speak up, go against the tide, and stand up in these times, but what does that look like for us? What specifically can we do to help this issue?

Posts: 21

Originally posted by fignewton11 on January 14, 2021 21:15

As we’ve studied in this class and have seen throughout history, people have a history of “othering” and scapegoating. When a group of people is seeing hardship, many resort to blaming others for their own failures. Hitler and the Nazi regime used Jewish people as scapegoats for their failures, and enough people that shared a similar discontentment with their status felt empowered to blame a group of people that had done nothing at all.

As the Human Rights Watch article says, “the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering.” The whole world has seen devastating loss this year, and people want someone to blame. Rather than blaming local and federal legislators that failed to properly prepare for or control the virus, people blame those that look different from them. Donald Trump, a leader we should be able to trust at this time, has only perpetuated this racist rhetoric. He has been quick to label COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” but slow to actually take action. Trump has set an example in this nation of racism and blaming others, rather than holding himself accountable for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to his complete mismanagement of the virus.

However, as we learned in class, this anti-Asian hate is nothing new. Much of this hatred has also been scapegoating, Vincent Chin’s murder due to the increase in job loss. People use hardships of their own to justify racist behavior towards others. People also (like our President and his supporters) have the competitive idea that America must be first in everything, and must be truly “great again.” This idea has long been at the forefront of American values, and many believe America to be the greatest country in the world. As we’ve seen, however, this so-called greatness is often at the cost of those that pose any threat. Through this, America has a history of racist and xenophobic policies and attitudes. COVID-19 has only brought these racist attitudes in America (and across the globe) back to light. As the Berkeley News article says, “History is resurfacing again, with China becoming a stronger country and more competitive and a threat to U.S. dominance today, just like Japan was a threat in the second world war.” As China has grown to compete with our economy, people feel resentful towards them. This no longer fits their idea that America is superior in every way. So, people harbor these resentments (that have absolutely nothing to do with Asian-Americans; perhaps, see how Donald Trump has hurt our economy), and feel COVID-19 is an adequate excuse to spew racist rhetoric.

Asians have been confronted with racism for a long time in the United States, often backed by lies, as “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” showed. The title strikes a resemblance to today’s idea of “alternative facts in media,” and with the rise in anti-Asian hatred, a startling idea that history is repeating itself in some ways. While 120,000 Japanese-Americans were incarcerated as a result of Executive Order 9066, the parallels between that time and today’s racist rhetoric is startling. During COVID-19, there have been terribly high numbers of “potential civil rights violations including workplace discrimination, people being barred from establishments or being prevented from using transportation” (CBS). These discriminations have the power to completely ostracize an entire group of people, just as incarcerating so many Japanese-Americans did.

Recently, Asian-Americans have confronted this hate with groups such as “STOP AAPI HATE.” Some such as Haruka Sakaguchi, have turned the inner turmoil caused by racist outbursts towards them into art. At a time in the United States that has also seen unprecedented support for the Black Lives Matter movement, I found it particularly interesting that Sakaguchi said “Cross-racial solidarity has long been woven into the fabric of resistance movements in the U.S.” (Time) Asian Americans standing in solidarity with Black Americans and other communities of color empowers everyone involved.

This is why the allyship of non-Asians is so important. Standing in solidarity with Asians and combating the racist lies is critical in empowering these groups. When someone is in a position of any privilege, they have an obligation to use that privilege to amplify the voices of those who have been silenced. Allies must not make room for this racist behavior in society, and must stop the normalization of it. Many of the incidents we read about in class spoke of how anti-Asian rhetoric has been normalized as a “joke.” This cannot become normal. America must come to an understanding that as awful as this virus has been, berating and assaulting people that have nothing to do with it is never acceptable. People must speak out when they see racist lies being spoken, especially when our own president is speaking them. The idea of anti-racism applies to every race. It is not enough to not be racist yourself, one must be anti racist.

To answer @mellifluously, I think BPS determined Asian-Americans as white because the stereotypical image of an Asian does not portray their skin tone as such a stark contrast to white as other race’s. The fact is, though, Asian-Americans are not afforded the same privileges that white people are, and this categorization is harmful. I think the school committee did not think it was racist. I do not think they would have done so if they knew it was racist, even if just for publicity reasons. Their ignorance, however, is clear. I believe this categorization was racist, but perhaps not one they recognized consciously initially. I wonder, though, if they had spoken to any Asian-Americans about this decision. If they had, were they in agreement with the decision made.

My question for the next student is: do you think the COVID-related racism towards Asian-Americans will inspire new conversations and actions regarding this racism, or do you think the racism will only get worse due to it?

