posts 1 - 15 of 16
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 257


Readings and Streamings:

Note: It’s important that you read and/or watch at least SIX (6) of the 12 items listed below AND clearly reference them in your post. I would especially urge you to include within your choices #3 from Human Rights Watch (HRW) for a global perspective on this topic:


Reading options:

  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. 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

  1. Liz Mineo, “The scapegoating of Asian Americans,” Harvard Gazette, March 24, 2021. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/03/a-long-history-of-bigotry-against-asian-americans/

  1. Michael Eric Dyson, “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history,” Washington Post, March 26, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/asian-black-atlanta-history/2021/03/26/9f10a9ac-8d98-11eb-9423-04079921c915_story.html

  1. Jay Caspian King, “The Myth of Asian-American Identity,” The New York Times Magazine, October 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/05/magazine/asian-american-identity.html

  1. Sakshi Venkatraman, “Asian hate crimes rose 73% last year, updated FBI data says,” NBC News, October 25, 2021.https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/anti-asian-hate-crimes-rose-73-last-year-updated-fbi-data-says-rcna3741

Streaming options:

  1. Video from the Los Angeles Times: Epidemic of Hate: Asian Xenophobia and Coronavirus, February 3, 2020 [7:55] https://youtu.be/7nlenypkMww [7:55] 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. 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/

__________________________________________________________________________

The former President repeatedly referred 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 COVID 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.


President Biden signed S.937, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), in May 2021. At the signing ceremony, Biden spoke eloquently of the “why” behind the legislation:


“We heard how too many Asian Americans have been waking up each morning this past year genuinely — genuinely — fearing for their safety just opening the door and walking down the street, and safety for their loved ones. The moms and dads who, when they let their kids out the door to go to school, were worried.

Attacked, blamed, scapegoated, harassed during this pandemic. Living in fear for their lives, as I said, just walking down street.

Grandparents afraid to leave their homes even to get vaccinated, for fear of being attacked.

Small business owners targeted and gunned down.

Students worried about two things: COVID-19 and being bullied.

Documented incidents of hate against Asian Americans have seen a shocking spike — as the Vice President has outlined at the front of her comments. Let alone — let alone the ones that have never been reported.

Gut-wrenching attacks on some of the most vulnerable people in our nation — the elderly, low-wage workers, women — brutally attacked simply by walking outside or waiting for a bus. Asian American women suffer twice as many incidents of harassment and violence as Asian American men.

And the conversation we had in Atlanta is one we’re hearing all across the country, that all of this hate hides in plain sight — it hides in plain sight — and too often, it is met with silence: silence by the media, silence by our politics, and silence by our history.

For centuries, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders — diverse and vibrant communities — have helped build this nation only to be often stepped over, forgotten, or ignored. You know, lived here for generations, but still considered, by some, the “other” — the “other.” It’s wrong. It’s simply — to use the phrase — it’s simply un-American.

My message to all of those of you who are hurting is: We see you. And the Congress has said: We see you. And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias.”


The Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) population in the United States, according to the US Census (as of 2020), is believed to number approximately 20 million people, roughly 7.7% of the total population in the nation. It constitutes the fastest growing population in the United States. 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 and Pacific Islanders—witness Valerie Soh’s keenly observed short All Orientals Look the Same [pointedly using the pejorative term, “Orientals”] so they lump AAPI all together. Not unlike the Native American voices we heard who wish that we would identify Native peoples by their tribes and not label them all “native” or “indigenous,” many Asians/Pacific Islanders too wish people would acknowledge their specific places of origin, their differing circumstances, cultures, and histories, and not simply assume that “sameness.”


We know that Asians/Pacific Islanders have been the target of dismissive language; think of the episode last fall when then Boston School Committee chair, Michael Loconto, was caught on tape (in fall 2020) mocking Asian names. And they have been the target of growing violence—think most especially of the killings of Asian women at spas in Atlanta in spring 2021.


So why the hate? 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.


How have Asians/Pacific Islanders—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. And what should non-Asians do today to be allies in response to what these articles 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!).


Yiddeon
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 8

Hate Crimes in the Era of COVID

As the question says this hate is not new. It is deeply rooted in this country. The earliest immigration laws were made due to anti-Asian sentiments. So this hate is nothing new but why are we seeing such a sharp rise in hate crimes now. We saw on the map how the majority of places in the United States are experiencing over double the amount of hate crimes after the start of the pandemic and this is due to more dehuminizing and demonizing. Leaders of the country naming the virus the China, Wuhan, or Asia virus. Retoric being spread that Asian people are disease ridden. Effectivly comparing them to animals. This is a real problem and it has never gotten the traction that it deserves to. This is largely due to the damaging idea of the model minority. It distracts from the real problems of white supremacy and disguises the huge range of lives that people in the AAIP community live. It contains the largest range between incomes with some the richest of the rich and others below the poverty line.

We have explored messaging boards where Asian Americans that have experienced hate crimes can get their thoughts out and explain how they have been targeted. It allows them to communicate with people that are similar to them and it allows them to be heard which is something that is not happening. Whenever these things happen there seems to be no repercussions. When people report to the police nothing happens and like all of the problems that we learn about in this class people remain as bystanders and for whatever reason they don’t do the right thing. People in power have the responsibility to change the systemic white supremacy. It is not possible to right every wrong that had been commited but they need to take responsibility for those actions and not be bystanders when they inevitably happen again in the future.


Question

Is it inevitable that people in positions of power will use that power to gain social superiority?

dollarcoffee
Boston, MA
Posts: 15

There are around 24 million Asian-Americans in the United States, roughly 5.7% of the population. Despite being a group who has been present in American history for centuries, and greatly contributed to multiple aspects of the United States, Asian Americans have experienced years of hate and discrimination because of their race, from the personal level to the governmental one. This hate has gone back decades and decades, one example being the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. It prevented Chinese workers from coming to the US and gave public officials leeway to detain these workers, and was the first immigration law to target a whole ethnic group. According to an article by Berkeley News, the United States used this to represent Asian Americans as “diseased carriers of incurable afflictions, like smallpox and bubonic plague.” Although this was almost 200 years ago, this false link between immigration and increase in disease has continued till today in the United States. This is one of the many things that has contributed to a rise in Anti-AAPI hate in the past two years.

I think there are multiple reasons many are unaware of the history of Anti-Asian discrimination in the United States. The first being the “model minority” myth which not only stereotypes Asian Americans and ignores wealth inequality in the Asian American community, but also “makes Asian American achievement a metric — or cudgel — by which to assess, or criticize, Black and Latino progress” (Washington Post, Michael Eric Dyson) which pits Asian Americans against other minority groups in the US and minimizes a vast, diverse group to a stereotype. This is something Anna Purna Kambhampaty sums up in her article for Time Magazine with this sentence: “individuality is a luxury afforded to a privileged class.” Although this sentence was short, I felt as though it summed up a lot of the experiences in the articles I read, particularly the one by Jay Caspian King. He talks a lot about his parent’s beautiful house in Puget Sound and their ties to the community, but then says that much of that changed during the pandemic when people in their close knit neighborhood began to avoid them at grocery stores, or when his mom was let go from work. Despite his parents being their own individuals and being known by the people around them, they were still “othered” during the pandemic.

