posts 16 - 18 of 18
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Asians/Pacific Islanders and COVID: Xenophobia and Hate Crimes in the Era of COVID

Hate is present everywhere, no matter where you go or how seemingly un-hateful this location is there is always hate. It has always and still is an incredibly relevant piece of our society and unfortunately takes control of many aspects of our country and more broadly the world. There are around 24 million Asian-Americans in the United States, roughly 5.7% of the population and has not just recently but for a very long time have been experiencing hate from many directions. I do believe the reason for the uptake in Asian hate and discrimination during covid 19 was due to the origin of the virus and the desire to place blame. Another unfortunate fact about Asian hate is that it is usually generalized hate. Many Asian Americans identify with a certain culture or region of the continent making them though from the same continent very different when it comes to where they are from and who they are and how they identify. However unfortunately most people will lump them all in to one category or group which is why Asian hate is such a general hate. Many do not bother to know about where individuals come from or how they identify in accordance to who they are. The origin of the virus, being China, definitely spurred the hate to a new level even more due to the already existent distaste and continental conflict between America and China. Liz Mineo’s article in the Harvard Gazette calls to the use of scapegoating of Asian countries and its citizens those in America and external. A prime example of this being the targeting of Japanese Americans after the attacks of Pearl Harbor.

Another continuous problem with history and more specifically this history of Asian and Asian American hate is the lack of education, focus on the issue. Michael Eric Dyson, in his Washington Post article “Why don’t we treat Asian American history the way we treat Black history?” talks very in depth on this issue expressing that one of the pressing problems of this is the many varying cultures and different histories that all of these sub groups have. The almost laziness to learn peoples identity and who they are, to listen to their stories is putting a road block in the ability to inform accurately about history.

There are also the many misconceptions, generalizations, and stereotypes made about these groups all together. Blatantly ignoring the difference of the subgroups and even more specifically the ignorance of individualism and people as their own and not grouped. This is also where the use of the model minority myth is used to oppress other minority groups along with those of Asian decent.

I think to progress and improve our lives and those around us we must reflect. Reflection I think is very important and looking inwards at our own biases and the biases held by the world around us. Continuing to educate ourselves and inform and ask questions is necesary to continue our growth as a society as a country and as a planet.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Understanding Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

In order to understand all of the recent acts of hatred toward Asian Americans, we must first examine the intricate history of racism and discriminatory legislation that Asian Americans have faced in the US. This new wave of hatred has learned from all those which came before it. The first incident to note, mentioned in many of the articles: the Chinese massacre of 1871, which was a mass lynching of 19 Chinese Los Angeles residents including a fifteen year old boy. This massacre was fueled by anger and encouraged by propaganda suggesting the Chinese Americans were “barbarians taking jobs away from whites” as Michael Eric Dyson wrote in his article “Why Don’t we Treat Asian American History the way we treat Black history?” During World War II eyes were yet again on Asian Americans, after the bombing of Pearl harbor. 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast were forced into numerous internment camps, due to the alleged threat of “espionage” and “sabotage”. The racism doesn’t stop there. In 1982 VIncent Chin, a Chinese American was brutally beaten to death in Detroit by two white autoworkers. They mistook him as Japanese, and at the time the Japanese auto industry was taking up space in the American market and they blamed the Japanese people.

The other side of discrimination against Asian Americans is systemic; legislation from as early as the 1870s contexualizes today’s Anti-Asian hate. Liz Mineo’s “The Scapegoating of Asian Americans” and Ivan Natividad’s “Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies”, mention the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese laborers from entering the US. Before the 1882 Act, there was the Page Exclusion Act of 1875, which was the first law that restricted immigration in the US, and it prohibited Chinese women from entering. The reason for restricting Chinese women from entering the US and not men, was because Chinese men were of use to the US as they could work for cheap wages and further national progress, but Chinese women would only come to the US and create more Chinese children, which was possibly the last thing that the government or the people of the US wanted. There’s a connection to be made between the Sage Act of 1871 and the shooting that occured in Atlanta almost a year ago, wherein 8 people were killed- 8 of whom were Asian American women. The 1871 act sets the stage for Asian women to be seen as no more than sexual objects through the American white male gaze. The fetishization of Asian women is no recent fad, and it’s clearly dangerous for Asian women.