To answer your question, I think that this will largely depend on not only what happens with COVID-19 in the upcoming months, but also how we approach this issue. If we can create conversations and tangible action around this issue, I think it will start to improve, but it will not start getting by itself. It's going to take a movement to fix this kind of deep-rooted issue.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Deep rooted

Over the course of last year Asian Americans have constantly faced discrimination and a lot of prejudice and hate due to the rise of the Corona Virus however the discrimnation faced by Asian Americans is not anything new as it is deep rooted in American history. I don’t think that this is new because I feel like in America Asian Americans history is very overlooked and not talked about enough. In any of my history classes the textbooks from personal experience never describe the actual discrimination and prejudges that Asian Americans have gone through in history and even now. It needs to be made more important as these textbooks and things we are learning about in school need to educate significantly more.

With the rise of the pandemic it just showed how instead of people taking the blame for themselves for whats going on its easier to blame it on a group of people who already are oppressed. It makes people feel more entitled and racism in their eyes more acceptable to Asian Americans as the virus spreaded. The PBS article the artist Lisa Wool Rim Wool-Sjolum created the panels to express the discrimination Asians faced due to the corona virus such as a famous one saying “I am not a virus,” When she uploaded it to instagram it went viral and was getting shares but was crazy was all of the racism that was in the coments. She was getting attacked for posting it and it just showed the true colors of how untalked about and how openly people are racist towards Asians. I think her images were a good way of representing the message across social media that would be affect for kids my age as most are on social media as it had a better effect. As well as non-Asian people speak up against whats going on and be a better ally and educate others including myself because if you don’t you are part of the problem and being on the side of the oppressor. A disgusting fact that was mentioned in the CBS article was that since March 19, 2020 to June over 2,120 hate incidents against Asian Americnas were reported and almost 40% of those were in California. Those were only the ones that were reported too who knows how many even went unreported. A fear of harassment and discimination is very prevalent for Asian Americans in American society. As in the Teen Vogue article it states “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,” wrote a 13-year-old in their survey response.” Asian specific islanders youth were surveyed and the results were “verbal (43%), shunning (26%), online bullying (21%), and physical altercations such as being coughed at, spit upon, or assaulted (10%).” These are only teenagers and younger as well. I, myself had no knowledge about these statistics and how truly common and normalized Asian Americans discrimination is especially in kids that are my age. It is terrifying the reflection of the Executive order 9066 and what is going on currently right now. How it is politicians that ruled out that order. Like how our president started simply saying the “China Virus” sparked so much more open discrimination.

The xenophobia and racism is not talked about enough, a lot of ignorance. To start as allies we must speak out against these issues a lot more and educate ourselves on these issues that have been ignored. When you see discrimination happening actually speak out about it . As well as in our school systems it has to be actually incorporated into our curriculum and taught in our history classes current events and the history.

To answer @Gibby’s question: That is a hard question because I honestly don’t completely know where to start. I think we should speak out on social media but not just resharing a post or picture actually educating people thats beneficial. As well as for just people in your community and in your life to better educate them and to understand what is going on more to start with as well as advocating for change in our US history classes. I feel like our schools should definitely investigate any type of harassment or bullying that occurs online or in person.

What do you think needs to change in our schools in order to educate students on the racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans? What can you as a student do?

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

A Trend of Xenophobia in the US

The Chinese Exclusion Act - an immigration law was put in place that discriminated against a race. Asians were accused of stealing jobs from white people. Asians were seen as a threat to white laborers because they were paid for very little and were very efficient. So, labor laws were then put in place against them. They were restricted to certain areas of cities and forces of works. Americans saw Asians as a ‘dilution’ of American culture. Subjected to violence such as lynching, burning of propety, being beaten. Lots of laws preventing the use of opium to target asians - to throw them in jail. Their 14th amendment right was taken away - no protection of the law.

I think a lot of Asian Americans don’t know about the history of Asian suppression because it’s not taught actively in schools. Personally, I didn’t even know what the Chinese Exclusion act was, even though it was the first law put in place against a certain race in the late 1800s. I MEAN WHAT? I think it’s insane that we go to the best school ranked in Massachusetts, which as a state is ranked number one in the US for education. But I think that’s really telling about our education system when I hadn’t even known about one of the most racist laws put into place in America.