There are many ways Asian-Americans have confronted this “othering,” and one impactful way was through art. The article in Time magazine showed an art collection by Haruka Sakaguchi, where she took pictures of people who had been harassed or hurt for being Asian-American, and put it over the site where they were accosted. This is important because “othering” also comes with people forgetting that the “others” are individuals, and her impactful art piece emphasized them as individuals. Another important way Asian Americans have confronted this “othering” is through documenting it, so it can be confronted, and not be forgotten. One way some people did this is by creating a center called STOP AAPI HATE which collects data on hate crimes against Asian Americans, but many other people document it through social media. AAPI’s data is significant because many federal and local agencies don’t collect data on Asian-American specific hate crimes, or don’t report hate crimes at all. In the article on the rise of Anti-AAPI hate crimes from NBC News, Sim J. Singh tells them “FBI hate crime data represents the tip of the iceberg and understates the magnitude of hate crime in America.” This is true, and the only way this can change is through accurate reporting.

As an ally to the AAPI community, one should acknowledge hate in their community, and try to intervene when they see an incident that was chronicled above. Another thing one can do was mentioned in Teen Vogue as something Stop AAPI Hate recommended, which is anti bias training for educators, school-wide anti bullying policies, and ethnic studies throughout a curriculum.

In response to the question “Is it inevitable that people in positions of power will use that power to gain social superiority?” I don’t believe that is true in a literal sense, as in President Obama wouldn’t use his status to gain social superiority, but I also do think that a lot of people who have gotten to certain levels of power have only gotten there due to social status, whether it be money or connections.

My question for the next person is: Can you think of other times during history where other groups have lost their “individuality” due to being othered? How did it affect those groups and their treatment?

no-one
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Many stories and pieces describe this issue as “Asian American hate” (obviously, referring to hatred for Asian Americans, not hatred they themselves express). Unlike much of the Black community in the United States, Asian Americans are generally identifiable with specific foreign nations as either their countries of origin or cultural backgrounds. Many people do not bother to figure out the specifics of this connection and lump Asians together under a country that is politically or culturally relevant at the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed China, already seen as the largest enemy of the United States by a great many Americans, into this position. Due to its power, size and influence, China has historically been the most recognized and most despised Asian country (as seen in the countless hateful political cartoons that we examined in class). Chinese and non-Chinese Asian Americans alike are identified with this pandemic and scapegoated for it.

Liz Mineo’s article in the Harvard Gazette describes this scapegoating and places it into historical perspective, providing many examples in the past of a similar phenomenon, for example, of Japanese Americans during World War II. Trump’s racist rhetoric in referring to the Pandemic as the “China virus” or “Kung Flu” goes hand in hand with his anti-China foreign policy: Asian Americans are seen as local representatives of a looming global threat, and as such are targeted for harassment and violence.

Rej Joo, a Korean-American man, recounts in the Time Magazine spotlight on anti-Asian racism being told “‘I was gonna see if you were Chinese. I was gonna put on my mask if you were Chinese,’” by a Latino man. While obviously prejudiced, this incident is strange for a number of reasons. The man, having seen Joo’s face, asked if he was Chinese, suggesting that the man’s prejudice is toward specifically Chinese people and that he recognizes the existence of a distinction between different Asian American groups. Most of the incidents described in the spotlight involve Asian Americans of many different cultures being attacked for being Chinese.


Michael Eric Dyson, in his Washington Post article “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?”, seeks to illustrate and uncover the contributions of Asian Americans to the national narrative throughout the United States’s history. One reason he provides for this history being obscured, ignored, or marginalized is the existence of many different Asian American groups with their own histories, experiences and cultural contributions.

In his New York Times magazine article, Jay Caspian Kang attacks the very idea of an “Asian American” identity in Dyson’s article as one generally espoused by Asian upper-middle-class professionals looking to assimilate into American society. He suggests (though he need not be taken at his word) that “...Blackness is intractable and Asianness evolves with each generation.” In Kang’s view, the Asian American story is an impossible one to tell, because the players are not linear generations, as with Black descendants of enslaved people, but immigrants and the children of immigrants who are constantly arriving to the country. Whether or not there can exist a trans-cultural “Asian” (which almost always is used to refer exclusively to East and Southeast Asians) consciousness is up to debate by those who have personally experienced it. Nonetheless, Kang’s insights show that our discussions on this topic must be intersectional: covering issues of class, gender, religion, and nationality as well as race.


Another point that Dyson raises is the model minority myth that seeks to pit Asian Americans against the Black and Latino communities in America and treats Asian American history as something not to be celebrated for its own sake but as a weapon to be used against other minority groups.

The “Asian American” story is always a dual one: of both backhanded, double-edged praise and outright, vitriolic hatred, of global allies and global enemies, of representation either as a fetishized and exoticized character or a repellent or pitied victim. Thus it is that Korean and Japanese cultural products find success like never before in the United States and the Chinese identity is violently attacked at the exact same time.


The story outside of the U.S. is similar in some ways and different in others. Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom felt worried as an Asian person living in Sweden, both because of the growing right-wing movements in Sweden and Europe as a whole and the lack of representation of Asian people or any sort of discussion around race and racism in the country. In Sweden as well, Sjöblom saw racism connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and associating her and other Asian people with it.

An even more global perspective is provided by the Human Rights Watch article, showing that anti-Asian or anti-Chinese hate related to the pandemic (and in general) is not an exclusively American sentiment but is flaring up across nearly every continent. This may certainly be exacerbated by American cultural influence, but it’s important not to always put ourselves as the center of the world and acknowledge that we are one part in an immensely complex world. Interestingly, while not always applied to Chinese people, this hatred still seems to manifest itself in attacks on representatives of a larger “enemy”: for example, in India there have been many attacks against Muslims relating to the pandemic, and they may be seen as emissaries of a Pakistani or even a transnational Islamic superstructure that poses an existential threat to Hindu India.

We live in a world that is not unique in its manifestations of hatred, but that is unique in the ability of individuals to combat this hatred. Massive communication networks allow us to have our voices heard across nations and continents and to effect change on untold levels. Even as non-Asian people who do not actively face this discrimination, we have the ability to take part in a global movement combatting it and by acknowledging and discussing the complex nuances in an immensely large and diverse group of people we are able to better understand the world we live in and how we may improve it.