Throughout history there has always been the white majority and the other minorities in the US. This minority is the scapegoat for any anger and hatred felt by the white American populace because of whatever may be going wrong. The Asian American struggle in the US is not a widely known history. There’s no need to compare the gravity or severity of tragedies but it’s important to look at the connections that minority groups have in the US. There are parallels between the way black parents have had to (and continue to) give the “race talk” to their children for generations upon generations, and the way Asian American parents are giving the “race talk” today as well. From a young age children of color including Asian American children are made aware of the fact that they are not the white “standard” and that they may be in dangerous situations because of their race. Asian Americans have been painted as being submissive and obedient, and simultaneously conniving and a sneaking threat to the US. There is also the model minority myth which suggests; of all POC, Asian Americans are the “best”, if we thrive in the US, other minority groups should be doing the same. The model minority myth is exactly as the name suggests: a myth. It pits people of color against one another and casts Asian Americans off to the side, making it seem as if there is no racism toward Asian Americans that need to be addressed when having a conversation about race in the US. Asian Americans aren’t docile and we aren’t the footnote to the national conversation. We contribute to American culture in important ways, and we’ve fought for civil rights in this country, and there is no silencing Asian American communities. Asian people and non-Asian people alike should learn more about the real history of Asian Americans in the US to better understand the struggles that we face today. In terms of what non-Asians specifically should do, I believe that they need to help make a space at the table and in the conversation for Asian Americans’ voices to be heard. This is a time for people to learn when they need to step back and when they need to speak out against injustice. We need to include Asian Americans in conversations about race, and -as cheesy as it is- move forward together.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20

Anti-Asian hate is not new, as it is something deeply rooted in our society that has been seen for centuries. With the surge in cases of the COVID-19 virus comes a new wave of racism that Asian Americans face. The former president encouraged this hate by calling it the “China virus” or “kung flu,” making it look fine for others to say as well. As stated in one of the articles, “although by late March Trump stepped back from using the term and issued a tweet in support of ‘our Asian-American community,’ he has not directed any specific governmental response toward protecting Asians and people of Asian descent.” With an irresponsible administration running the country for almost a year during Covid-19, anti-Asian hate spread rapidly and became something that happened more and more often.

However, this is not new. The idea that Asians carry and spread diseases has been believed for centuries. Even in the 18th century, when white people feared that Asians were taking their jobs, they argued that the strain of diseases that Asians carried were more dangerous than that of the white people. But many Asian Americans are encouraged not to speak up because “as long as we are able to build a livelihood of any kind, that’s considered a good existence.”

This is not just an American issue. In the UK, Asians have been punched in the face, teased, and spat at because of the accusation that they spread Covid-19. Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom talks about her experience being assaulted in London because of her race and how she had to handle this discussion with her children. She had to explain that “If you don’t look like everybody else, people might laugh at you, or think that you are wrong in some way.” But she doesn't stop there. She ensures that her children have Asian role models in the media and their personal lives that they can look up to and “build up some sort of self-confidence.” Because of these approaches she takes as a parent with her children, when her son was subject to a racist attack “he was very calm about it. He talked to us, and he could understand that it wasn’t about him as a person, but the way he looks.”

All over the world, Asians have been treated with the utmost disrespect and are seen as stereotypes and not their own individual people. It is not good enough to just directly not participate in racist actions. Non-Asians need to be actively anti-racist. We need to call out friends/family/strangers when we see something unjust going on, start discussions about how we can be better allies and prevent anti-Asian hate from happening, be conscious about what vocabulary we use, and be careful not to listen to Asian stereotypes.

My question is: how can you look back on how you may have been a bystander in a situation of a racist microaggression or attack and use that as a tool to learn about what you can do to stand up be a better ally if it happens again?

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