This summer coming into junior year, I read a book called “Looking Like The Enemy” by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald. I picked this book out of a long list of others for my summer homework, quite honestly dreading having to read it. But if I hadn’t read this book, I would have known nothing about the clear racism and xenophobia in our nation. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it back down. The novel is about Mary, the author, and her family, being relocated to a Japanese internment camp, where they faced the worst years of their lives. Their farm was taken away from them, their education, and even their culture. Their ancestry was wiped from their plates, literally. US officials came into their house and made sure that they had no ties to Japan. They had to burn their dolls, books, and erase their traditions to fit in with American society. During this time, Japan had bombed pearl harbor, and there was much distrust and doubt between Americans towards Japanese and Asians. This book reminded me so much of the blatant racism sparked from covid this past year. “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 advocacy groups that compile the data. The incidents include physical attacks, verbal assaults, workplace discrimination and online harassment” - From an article from CBS News. Covid had started in Wuhan, China, so many people took advantage of it to demonstrate their racism. I remember learning last year when the pandemic started up, that many Chinese owned restaurants in Boston were having trouble making money due to lack of customers. In another article, the LA Times, Katherine Lu states that “The coronavirus is an opportunity for them to safely express their racist thoughts in a way that can be excused.” In our history, diseases have always been labeled towards minority groups of people. “For example, one of the earliest names for HIV was “gay-related immune deficiency,” as the LA Times stated.

Racism has always been in our country, but it’s coming into the public view now because people now have ‘reason’ to bring it up.

@yeahhokay: What do you think needs to change in our schools in order to educate students on the racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans? What can you as a student do?

I think schools should focus more on current events, of course mentioning history, but also making people more aware of what’s happening today. A lot of xenophobia gets pushed under the rug in todays times, so it’s super important to be actively discussing it in history classes and others as well. As a student I can be spreading knowledge to those who may not understand a concept.

My question is have you personally ever experienced xenophobia or seen it happen to somebody else? What was your reaction?

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Discrimination against Asian-Americans

Throughout the history of the United States, Asian Americans have faced discrimination over and over again. From Chinese immigrants being blamed for taking American jobs, to Japanese Americans being locked up and stripped of their freedom by the US government during WWII for no reason, to even now with Asian Americans being blamed for the spread of the virus. A major problem though is that it is rarely talked about in school if at all. If it is talked about at school, most teachers would just briefly go over it and never talk about it again like it wasn’t important which is not true. The only way to stop the rise of discrimination against Asian Americans is to educate everyone about the long history of it at a young age. I believe this is the only way we’ll see history stop repeating itself. When the virus started spreading around the world, many avoided and blamed people of Asian descent for it. According to the article from Berkley, it is because of the original history of xenophobia and racism in America during the 19th and 20th centuries which is coming back due to China become dominant and more of a threat to U.S’s dominance over the world. History is repeating itself again, and in this case, it means that we haven’t learned from the past. In the Los Angeles Times video, even the FBI is taking notice of the increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans due to the pandemic. I personally have only experienced mild forms of racism due to my race but to think that people are being violently attacked for something they didn’t cause and don’t have control over is really astonishing. In the CBS article, it mentions that over 2,100 hate incidents against Asian Americans have been reported relating to the pandemic. It also mentioned how President Trump referring to the virus as the “Chinese Virus” and “Kung-flu” correlate to some of these incidents of racism. As a leader of a country, you hold a lot of power and can influence a lot of people. I believe with the president calling the virus these names, he is directly contributing to these hate crimes and it seems like he doesn’t care and thinks it’s ok. If we want to stop these incidents from happening, I think we all need to stand up and play a role to make these changes in our country. If we don’t do anything we are basically fine with this repeating again in the future and that it’s ok that these things are happening right now.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

The way I see it, much of the anti-Asian sentiment in America has been alive since long before I had been born. Hate has for a long time been the default in America, and I suppose that's partially the reason nobody is surprised or shocked by Anti-Asian sentiment, today or in the past. As Felix Sitthivong recognizes in his article, Asian-American families are needing to have serious discussions of racism these days, just as African-Americans have had to do for several generations. (Coronavirus Has Sparked Another Epidemic in My Prison: Anti-Asian Racism) The only difference is that anti-Asian racism has not been needed to be recognized until now, where we see how it has flared up worldwide due to the pandemic, as highlighted in Human Rights Watch's report on worldwide xenophobia. This flaring up of racism is reminiscent of events in American history, such as the Chinese exclusion act or the Lynching of Vincent Chin. In each and every one of these cases of rising anti-Asian sentiment, it's due to people feeling disenfranchised or victimized and deciding to take their anger out on and blame Asian people they see. With the Chinese Exclusion Act, American miners felt as though the drying up of gold mines was somehow the fault of Chinese people, and the public belief became that Chinese immigrants were stealing jobs. It's a similar story with the rise of Japanese automakers in the US, resulting in layoffs that Detroit factory workers blamed on the Japanese, resulting in racial violence such as the case of Vincent Chin. Recent Anti-Asian discrimination and violence is no different, and since the virus is affecting the world on a global scale, we are regrettably seeing people in other countries such as Brazil, the UK, and Italy have similar reactions, as reported by the HRW. (Covid 19 fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide) Even in connection to Executive Order 9066, we see how the US government has a strikingly parallel reaction, as a result of WWII.