To respond to the question posed: “Can you think of other times during history where other groups have lost their “individuality” due to being othered? How did it affect those groups and their treatment?” I think the best/most similar example of this is of Middle Easterners and Muslims in general after 9/11; they were seen as representatives of a "global threat" and thus lost their individuality in the eyes of many bigoted, scared and hateful people. Similar to today, many violent attacks, hate crimes, and uncountable incidents of verbal harassment took place. This situation seems to me very comparable and we may hopefully learn from it in trying to stop a similar pattern.
My question is: these events seem to be very tied to current events, although they are not unique to the present day. In what ways does the media perpetuate this violence, and how can that be stopped?

poptarts
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by no-one on January 08, 2022 14:54

Many stories and pieces describe this issue as “Asian American hate” (obviously, referring to hatred for Asian Americans, not hatred they themselves express). Unlike much of the Black community in the United States, Asian Americans are generally identifiable with specific foreign nations as either their countries of origin or cultural backgrounds. Many people do not bother to figure out the specifics of this connection and lump Asians together under a country that is politically or culturally relevant at the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed China, already seen as the largest enemy of the United States by a great many Americans, into this position. Due to its power, size and influence, China has historically been the most recognized and most despised Asian country (as seen in the countless hateful political cartoons that we examined in class). Chinese and non-Chinese Asian Americans alike are identified with this pandemic and scapegoated for it.

Liz Mineo’s article in the Harvard Gazette describes this scapegoating and places it into historical perspective, providing many examples in the past of a similar phenomenon, for example, of Japanese Americans during World War II. Trump’s racist rhetoric in referring to the Pandemic as the “China virus” or “Kung Flu” goes hand in hand with his anti-China foreign policy: Asian Americans are seen as local representatives of a looming global threat, and as such are targeted for harassment and violence.

Rej Joo, a Korean-American man, recounts in the Time Magazine spotlight on anti-Asian racism being told “‘I was gonna see if you were Chinese. I was gonna put on my mask if you were Chinese,’” by a Latino man. While obviously prejudiced, this incident is strange for a number of reasons. The man, having seen Joo’s face, asked if he was Chinese, suggesting that the man’s prejudice is toward specifically Chinese people and that he recognizes the existence of a distinction between different Asian American groups. Most of the incidents described in the spotlight involve Asian Americans of many different cultures being attacked for being Chinese.


Michael Eric Dyson, in his Washington Post article “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?”, seeks to illustrate and uncover the contributions of Asian Americans to the national narrative throughout the United States’s history. One reason he provides for this history being obscured, ignored, or marginalized is the existence of many different Asian American groups with their own histories, experiences and cultural contributions.

In his New York Times magazine article, Jay Caspian Kang attacks the very idea of an “Asian American” identity in Dyson’s article as one generally espoused by Asian upper-middle-class professionals looking to assimilate into American society. He suggests (though he need not be taken at his word) that “...Blackness is intractable and Asianness evolves with each generation.” In Kang’s view, the Asian American story is an impossible one to tell, because the players are not linear generations, as with Black descendants of enslaved people, but immigrants and the children of immigrants who are constantly arriving to the country. Whether or not there can exist a trans-cultural “Asian” (which almost always is used to refer exclusively to East and Southeast Asians) consciousness is up to debate by those who have personally experienced it. Nonetheless, Kang’s insights show that our discussions on this topic must be intersectional: covering issues of class, gender, religion, and nationality as well as race.


Another point that Dyson raises is the model minority myth that seeks to pit Asian Americans against the Black and Latino communities in America and treats Asian American history as something not to be celebrated for its own sake but as a weapon to be used against other minority groups.

The “Asian American” story is always a dual one: of both backhanded, double-edged praise and outright, vitriolic hatred, of global allies and global enemies, of representation either as a fetishized and exoticized character or a repellent or pitied victim. Thus it is that Korean and Japanese cultural products find success like never before in the United States and the Chinese identity is violently attacked at the exact same time.


The story outside of the U.S. is similar in some ways and different in others. Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom felt worried as an Asian person living in Sweden, both because of the growing right-wing movements in Sweden and Europe as a whole and the lack of representation of Asian people or any sort of discussion around race and racism in the country. In Sweden as well, Sjöblom saw racism connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and associating her and other Asian people with it.

An even more global perspective is provided by the Human Rights Watch article, showing that anti-Asian or anti-Chinese hate related to the pandemic (and in general) is not an exclusively American sentiment but is flaring up across nearly every continent. This may certainly be exacerbated by American cultural influence, but it’s important not to always put ourselves as the center of the world and acknowledge that we are one part in an immensely complex world. Interestingly, while not always applied to Chinese people, this hatred still seems to manifest itself in attacks on representatives of a larger “enemy”: for example, in India there have been many attacks against Muslims relating to the pandemic, and they may be seen as emissaries of a Pakistani or even a transnational Islamic superstructure that poses an existential threat to Hindu India.

We live in a world that is not unique in its manifestations of hatred, but that is unique in the ability of individuals to combat this hatred. Massive communication networks allow us to have our voices heard across nations and continents and to effect change on untold levels. Even as non-Asian people who do not actively face this discrimination, we have the ability to take part in a global movement combatting it and by acknowledging and discussing the complex nuances in an immensely large and diverse group of people we are able to better understand the world we live in and how we may improve it.

To respond to the question posed: “Can you think of other times during history where other groups have lost their “individuality” due to being othered? How did it affect those groups and their treatment?” I think the best/most similar example of this is of Middle Easterners and Muslims in general after 9/11; they were seen as representatives of a "global threat" and thus lost their individuality in the eyes of many bigoted, scared and hateful people. Similar to today, many violent attacks, hate crimes, and uncountable incidents of verbal harassment took place. This situation seems to me very comparable and we may hopefully learn from it in trying to stop a similar pattern.
My question is: these events seem to be very tied to current events, although they are not unique to the present day. In what ways does the media perpetuate this violence, and how can that be stopped?

As for the classmate question you answered, I think you have the right idea, but not necessarily the best example. The situation with Middle Easterners and Muslims after 9/11 isn't a situation where they're othered, but instead they're labeled as a threat. Othering is a passive act and doesn't acknowledge someone's existence as who they are, this is instead taking the identity of people who are Middle Easterners and Muslims and labeling them as something negative. It doesn’t take their identity away as Middle Eastern and Muslim, is it instead emphacizing it and labeling it as something negaitive as opposed to ignoring it.

poptarts
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 13

The hate is definitely not new, seeing how there are multiple instances in history where there is extreme discrimination against Asians, but now it has resurfaced and become greater because of covid. One of the ways the hatred has stemmed is from the mass immigration of Asians to the US during the 1800s. Because of the mass amount of newcomers who were willing to work long hours for little pay, many Americans were losing their jobs and easily being replaced, which fueled anger, hatred, and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. That isn’t the only reason of course, there are multiple politicians and other people in power who have expressed racism towards Asians, one common example is former president Trump. People who follow those in power that are openly being racist, especially during the pandemic, towards Asians and Pacific Islanders are seeing a green light to commit these hate crimes, whether they be verbal or physical, and don’t feel guilt doing it because if others can, so can they. The Corona virus has caused the rates of hate crimes against Asians to rise in extreme numbers, and most of these happen in public spaces where others are almost guaranteed to see this happen, and yet stand aside. TeenVogue’s article mentions how “In a separate youth-specific report that analyzed incidents through late July, they discovered young people are more likely than adults to be harassed at school, in public parks, and online. In almost half of these incidents, adults were present, but only in 10% of cases did bystanders intervene.” And as mentioned in the PBS article, an Asian woman was asked by a white woman “Shouldn’t you get off this tram?” In public. It’s absolutely disgusting. And there's a solid 99.9% chance that there were other people on that tram who heard that, and yet there's no recorded evidence that anyone nearby tried to say anything and make the Asian woman feel better. The fact that the hashtag ‘#IAmNotAVirus’ had to even trend shows just how severe the whole situation is. For people to be afraid to leave their homes, not only because of the pandemic, but because of the potential threat of being attacked for simply existing, is absurd.

One of the reasons many non-Asians are not aware of this history is because of the whole ‘model minority’ stereotype, which, as mentioned in The Washington Post’s article, completely diminishes the struggles and wealth inequality within Asian communities. This stereotype has completely overtaken society's view of AAPI, making it seem as if there is no previous or ongoing struggle within Asian communities.

Many AAPI have countered being placed ‘othered’ and placed into categories that aren’t true by speaking out on it and using their voices. For example, Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom uses her platform as a way to share her comics that talk about Anti-Asian hate, she uses her platform to speak out and give people insight into how the world treats certain people. By using their platforms, many AAPI are able to give information to non-Asians, and in the process potentially create a larger group of people who can help advocate for their needs.


To respond to the classmate above me’s question:

These events seem to be very tied to current events, although they are not unique to the present day. In what ways does the media perpetuate this violence, and how can that be stopped?

In a lot of situations, POC tend to be the ones who are criminalized and seem to be more harmful, while white people are in positions where they’re not as heavily criminalized. White people who commit crimes have the privilege of being able to walk away and know that they won’t be punished nearly as bad. Think of the truck driver, 26 year old Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who was sentenced to 110 years in prison because of the truck’s faulty brakes, with no intentions to cause anyone harm. He had no control over the situation, and he had stated multiple times that it was an accident he couldn’t control. Kyle Rittenhouse on the other hand, was acquitted (because they believed that it would ruin his life), with a biased jury and judge. There was obvious privilege in that case and many others like it. But it’s not necessarily something we can blame the media for, because it’s not them perpetuating these stereotypes and harmful things, they’re just pushing the news forward, it's the people who create these situations. It’s not an issue of don’t report it; because if it isn’t reported on, then it won’t ever be solved.


My question is: How do you see your own identity affecting the people around you when it comes to issues like this?

Clover52
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7
I think one reason the Anti-Asian discrimination is so prominent today is the fact that no one really know what to do about the entire COVID Pandemic. Everyone needed something, or someone, to blame, and millions of ignorant people jumped on the idea that all Asian people were at fault. Hundreds of years of discrimination and racism has made it hard to simply have the hate crumble. Since WWII, Anti-Asian hate has been so prominent, but rarely gets brought to the light in order to address the problem. The article from Berkeley news shows how, decades before WWII, the Chinese Exclusion Act helped kickstart the Anti-Asian hate in America specifically. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882, but was the first immigration ban on an entire ethnic group. The effects on people were disastrous and still impact the country today. Today, people of Asian descent are violently persecuted and are victims of racist acts. During class we looked at some of the first hand accounts of the hate crimes against normal people who aren’t bothering anyone else. In the article, ‘I am not a virus’, more of these first hand accounts are described. Simply being Asian on a train, you can be subject to racist remarks. These incidents are not going unnoticed, but they are not being dealt with properly I think. A quote from the UN secretary in the article, “Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide” urges govermnents around the world to help battle this hate. Some measures have been taken by countries, but the number of hate crimes has not gone down enough at all. We have to stand together instead of tearing each other apart. It is not just the government’s responsibility to help everyone, though. We all have to do our part to help. People leading movements against the Anti-Asian hate is what we need. The article discussing the ten Asian-Americans reflecting is very powerful. It gives another layer of how the hate is progressing by incorporating the Black Lives Matter movement. It stresses the importance of being an ally to everyone, not just a single group. Another article also goes into detail about the difference in views on Black and Asian hate in America. Yet another article describes more accounts of hate crimes for simply being Asian in America. Another reason the hate has been so prominent is partly due to the shift in political power and ideas in America. It seems like hate in general is so common now, it is accepted for what it is and simply brushed off. There is a clear double standard of classifying Asian-Americans as white or non-white. Whenever it is convenient or beneficial for Asians to be classified as POC, it will happen. It is an effort to maybe make numbers look better for schools or other institutions. The hate on Asian Americans is a serious issue we can’t simply ignore. It has to be addressed and amended now or it will just lead to even worse situations, if that is even possible. I think a response to a question, “How do you see your own identity affecting the people around you when it comes to issues like this?”, is to be able to see how everyone can do a part. Spreading awareness is an easy way to help fight the issues at hand. None of us are able to vote yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything to combat it. Being an ally to those who need it is another way to be there for people who are discriminated against.
GullAlight
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

I believe one of the major issues with the identity of Asian Americans, is that so many more recent immigrants do not have the same ability to connect with the legacy of exclusion. After all, immigration from Asia into the United States has occurred in varying amounts since as far back as the 1850s, during the Gold Rush, and therefore more recent immigrants and their descendants do not have the same lineage of oppression that impacts so many Black Americans, as Jay Caspian Kang writes in his article, “The Myth of Asian American Identity.” As such, learning about such history results in a disconnect about what happened, especially for Asian people.

Michael Eric Dyson brings up another relevant point in his article “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?” He points out that there is an incredibly diverse array of groups, which are gathered under the label of AAPI. This causes the term “Asian-American History” to be so incredibly vague.



However, anti-Asian American discrimination is a slightly different story. Due to how many people cannot differentiate between people from different Asian countries, in addition to how some people may not specifically fit into only one category, discrimination against one group expands to affect everyone in the group.


Liz Mineo of the Harvard Gazette and Ivan Natividad of Berkley News place this discrimination into context, bringing up examples like the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, the treatment of Chinese and Japanese Immigrants at Angel Island, and legislation like the Chinese Exclusion Act. Trump and other racist politicians continue this rhetoric into the modern day, labelling covid as the “China virus.” In addition, the rise of China as a global power has caused many to consider them as competitors and a threat to perceived American superiority, which results in Asian Americans being roped into people’s biases as part of that.


In addition, incidents of hate against Asian Americans are often used by other Asian Americans to talk about their own trauma in order to reclaim that status in their own minds as “people of colour.” I sympathise with this desire, and I understand that desire to ignore one’s own racial identity. However, the fact that the aftermath and response to so many of these incidents circles back to issues that affect mostly more privileged Asian Americans means that the wider issues at play are rarely examined, and this is the true issue.


The model minority myth is a significant tool of oppression, used to oppress other minorities as well as Asian people. After all, the assumption that an entire group of diverse people can be described as one homogenous group is dangerous and obviously untrue. The myth is used against Black people as another tactic of oppression, pointing out the apparent success of Asian people in the United States, and then pretending that Black people have not succeeded due to some inane reason. For Asian youth, being assumed to be smart is a pressure of its own, and the result of not matching up to those expectations is often seen as a disappointment to the family.