Most of these ideas and beliefs stem from the antiquated idea of the "Yellow Terror", which was a racist belief that East Asians somehow threatened the existence of Western culture. This attitude has historically been used as the reasoning behind invasions and colonialism, but it's not something that many Asian-Americans encounter these days. These attitudes are ever-present in our society, but they only ever bubble up in large-scale events such as the pandemic. The 2,120 hate incidents reported by CBS are just evidence of that fact. (2,120 hate incidents against Asian Americans reported during coronavirus pandemic) The fact that many people's social lives have been shifted towards the anonymized internet has only exacerbated these issues, and the statistics reported by Teen Vogue show that this type of bullying is becoming especially prevalent among Asian-American youths as well. (Anti-Asian Hate Has Surged During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Reports Find)

From the perspective of an Asian-American, My best solution for non-Asian allyship is for people to examine and look at their own personal attitudes towards Asian people, and to recognize how their personal beliefs and biases can bring rise to anti-Asian sentiments, even within oneself. My one point of disagreement with some of my classmates is that Non-Asians have some sort of obligation or duty to use their privilege to speak out on the behalf of Asians, or to voice their opinions online. I don't think that these strategies are necessarily always helpful, and I think that a more effective alternative for Asians and non-Asians alike is to examine the personal role we play in allowing for such sentiment to flare up.

To respond to @therapeuticsoup's question, "Have you personally ever experienced xenophobia or seen it happen to somebody else? What was your reaction?"
Several times throughout my life. Earlier in my life, when my family was living in a more rural area of Massachusetts, people would make fun of my parents for their accents, due to them being foreign-born immigrants. As for myself, I went to a predominantly white private school, and other kids would sometimes tease me for how I looked or the food I brought to school. In both cases, I was usually too young to truly understand the underlying reasoning and biases behind what people said, and I would end up taking it upon myself to try and improve my English or bring "normal" food to school.

My question for the next student is:
How do you think YOU contribute or perpetuate negative attitudes or stereotypes about Asian-Americans, even if it's just something tiny or inconsequential?

P.S. -
I was unable to find space to fit it in, but I think it's also worth considering how the myth of the model minority could be one of the contributing factors to how Asian-Americans are sometimes classified under "White". I also lament the fact that I couldn't find a good place to make a pun regarding The Manchurian Candidate, in reference to how anti-Asian sentiment seemingly lies dormant until times of adversity, along with the fact that much of recent anti-Asian rhetoric involves the idea that America is somehow being influenced by or becoming the PRC.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

Anti-Asian Sentiment

Asians have typically been regarded as a "model minority," who are supposedly more successful and well-off than other immigrants. In reality, however, this is just a giant inaccurate myth that seems to aim to make other races look bad and to downplay the harmful effects of racism. And by propagating such a thing, we willfully ignore the centuries-worth of racism that have been directed towards Asians and Asian-Americans.

As the Berkeley article stated, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first immigration law that excluded an entire ethnic group, yet I have found that its significance—and even its actual existence—is often swept under the rug during history classes. And as we saw in the film, at the same time that the US was proclaiming themselves the liberators of Nazi concentration camps and fighters for freedom/democracy, many Americans were perfectly willing to allow thousands of Japanese and Japanese-Americans (many of whom had been in the US for decades) to be forcibly locked up in internment camps.

It is horrifying. And disgusting. And not-at-all well-known. It is only now, with the COVID-19 pandemic that anti-Asian racism has been coming to the forefront. Like Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom says, Asians have transformed from being invisible to hyper-visible, but as a virus or as a carrier of the virus. COVID-19 could have come from anywhere; it was mere chance that it started in Wuhan. Yet Asians of all nationalities and ethnicities are now being targeted for something that they had absolutely nothing to do with, and their customs—such as mask-wearing—being mocked or even feared.

I remember that a few months back, the Boston Globe posted a map of all the Anti-Asian incidents that have occurred in the Boston area alone. There were dozens of dots, and I remember being afraid to go outside, not only because of the virus, but also because of the worry that I will be targeted. And as I have read in the article "Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide," Anti-Asian sentiment is becoming extremely prevalent all over the world, with countless people attacked in the UK, Australia, the Middle East, and even in Asia itself (mainly against the minorities as scapegoats).

Still, it is encouraging that many Asians and Asian-Americans are speaking out against all this hate. The Time article chronicles the stories of ten such people, and I applaud them for having the courage to make their voices heard. I think that too often, we have remained silent, preferring to think that these incidents are simply one-offs, but really, the true path to widespread change is to speak out. And I think that it is vital for non-Asians to be allies and call for change as well. Frederick Douglass advocated for Chinese immigration, as the Time article notes. People today need to do the same thing as well. Make this issue known and heard. Stop the normalization of micro-aggressions and racist remarks—"Kung Flu," "Chinese Virus," etc. Be an upstander if you see an Anti-Asian incident occurring. I do not think that this could be solved in a day, or even several years. But eventually…well, I have hope.

To answer @TroutCowboy, I think the main way I contribute/perpetuate negative attitudes or stereotypes about Asian-Americans is by not taking the time to speak up about it. Being Asian, I obviously know about this issue and have even done a bit of research about it, but I have not really talked about it with anyone, nor tried to stop it in any shape or form, no matter how small.

And my question for the next student is: Do you think that the next US administration will do anything about this Anti-Asian sentiment? Or do you think the status-quo will essentially be preserved?

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Xenophobia and hate crimes becoming exponential

The answer is simple, humans always want to blame someone, something, or some group for anything negative that happens. Take for example, when 9/11 happened, it was the muslims who received an increase in hate crimes against them, and now there’s a disgusting social stigma that every muslim might be a terrorist. In more recent history, it’s currently the entirety of the Asian community being blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic. With all due respect if you sincerely think you should blame an entire race for a virus, you’re a fool, let me explain. If you seriously think to blame a race for a virus that started in China, and that we should blame every single Asian American and commit hate crimes against them, what will you do against the people who stormed the US capitol, people who literally are classified as domestic terrorists. Remember these are the same people who have the same mentality as their president, they won the race and they'll do anything to make sure of it. The same president who un-jokingly calls it the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus” or saying “It came from China”. Being the president of the United States, and having half the country backing him, when he bashes China and the Asian race, half of the country and sadly maybe more will follow that sentiment: hate the Asians they caused this horrible pandemic. It gets you thinking what Trump would look like in the media if the virus originated here in America, “the American Virus”, “the Trump virus”, and let me say that man wouldn’t enjoy being bashed on the media like he is doing to the Asian community. This is not the first time America has discriminated against Asians either. A Berkeley News article brings up a federal law passed in 2018 that restricted Chinese students and scholars immigration to America, and guess who was in office for that law. Other times there were the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers, and Executive order 9066 which authorized the secretary of war to prescribe certain areas as military zones, clearing the way for the incarceration of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans in U.S. concentration camps. The thing about it though was that there were a lot more Asian descents interned. In a teenvogue and cbs news article, Stop AAPI hate, reported that there were about 2,000+ reported hate crimes between March and the middle of the summer. They also reported that it was usually the youth committing these hate crimes. A human rights article displays a picture of one of these hate crimes, a man is helping a store owner fix his shop after it’s vandalized by a group of teens in San Francisco’s Chinatown. BPS is kind of racist in a way for categorizing Asians as white is kind of racist because in other instances they’re considered POC. For non asians to become allies, everyone must become educated on xenophobia, the past and current.

Posts: 14

we have to talk...

As an Asian-American, I can say that I’m lucky to have never been in a situation where racism and discrimmination had put my safety in question. It has just been some thoughtless remarks for the most part. In The Marshall Project article, Felix Sitthivong hoped someone would speak out for him, and when no one did, he stood up. There was an incident, in 5th grade, where there was another student who stretched the corners of their eyes, like with the fox-eye trend that took place in 2020, and said “ching chong makahiya” to me. I didn’t take the incident to heart and just ignored it, but looking back, I should have told them it was wrong and thoughtless on their part.

In “’I am not a Virus’: How This Artist is Illustrating Coronavirus-Fueled Racism,” by Stephanie Garcia, Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom mentions how one of the reasons her family moved from Sweden didn’t have enough representation of Asians, and any would be negative. They ended up moving to Auckland, which still had issues, but there was a larger Asian population, so her kids would blend in better. Most Asians prefer not to stick out and instead be part of a ‘mass’, yet the spotlight is suddenly thrown onto Asians due to Covid.