In addition, the current trend of K-pop is another example of a tool of oppression, reflected in history by, “how Asian women were deemed to be bringing in sexual deviancy” as written in the Harvard Gazette. This fetishization continues today in perceptions of idols, and continues in opposition to bias against Chinese Americans for China’s emergence as America’s rival.


Asian people continue to oppose this “othering” through speaking up as a part of stories like Time Magazine’s article on Asian Americans’ perception of racism in the US, and through art by Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom about increasing racism resulting from covid. These both present Asian people as individuals, instead of as a homogenous group which many simply perceive as responsible for their suffering or discomfort. Continuing to collect data and individual testimonies of hate is an incredibly important way to acknowledge individuals and humanise them. It also combats the “tendency for Asian Americans to avoid reporting crimes in general,” as Sakshi Venkatraman writes, especially hate crimes, which likely skews statistics and creates an inaccurate and often reduces the severity of the problem.



In order for non-asian people to be allies, I believe they should start with examining their own actions and biases, as well as biases in the people around them. In addition, continuing to educate themselves, and being willing to admit when inevitable mistakes happen is also quite important. In the end, the most important actions non-asian people can take are simply to support and raise awareness of this discrimination, as with being an ally to any group.



In response to the question, “How do you see your own identity affecting the people around you when it comes to issues like this?” I believe that all we can do in general is simply to continue being an ally and to raise awareness of these issues, as I wrote in the previous paragraph. Personally, writing this post and reading these articles helped me solidify my views and perceptions of this issue, reiterating knowledge that I previously knew but never truly had to grapple with. I believe that for myself, continuing to learn, and also writing more about what I believe, will allow me to form my own opinions on many of these topics.



My questions would be how might we continue to grapple with AAPI identity in the future? Should we instead consider each individual group and look at their specific struggles? How should we deal with the relationship between AAPI and other minorities? How can we prevent generalization of issues and groups of people? What should we do when AAPI people are the ones discriminating against other AAPI or minorities?

(Sorry for the multiple questions! I’m personally particularly interested in the last one but you can choose any of them.)

Blue terrier
Posts: 15

The history of hatred towards Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States is a long, bleak, and unfortunately consistent narrative. This hatred, which often presents itself in violent ways, has been especially characterized by a sort of “othering,” a term that is not new in the United States, but is certainly prominent in the discussion of hatred towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The hate that we see today, which has spiked due to the pandemic, is based upon hundreds of years of fervent xenophobia.

The first wave of Asian and Pacific Islander immigration to the U.S. started in the mid to late 1800’s, and it was largely to the West Coast and Hawaii. Immediately, exclusion acts were put forth to prevent further immigration of these groups into the U.S., and those that did immigrate, were met with violent hate crimes and legal discrimination. For example, according to the Harvard Gazette article, in 1871, “a mob in Los Angeles’ Chinatown attacked and murdered 19 Chinese residents, including a 15-year-old boy.” These crimes, which spiked across the country, climaxed with the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882, which suspended Chinese immigration for ten years. Furthermore, throughout American history countless more examples of Asian hatred can be seen. In WWII, nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced into internment on the West Coast of the United States, “an estimated 62 percent of whom were U.S. citizens.” This is a time period of mass discrimination on American soil which the U.S. has conveniently tried to skip over. I personally, never knew about this practice until 8th grade. Continuing on, after the Vietnam War, refugees from Southeast Asia faced violent xenophobia and acts of brutality from American citizens, including groups like the Ku Klux Klan. The sick irony of this is that these groups were seeking asylum from violent American military presence in their own countries, and arrived in the U.S. only to face a similar, horrible situation. In 1982 Vincent Chin (a Chinese American), who we learned about in class, was beaten and killed by two auto workers who thought he was Japanese. Today, Asian American hate crimes have spiked 73% as of October 2021, according to the NBC News article due to a blind and xenophobic hatred from the pandemic. We see news story after news story everyday, with a new horrific statistic or personal stories about hate crimes. For Stephanie Garcia, she explained in article 2 how “You’re very conscious about yourself and if you cough and you feel really surveillanced.”

Obviously these are just to name a few moments in history, but the context could give some insight as to how these have funneled into the huge spike of hate crimes we see today from Covid-19. As referenced earlier, this idea of “othering” is incredibly prominent with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In the past, this othering presented itself in the imagery that we studied in class. Whether it is an Asian American man being portrayed as an animal such as an octopus, or Uncle Sam himself kicking out a racist caricature of an Asian man, they all create the dehumanization and personification of Asian and Pacific Islanders as barbaric, sneaky, and untrustworthy “others.” How does this “othering” present itself today? We have world leaders, such as Donald Trump, continually referring to Covid-19 as the “Asian flu” or the “China virus.” Astonishingly, Trump is not the only one. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to Covid as the “Wuhan flu,” and the governor of the Veneto region in Italy, explained the differences in hygiene between Italians and Asians, explaining how “we have all seen the Chinese eating mice alive.” That eating mice alive imagery sounds eerily similar to imagery we studied in class.

These terms that are used today are powerful. Our world leaders, of all people, need to understand the impact that their words have. They do not cause a few isolated incidents of hatred, but instead they encourage a whole wave of violent hate crimes across the country. These terms snowball into a complete and seemingly irreversible “us and them” mentality. In times of crisis, Americans persistently search for scapegoats. Whether that be WWII, the Vietnam War, or the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans continually look for a physical, tangible, and vulnerable group to take this anger out on, which manifests itself in these violent hate crimes that we see today. The use of terms like the “Asian flu” or the “China virus” assign a group of people to the misfortunes that the world is facing because of the pandemic, an ignorant, hateful, and extremely problematic action. In order to be allies, non-Asians must understand that silence is taking the side of the oppressor. When witnessing a hate crime it is vital to step in in the moment. Quite honestly, simply witnessing a hate crime and reporting it with nothing done in the moment allows the oppressor to walk free, and allows the cycle to be continued. If you see something, say something.


Question: How do we ensure that perpetrators of hate crimes are identified and legally prosecuted?

Blue terrier
Posts: 15

Originally posted by no-one on January 08, 2022 14:54

Many stories and pieces describe this issue as “Asian American hate” (obviously, referring to hatred for Asian Americans, not hatred they themselves express). Unlike much of the Black community in the United States, Asian Americans are generally identifiable with specific foreign nations as either their countries of origin or cultural backgrounds. Many people do not bother to figure out the specifics of this connection and lump Asians together under a country that is politically or culturally relevant at the time. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed China, already seen as the largest enemy of the United States by a great many Americans, into this position. Due to its power, size and influence, China has historically been the most recognized and most despised Asian country (as seen in the countless hateful political cartoons that we examined in class). Chinese and non-Chinese Asian Americans alike are identified with this pandemic and scapegoated for it.

Liz Mineo’s article in the Harvard Gazette describes this scapegoating and places it into historical perspective, providing many examples in the past of a similar phenomenon, for example, of Japanese Americans during World War II. Trump’s racist rhetoric in referring to the Pandemic as the “China virus” or “Kung Flu” goes hand in hand with his anti-China foreign policy: Asian Americans are seen as local representatives of a looming global threat, and as such are targeted for harassment and violence.

Rej Joo, a Korean-American man, recounts in the Time Magazine spotlight on anti-Asian racism being told “‘I was gonna see if you were Chinese. I was gonna put on my mask if you were Chinese,’” by a Latino man. While obviously prejudiced, this incident is strange for a number of reasons. The man, having seen Joo’s face, asked if he was Chinese, suggesting that the man’s prejudice is toward specifically Chinese people and that he recognizes the existence of a distinction between different Asian American groups. Most of the incidents described in the spotlight involve Asian Americans of many different cultures being attacked for being Chinese.


Michael Eric Dyson, in his Washington Post article “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?”, seeks to illustrate and uncover the contributions of Asian Americans to the national narrative throughout the United States’s history. One reason he provides for this history being obscured, ignored, or marginalized is the existence of many different Asian American groups with their own histories, experiences and cultural contributions.

In his New York Times magazine article, Jay Caspian Kang attacks the very idea of an “Asian American” identity in Dyson’s article as one generally espoused by Asian upper-middle-class professionals looking to assimilate into American society. He suggests (though he need not be taken at his word) that “...Blackness is intractable and Asianness evolves with each generation.” In Kang’s view, the Asian American story is an impossible one to tell, because the players are not linear generations, as with Black descendants of enslaved people, but immigrants and the children of immigrants who are constantly arriving to the country. Whether or not there can exist a trans-cultural “Asian” (which almost always is used to refer exclusively to East and Southeast Asians) consciousness is up to debate by those who have personally experienced it. Nonetheless, Kang’s insights show that our discussions on this topic must be intersectional: covering issues of class, gender, religion, and nationality as well as race.


Another point that Dyson raises is the model minority myth that seeks to pit Asian Americans against the Black and Latino communities in America and treats Asian American history as something not to be celebrated for its own sake but as a weapon to be used against other minority groups.

The “Asian American” story is always a dual one: of both backhanded, double-edged praise and outright, vitriolic hatred, of global allies and global enemies, of representation either as a fetishized and exoticized character or a repellent or pitied victim. Thus it is that Korean and Japanese cultural products find success like never before in the United States and the Chinese identity is violently attacked at the exact same time.


The story outside of the U.S. is similar in some ways and different in others. Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom felt worried as an Asian person living in Sweden, both because of the growing right-wing movements in Sweden and Europe as a whole and the lack of representation of Asian people or any sort of discussion around race and racism in the country. In Sweden as well, Sjöblom saw racism connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and associating her and other Asian people with it.

An even more global perspective is provided by the Human Rights Watch article, showing that anti-Asian or anti-Chinese hate related to the pandemic (and in general) is not an exclusively American sentiment but is flaring up across nearly every continent. This may certainly be exacerbated by American cultural influence, but it’s important not to always put ourselves as the center of the world and acknowledge that we are one part in an immensely complex world. Interestingly, while not always applied to Chinese people, this hatred still seems to manifest itself in attacks on representatives of a larger “enemy”: for example, in India there have been many attacks against Muslims relating to the pandemic, and they may be seen as emissaries of a Pakistani or even a transnational Islamic superstructure that poses an existential threat to Hindu India.

We live in a world that is not unique in its manifestations of hatred, but that is unique in the ability of individuals to combat this hatred. Massive communication networks allow us to have our voices heard across nations and continents and to effect change on untold levels. Even as non-Asian people who do not actively face this discrimination, we have the ability to take part in a global movement combatting it and by acknowledging and discussing the complex nuances in an immensely large and diverse group of people we are able to better understand the world we live in and how we may improve it.

To respond to the question posed: “Can you think of other times during history where other groups have lost their “individuality” due to being othered? How did it affect those groups and their treatment?” I think the best/most similar example of this is of Middle Easterners and Muslims in general after 9/11; they were seen as representatives of a "global threat" and thus lost their individuality in the eyes of many bigoted, scared and hateful people. Similar to today, many violent attacks, hate crimes, and uncountable incidents of verbal harassment took place. This situation seems to me very comparable and we may hopefully learn from it in trying to stop a similar pattern.
My question is: these events seem to be very tied to current events, although they are not unique to the present day. In what ways does the media perpetuate this violence, and how can that be stopped?

To me, the way that groups are portrayed in media is incredibly important. As human beings, we subconsciously put different things into categories in our head, simply as a way of organization and to make things easier for ourselves. When human beings do this with racial groups, however, it becomes extremely problematic as we start to create racial biases and present them in our day to day lives. In extreme cases, they also begin to present themselves violently. In a society today that is largely media driven, it is important that we create a fair, inclusive, and accurate representation of all groups in media.

goldshark567
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Asian Americans have faced hatred and discrimination throughout history. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was responsible for immigrants being denied entry into the country because of where they were coming from or their ethnicity. When immigrating to the United States through Angel Island, Asian Americans were met with intense interrogation, kept in inhumane conditions for long periods, and often ultimately not allowed to come into the U.S. They were depicted to the country as a threat to the safety of the nation. Asian Americans were exploited for cheap labor and then scapegoated for taking away jobs from “real” Americans.


The scapegoating of this group has been consistent. Most recently, in the wake of the pandemic, COVID-19’s origin in Wuhan, China was used as an excuse for xenophobia against Asians. Terms such as “Chinese virus” and “Kung-flu” used by President Donald Trump and “Wuhan virus” used by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo circulated, blaming Asian-Americans for the pandemic. The discrimination exhibited by public figures and politicians is likely a large part of the harassment, violent attacks, bullying, etc. that have occurred around the world.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a large increase in reports of discrimination against Asian Americans. In the United States, The Stop AAPI Hate initiative alone reported 2,583 between March 19 and August 5, 2020. Worldwide, Chinatown neighborhoods and businesses owned by Asian people were boycotted. The avoidance of Asian-owned businesses has led to financial crises for many who rely on their restaurants, stores, etc. for income.


The numbers show that this is a big issue. However, looking at how this hate has impacted Asian-Americans on a personal level is very important. People have feared for the safety of themselves and their families. Elderly people were afraid to leave their houses and get the vaccine because they were afraid of being harassed in public. Students have been targeted with racial slurs by their classmates.


Many members of the Asian community have spoken out against this discrimination. There have been social media movements addressing AAPI hate. Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom created an illustration series titled “I am not a virus,” based on the hashtag #IAmNotAVirus, which depicted racism that Asian people are facing. In a Time article by Anna Purna Kambhampathy, various Asian-Americans describe incidents of discrimination and their fears about speaking up. Many incidents have occurred on public transportation systems and while individuals are walking alone. Ida Chen shares that she has walked forty blocks to not have to take the subway, for fear of being in a situation where she cannot escape.


The fact that so many AAPI have to live in fear of going to the grocery store, taking the bus, or going to work or school is disturbing. Non-Asian people have an obligation to be allies for the Asian community. In any situation, I think the most important part of being an ally is listening. Listen to what Asian-Americans have to say and ask individuals how you can personally support them. Support local Asian-owned businesses. Donate to causes like Stop AAPI Hate if you are financially able. Showing the Asian community that you are there for support is key to being an ally.