In general, discrimination and racism directed at asians don’t gather as much attention compared to if the black or Hispanic communities were facing similar. Students for the most part aren’t taught too much about the Asian American discrimination history unless you take a class like Facing History. When faced with a crisis, it is easy to put the blame on a group who won’t cause too much of a fuss. Hitler blamed the situation the Germans were in after WW1 on the Jews, and the other Germans went with it. During the pandemic, asians were pushed out to be the scapegoat, and xenophobia and discrimination was a clear effect. The article “Covid 19 fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide,” mentions that: “NextShark, a website focused on Asian-American news, only received a few messages per day before the pandemic about cases involving anti-Asian bias; now it receives dozens.” One story, in “’I Will Not Stand Silent.’ 10 Asian-Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality”, was Abraham Choi’s. A stranger, during a pandemic, coughed and spit on Choi, and when he reported to a police officer, 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,’...Choi later anonymously recounted the story on Reddit, but he was hesitant to come forward in fear that his family might become the target of future attacks.”

The best way to be an ally is to call people out when they are saying or doing something that is discriminatory/racist and to call attention to an issue when it does happen. Another way is to educate themselves on the history of discrimination and reflect upon their own actions.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Decades of Discrimination

When we first started hearing about the corona virus in Wuhan, China, I don't think that a lot of people took it seriously. It wasn't until the first case was discovered here in the U.S. that people really started to be afraid. I know that there's this saying that, when people are really afraid, they'll act on that fear with aggression. That's often just an excuse and I don't think that it's justifiable in this situation. It's also something that I really can't wrap my mind around. A disease is a disease and, like the reporter from CBS News, it doesn't discriminate. People discriminate and they continue to do so. How can you just turn on someone- classmates, neighbors, members of the community- so quickly? It just goes to show the deep-rooted hatred and discrimination that exists here in the U.S.

At the same time, it's not as if any of this is anything new. As quoted by rapper John Lee in the LA Times video, "Paranoia and ignorance is a dangerous combination" and I think that a lot of what we have been saying is a result of this. There have been over 2000 claims and reports of harassment towards Asian Americans related to the corona virus. A two year old boy and his family, Burmese refugees, were attacked in their own home. 2 years old. There is no excuse for this level of hatred. It's just another instance of there being a problem and using minorities as a scapegoat. The article from the Human Rights Watch reminds me of the documentary I watched earlier this week about Executive Order 9066. Just as with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, certain government officials and political figures are purposefully stoking the flames of hostility, hoping to take advantage of the situation to push their own agendas.

For me, there weren't a lot of instances in which I was presented with this information. I heard a little here and there about how acts of discrimination against Asian Americans were on the rise amid the pandemic. I saw none of the videos in these articles, heard none of the stories I've read just now, and it's shocking. For something so big and rampant in this country right now, it's surprising that I haven't seen anything about it. I think that there should be more done to ensure that this issue is brought to light and brought to the forefront. Social media is always a good place to start as information can reach many people. My question, then, is this: What can schools do to ensure that students are informed and educated on this present issue?

withered wojak
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 16

Anti-Asian Discrimination isn't new

Anti-Asian discrimination has been around for a while. I am not well-versed enough in history to point out when it started (in either the US or globally). My guess would be that it probably began ever since people started to immigrate from Asia. As for why they're all called "Asians" rather than by country, my guess would probably be because it stems from how African Americans are treated. Since many African Americans did not know what country they were stolen from, they were just called African American. My guess is that it is the same with Asian Americans. This is further supported by an anecdote, I usually hear European people say which country they're from. It could also be because of "muh melting pot", but that seems unrealistic. While I cannot say when the hate began, I can certainly say why it's getting more attention now. I support the idea from the Berkeley News, where they said that:

"History is resurfacing again, with China becoming a stronger country and more competitive and a threat to U.S. dominance today, just like Japan was a threat in the second world war".

Another idea I saw in the Teen Vogue article was the idea that this entire thing, fueled by the rhetoric of Trump, is a shifting of the idea of the model minority. The model minority myth started back in World War Two when it was used to separate Japanese and Chinese Americans, but it has shifted to encompass all Asian Americans. It had always been used to reinforce the bootstraps mentality and discriminate against Non-Asian immigrants or POC. It's another tactic of creating in-groups and out-groups. This could be a shifting of it so that it no longer includes Chinese Americans. I believe this is supported by the swarms of ads that businesses have put out (according to Teen Vogue) and depict Chinese people as being "violent, disease-ridden savages".