In response to the question, “How do we ensure that perpetrators of hate crimes are identified and legally prosecuted?” I do not think that there is a clear-cut answer. Perpetrators of hate crimes often go unprosecuted for a number of reasons. A lot of the time, hate crimes take place in a situation where the victim is alone, with no witnesses. Thus, the only way to identify a perpetrator is for the victim to come forward. Often, it is very difficult to do so for fear of being subject to further attacks. I think that if more support and protections were provided to people who came forward as victims of hate crimes, more people would feel encouraged to do so. On the other hand, when a hate crime takes place with others watching, it is up to bystanders to help. Stepping in if the situation allows, but taking pictures/videos and being willing to act as a witness to a hate crime is how a perpetrator would be identified and thus prosecuted.


My question for the next person to answer is: “What do you think the impact of growing up during this period of extreme discrimination against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders is on children in those communities?”

stylishghost
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 14

The Asian American community stands out from any other minorities we have encountered in this class, as they sometimes can fall, when convenient, into the bubble of “white,” and sometimes the bubble of POC. The biggest takeaway I had from reading the articles, especially Jay Caspian King’s piece on identity, is just how personal and confusing being Asian in America is.

Even the term Asian American in itself is complex, as members of the community are more different than they are alike. King wrote that, “According to the Pew Research Center, Asian Americans have the widest internal income disparity of any racial group in America.” Asian Americans are different not just economically, but also ethnically. Being from Asia means someone could be Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indian, the list goes on. The only thing that Asians, especially in 2021, have in common is the hatred they are receiving, especially as a product of coronavirus. Students like Mineo wrote of the, “The general rise in hostility that serves as the tragedy’s backdrop is part of the nation’s long history of brutal bigotry against Asian Americans,” which sums up fully how understanding Asian American history gives us more of an explanation as to their role in the US today.

For centuries Asian immigrants had been banned from the US with laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, or with Japanese Americans being exiled to internment camps during WWII. Asians are a scapegoat whenever it is convenient for white people, and model minorities at other times. The biggest example of scapegoating in the media we read for this assignment is COVID. Obviously Chinese people and people of Asian descent are no more likely to contract the virus, but time and time again, even in more than just the US, Asian people are being attacked. 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.” In times of peril and uncertainty, like a global pandemic, citizens need someone to blame, and somewhere to unleash their anger. With little support and answers, people have begun to blame Asian people for the spread of the disease, and have even stopped coming to restaurants (as shown in the CBS video), just like during wars or other times in US history.

The other side of Asian American identity is one of assimilation, one that urges to “become as white as white will allow” (King). Multiple authors discussed the issue of wealth inequality for Asians, as often Asians that are looking for movie representation, or, like Felix Sitthivong, don't feel like they are in a place to speak up. Michael Dyson, when arguing for more of a discussion of Asian American history wrote that, “The “model minority” myth, too, helps obscure wealth inequality within Asian America. The concept also makes Asian American achievement a metric — or cudgel — by which to assess, or criticize, Black and Latino progress.” The racism of being the model minority is perhaps even more destructive than the violence and hate we have seen recently, as it diminishes the pain and struggle that Asians have faced in the country. Just because some Asians may acquire high paying jobs in comparison to other minorities doesn't mean that 1) there still aren't huge numbers of Asian people falling below the poverty line or 2) that they aren't experiencing racism.

When it comes to being an ally in response to the rise of anti-Asian hate caused by the pandemic, our best option is to stay educated. Reading various Asian American’s experiences with identity today has been very eye opening, and building an understanding of just how different every person within the community titled “Asian American” helps us to be more open and better allies.

poutineenthusiast
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Anti-Asian Sentiments with the Rise of COVID

With the surge of COVID came the rise of anti-Asian hate that resulted from the misinformation spread about the virus, people are becoming more aware of the historic anti-Asian hate that has been rooted in our society for so long, including acts like the Chinese Exclusion Act. I have been wondering the question, "why?" a lot in the past one to two years. Maybe it's hard from a first point of view, but I'd like to think that the historic discrimination against Asians is extremely unwarranted (a massive understatement!). I became painfully aware of racism in the US at a very young age, specifically racism towards Asians. Since that time, I've continued to ask myself "why??". Why is this happening to me? Why is no one helping me? How is this acceptable? For many, discrimination against Asians might seem so new because many don't realize how normalized anti-Asian hate is. It's not some hot topic that rose with 2020, but a deep-rooted hate that has festered for years. Asians have had a tough position in society for a long time; not white enough to be considered white, but not "oppressed" enough to be considered POC. Harmful myths like the model minority have made the Asian position in society more difficult, but Asian Americans are no longer remaining silent.


The work by Asian individuals to destroy anti-Asian hate has grown stronger with every year. Thankfully, more and more Asians breaking their silence, work towards dismantling anti-Asian hate has grown exponentially. Time Magazine published an article that shared first-hand accounts from other Asian Americans on the topic of anti-Asian hate that they have experienced. It was an AMAZING article that gave a quick peek into how massive anti-Asian hate is in the United States. One individual, Rei Joo, talked about the discrimination that he experienced. A man had come up to Joo, asking if he was Chinese, and saying that he would put on a mask if he was Chinese. I found this distinction to be very interesting, which highlighted the specific hate towards Chinese Americans. Work towards dismantling hate can be seen in Sjoblom's work in illustrations. In “‘I am not a virus.’ How this artist is illustrating coronavirus-fueled racism”, Sjoblom, a Korean-Swedish artist, is highlighted for her work in children's books that aim to spread awareness of anti-Asian hate. Through illustrations, Sjoblom is helping children become more aware of this hate, instead of allowing the next generation to ignore it like the previous generations. Sjoblom is also showing adults a first-hand experience of what it is like to be in her shoes or the shoes of other Asians dealing with the same issues. “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?” offers a really interesting perspective into how Asian history should be taught and valued in America. Many have been working to include Asian American history into the US history curriculum, and the push for it showcases the efforts being put forth.


The best way to be a better ally is to be more aware of what Asians experiences on a day-to-day basis. Liz Mineo's article in the Harvard Gazette does a really good job with showing the harmful effects of discrimination in a historical context so that people can better understand the effects of being misinformed. I think if anything, being aware of how the words of others can greatly impact a marginalized group is important. It's also important to continue supporting Asian businesses in the US. In an interview on CBS, a restaurant owner reveals the intense decline in business that Asian businesses faced during the times of COVID. Many stay away from Asian businesses due to the spread of misinformation, further harming Asian businesses. The best way to support Asian Americans at this time is being there to support us like you would support anyone else.

augustine
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

As we know, humans have an awful tendency to find somewhere to place the blame in difficult situations. And in the US specifically, where white populations have a history of ‘othering’ anyone not deemed white, the groups blamed were almost always other racial or ethnic groups. In the past, like during World War II, and now with the pandemic, Asian people were/are the ones being scapegoated. Racism and hate directed towards Asian Americans is not new- its just that there is now a difficult situation happening, where people have yet again turned the accusing finger towards this group. This idea is perfectly stated in the “The Scapegoating of Asian Americans” by Liz Mineo, ““The important thing to remember is that this is really not an exceptional moment by any means,” said Sato. “But it’s really part of a much longer genealogy of anti-Asian violence that reaches as far back as the 19th century.””