I do not know why so few people know of, or acknowledge discrimination against Asian Americans, but I have some ideas. There are two possibilities I want to touch on: ignorance and rationalization. The simpler one is ignorance. Simply being ignorant of it, which I'm sure the majority of Americans are, is usually fueled by myths like the Model Minority. The Model Minority myth portrays as a polite, law-abiding group who have achieved a higher level of success than the general population through some combination of innate talent and pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps immigrant striving. If that's your general perception of Asian Americans then you'll be more likely to ignore it when they say they're discriminated against. The second kind is much worse: rationalization. Rationalization is something that really is bad. I am not sure how to explain it, but the best example comes from the Time article and Human right article where people are incredibly bigoted but rationalize it because "well you caused the disease". This happened with the Germans and the 1918 flu, Haitians and HIV, and Mexicans with the swine flu.

In response to gibby: As for tangible things, I can only think of is intervening when you see stuff like that. The other possible solution is to simply to try and reverse whatever brainwashing these people have.

My question: Do you think that Asian people are considered POC, and does this factor into their treatment in society?

Posts: 21

Late to the party but let's talk about Asian Americans!

As we’ve seen in class, there is an extended history of anti-Asian racism that’s scarcely covered except in Asian American history classes. Anti-Asian xenophobia is, as Ivan Natividad mentions in his article “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies”, the result of the “perceived threats they [Asians] pose to America’s dominance domestically and abroad”. The rise of China’s global influence and the consequential fall of America’s global influence in the face of the pandemic has aggravated this situation. “‘It’s an assumption that the West, particularly Anglo-American Christians, should dominate the world” (Powell).

In Covid times there’s been an uprising of media reactions to othering. The increased rates of hate-crimes and racial hostility are reported on news sites and social media alike. Some use infographics and comic strips, like Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, who explained her process to PBS and her goal to encourage more empathy through art. I personally enjoyed TIME’s photo project with reflections from 10 Asian Americans, however, as it’s more nuanced. The interviewees’ acknowledgments that the Black Lives Matter movement is direr at the present is important and, quite honestly, a pleasant surprise. I believe that, too often, Asian American activism is boiled down to confronting microaggressions and the stereotypical liberal identity politics’ reactions. While microaggressions are not to be ignored, I am glad that, in a sense, the Black Lives Matter movement has reminded us that we are still in a huge position of privilege and that while we are struggling, it is of a far lesser scale than that of Black Americans.

Executive Order 9066 falls perfectly into what we’ve seen thus far. Asians, perceived as an outer threat to America’s existence, are ostracized socially and then physically in an effort to appease the masses. It is unique in that it extended to physical internment, but otherwise, I think that it was an almost inevitable occurrence in the face of Asian Americans’ role in this country. Teen Vogue’s article outlines the history of this sentiment (the perceived “yellow peril”) and features what I believe is a key factor to lessening anti-Asian xenophobia, ethnic studies. Asian American history classes and Asian studies are taught widely in universities but scarcely (if ever) in high schools.

I personally believe the most important step in allyship is dismantling biases and thinking critically about news reporting on global Asian issues. There are many misconceptions about Asian culture with most further alienating us to white Americans; the most prevalent is the assumption that traditionalism=conservatism in Asian culture. As for global news issues, doing your own research is absolutely essential. Prime among these are the misperceptions about China and North Korea, which trickle down into assumptions about and hostility toward diaspora.

To answer withered wojak’s question “Do you think that Asian people are considered POC, and does this factor into their treatment in society?”: Asian people are considered POC and this is used to other them in American society. However, East Asians, especially middle-class recent immigrants with some degree of higher education, are considered to be in close proximity to white Americans and consequently, there is a huge degree of privilege and white acceptance that Southeast Asians, Black people, indigenous people, and other POC don’t have.

Because this post came so late (my sincerest apologies) I suppose my question is for Ms. Freeman: should there be a national/institutional discussion on anti-Asian xenophobia or is this an issue that should be addressed more on an individual level and why?

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Anti-Asian Racism is Normalized, Not Just in the United States, But Worldwide

Racism against Asian people has become so normalized in this country and everywhere else in the world, if someone makes a racist joke against Black people, they will usually get called out about it. But if it’s against Asian or Jewish people or other minority groups it usually gets pushed off like it's nothing. When I was younger there were a group of students who would pull their eyes back and pretend to speak “Chinese”, no one said anything about it. And now today, with the coronavirus, after Trump started to call it the Chinese virus a whole new wave of racism began.

One article that stood out to me with how easily racism against Asians can fly under the radar was the Marshall Project article about how coronavirus has created the pandemic of racism in one inmate’s prison. After watching Trump and another white house official refer to covid as the “china virus” or the “kung flu”, Felix Sitthivong said he was shocked how much the comments affected him and that he usually has thicker skin. These types of comments are clearly not new for him, but this time it was coming from the President of the United States. Also after the white prisoner used a racial slur, no one said a thing, no one thought it was worth standing up to.

The anti-Asian racism which increased significantly since the coronavirus outbreak has not just been limited to anonymous strangers passing on the street, but we’ve seen it from world leaders all around the globe, many examples of this are included in Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide. An Italian governor claimed that the reason Italy would be able to deal with the virus better than the Chinese had was “due to Italians’ ‘culturally strong attention to hygiene, washing hands, taking showers, whereas we have all seen the Chinese eating mice alive.’” Brazil’s EDUCATION minister claimed in a very Trump-esque tweet that “the pandemic was part of the Chinese government’s ‘plan for world domination.’” Every single continent has instances of blatant racism against Chinese people, or Asian people in general, because of some half-baked conspiracy theory that they singlehandedly spread the coronavirus pandemic, or that every single Chinese person somehow has coronavirus, like some kind of regional genetic code. It’s rather ironic how often (at least in America) these people screaming slurs and obscenities at every Asian person they see on the street and blame them for the pandemic seem to have misplaced or don’t understand how to wear their masks!

To me, it’s clear that the root of all this racism lies in ignorance. The American public high school curriculum is notorious for being extremely whitewashed, with white Americans portrayed as “heroes” and the only way a student can learn about the history of other countries and other peoples is if they take a special elective which: one, might not even be offered at their school, or two, might be whitewashed as well, slapping a pretty filter over a gruesome tragedy that was our fault. We are lucky enough to go to a school that offers such classes as Facing History and Ourselves, in which we aren’t given a sugarcoated version of events, but are shown the true horrors in an attempt to end any chance of history repeating itself. However, there is always room for improvement, as the classes we do provide are electives. I thought the TeenVouge article addressed this well, and the plan that Stop AAPI Hate proposed, urging “schools to implement ethnic studies throughout the curriculum so students can learn the historical roots and impacts of racism, develop agency and empathy, and commit to racial solidarity and justice,” was a great idea and I hope it can become a reality. Another point made in that article was the experience of a 13 year old Asian youth, “society has normalized it so much that when we try to speak up about it, people still try and joke around about it,” I see this happening every day on social media, especially TikTok, due to the added animosity, with young boys who have fallen victim to the alt-right pipeline brushing off racist jokes as “dark humor”, calling people snowflakes for standing up to them. Dark humor is when someone going through a hard time makes jokes about their own personal experiences as a way to cope, not when some 12 year old who thinks he’s the second coming of Robert E. Lee calls minorities slurs.

I believe that the only way to end this racism is to educate people on these issues, ignoring it won’t fix it. In the PBS article, ‘I Am Not A Virus,’ Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom explains why she chose to move her family out of Sweden, saying that since the country is a colorblind society by law, discussions about race can’t really happen, and the scant Asian representation is stereotypical or “yellow humor” meant to mock rather than include, resulting in internalized racism and a forcing to laugh along with offensive jokes. Speaking more on why she felt she had to leave, Sjöblom said, “in general, in Europe, the extreme right-wing movements are just growing. It just feels like the climate has become a lot worse to be a person of color.” All over the world there are still racist people in positions of power, and they will always have people to support them unless we open the floor to discussions on race in which POC are given a platform to explain why the microaggressions they experience are offensive and that the racist jokes aren’t funny.
Boston , MA, US
Posts: 16


Racism towards Asians has definitely increased this past year since the start of the pandemic. Along with this, Asian owned businesses were heavily affected and many people were fearful of what racists were capable of doing in public. This shows the lack of progress that the U.S had made and how so many issues are still prominent. I think one of the sources fueling this is how quickly fake news and false information gets spread especially on social media. If people were more educated there would be less racism spread. Talking about issues plants a seed of awareness in people and this does not mean we need to be more comfortable talking about racism because we don’t we just need to spread more knowledge.

How do you think the Coronavirus will be portrayed in future history books?

Boston, US
Posts: 205 a nutshell...

Originally posted by graphicmango on January 17, 2021 13:55

Because this post came so late (my sincerest apologies) I suppose my question is for Ms. Freeman: should there be a national/institutional discussion on anti-Asian xenophobia or is this an issue that should be addressed more on an individual level and why?

Yes. I think so. I think it's long overdue.

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