I think the reason that so many people are more unaware of this is all the stereotypes that are applied to Asian Americans. Among many others, there is the idea of the ‘model minority’ which assumes that Asian Americans are all successful and high-achieving. Because this assumption is so engrained in our society, racism against this group could be hard to fathom for the people who, both knowingly and unknowingly, subscribe to this false stereotype. Another explanation for this could be the education system. From our work this year on Native peoples, we know that the history we learn is not always the truth, or at least not the full truth. It wasn’t until eighth grade that I officially learned in school about the government’s role in discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans, and all the policies, like the Chinese Exclusion Act, that were spoken about in “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies”.

To reiterate- I didn’t learn until I was 13, almost 14 years old, that the US had banned an entire ethnic group from entering the country- and even then it was framed as a ‘good solution’. So if we are not taught about the discrimination that took place, then it makes sense that people are so unaware, which we know can lead to a lot of bias and prejudice.

From the articles I read, one way that Asian people have combatted the ‘othering’ is through artistic expression. Both Haruka Sakaguchi’s photographs and Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom’s comics are simple but effective expressions of what Asians and Asian Americans have experienced throughout the pandemic. This art is doing what allies need to do as well- which is bring attention to the issue. Like I mentioned before, being uninformed on the history of anti-Asian hate can be very dangerous, so learning and educating yourself and others about it is the first thing that allies can do to help. Another thing that allies absolutely need to do is to not let any discrimination slide. This may seem obvious, but at BLS I have heard so many examples of casual racist remarks that go unchecked by people hearing them. Calling this out when it happens- even if it is your friend, or someone you know- is the bare minimum when it comes to being an ally.

My question is, is it at all possible to change our society in such a way that discrimination against Asian Americans (and other ethnic groups) does not exist, and what would have to happen for the change to occur?

SesameStreet444
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

It is very unfortunate that America’s hateful acts directed towards Asians and Asian Americans have dated back as far as the 19th century, with the Chinese Massacre of 1871, to the implementation of the Page Exclusion Act in 1875 and the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The blatant discrimination that was spread both socially and legally at this time has clearly left America with a deeply embedded notion that Asian Americans are not and never will be true “Americans,” despite many modern families having steadily resided in the US for multiple generations. Such incidents of discrimination include the forced internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in the 1940s following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Undoubtedly, the ways in which Americans have dealt with the racial and social components of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severely impacted by the nation’s longtime underlying xenophobia.


For example, the xenophobic mentality found in Americans can be spotted in the recent Atlanta shootings, in which a 21-year-old white man murdered eight people, including six Asian women, and decidedly blamed his actions on having a “sex addiction.” According to the Harvard Gazette’s “The Scapegoating of Asian Americans,” the Page Exclusion Act of 1875, which banned the entry of Chinese women, plays a crucial role in how modern cases like this are handled legally and how they are perceived by the general public. There is a widespread notion stemming from the Exclusion Act where Asian women are seen as “objects of sexual fetishization,” and that their presence in the United States brings in “sexual deviancy.” It allows the women in this tragedy to be terribly dehumanized, despite the fact that they were victims who died at the hands of a racist white person. I can recall the officers involved in the case describing the killer as someone who just “was having a bad day.” It is appalling and completely unacceptable that the steeped racism in this country allowed such a tragedy to be so heavily glossed over.


America’s perception and treatment towards Asian Americans has also been largely shaped by decades of anti-immigration policy. In the article, "Coronavirus: Fear of Asians Rooted in Long American History of Prejudicial Policies," Berkeley professor john.a.powell said that the recent COVID-related hate crimes stem from a ‘heightened state of (anti-immigrant)bias.’ Since the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned the immigration of Chinese laborers, the Asian community has actively been demonized to this day as a way of isolating them and preserving ‘white dominance.’ This notion has become far more pronounced in the midst of the current pandemic, considering the amount of derogatory language spewed towards the Asian community by the mainstream media. This foul rhetoric has even extended to former president Donald Trump, who proceeded to regard COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” for many months. Asian discrimination isn’t merely limited to the United States, however, as in the article "COVID-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide," the demonization of Asians is stated to have been inhabited by many European governments such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK.


I think many non-Asians and Asians alike are minimally aware of America’s history of anti-Asian discrimination because of the ‘model minority’ myth that plagues the United States. Asian Americans are stereotyped as not being outspoken or assertive in comparison to Black Americans, and in turn, their instances of discrimination have been twisted into a form of social acceptance. This has allowed their struggles to be side noted when looking over American history. Asian-American discrimination has become far too normalized, to the point that it is often not even acknowledged. In actuality, however, the model minority concept is just a form of minimizing the struggles of other minorities within the United States, and it also conceals the “wealth inequality within Asian America,” according to the article from the Washington Post.


Although the steaming hate from the pandemic has unarguably brought much turmoil to the AAPI community, it has also sparked many conversations about xenophobia both nationally and worldwide. Many AAPI organizations, like the StopAAPIHate initiative, have called for justice to be served, speaking out about the harassment and injustice their community has faced. The buried history of Asian discrimination is actively being brought into the limelight, events such as the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 and the recurring KKK attacks. The silence revolving around Asian discrimination is now being broken. In a PBS article, the hashtag #IAmNotAVirus is discussed, in which French Asians spoke out in response to the ongoing Asian hate crimes seen on social media and public transportation. The article also delves into the artwork of Korean-Swedish artist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjoblom, whose paintings emphasize the racist endeavors that Asians must endure, along with the importance of embracing your roots regardless of external conflicts.


Non-Asians need to first acknowledge the extent of their xenophobic behaviors from the past century and a half. To be in denial of the past does nothing but prevent any real change from happening. At this point, the model minority myth needs to be fully dismantled, as its very existence is just a mere way of isolating and demonizing communities of color, along with undermining the wealth inequalities within the Asian community. It should no longer be a social normality to mock Asian Americans, or make snarky remarks or generalizations about their lifestyles. Just like any community, there is no reason that the Asians and Asian-Americans need to be isolated or discriminated against, whether it's here in America or in any part of the world.


To answer the question from the previous post, I think it would be unrealistic to say that xenophobia can become completely nonexistent, as humans are always going to have some form of "us vs them" mentality. Trying to completely dismantle said mentality would be an impossible task, especially considering how people around the world have varying degrees of education and historical knowledge. That being said, I think that getting rid of harmful stereotypes and systems of discrimination would do a lot in bringing awareness to Asian discrimination and also minimizing hate crimes. The destruction of the model minority and the education of Asian history would, in my opinion, do a lot towards supporting the AAPI community and lifting them up as opposed to tearing them down.


My question is,

Do you think your own thoughts and opinions towards Asian-Americans have been somewhat shaped by the model minority concept? If so, how have your thoughts evolved within the past two years of COVID?





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