On Racism and Asian Americans

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Remember that Black Americans are not the only ones targeted by racism. The Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate campaign offers some introductory resources on intervening against anti-Asian racism.

Understanding Anti-Asian Racism

Educate yourself, because Ignoring The History Of Anti-Asian Racism Is Another Form Of Violence (Connie Wun)

The history of fetishizing Asian women: Author and film scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu on how both hypersexual and docile tropes of Asian women play into the Atlanta shooting, by Rachel Ramirez

Please understand that Asian Fetishization IS white supremacy (Irene Cho)

Learn how the rhetoric of politicians and the media contributes to anti-Asian racism.

The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act was the first law to make it illegal to immigrate to the United States if your skin was the “wrong” color, the first “travel ban,” but it wasn’t the first law to criminalize people for being Asian in America, especially Chinese women, and the effects of those laws are still with us today.

We’re only beginning to come to terms, as a country, with the understanding that Japanese internment during World War II was explicitly about white farmers grabbing the most productive farms in California, that so-called Victory Gardens that patriotic (typically white) Americans grew to be a part of the war effort were a deliberate propaganda cover-up of that land grab, all while the sons of those interned Japanese Americans were liberating Jews from equivalent camps in Germany.

Special Interests and the Internment of Japanese-Americans During World War II: Internment Was Not Motivated by National Security Concerns, by Melody Hill and Steven B. Caudill

It’s important to know this history as a background to anti-AAPI hate today, but also because that history is repeating itself with Latino Americans in America today.

Asian Americans in a Time of COVID

May be an image of text that says '2019 to Anti-Asian Asian hate crimes increased from 2020 by: 833% in New York City 114% in Los Angeles 133% in Boston 150% in San Jose 200% Philadelphia #StopAsianHate www.asianamericandayofaction.com'

Not only are Asian Americans not responsible for the pandemic we find ourselves in, they are an integral part of our pandemic response, bringing comfort, tending the sick, and dying at much higher rates.

AAPI Medical Personnel in the Fight Against COVID-19, by Aayush Murarka
Trying to find equilibrium when you hear insults about your appearances in one ear and laudatory gratitude in another, navigating a world in which cultural traditions are disrupted, and stretching yourself to meet various social and spiritual expectations convalesce into a unique set of obstacles for the AAPI community, and their perseverance in the face of adversity during a global pandemic is truly exceptional.

Two-thirds of Asian American health and food workers fighting COVID-19 are immigrants, one report says, and immigrant doctors constitute 40 percent of the rural physician workforce.

Of these, AAPI women are especially prevalent and particularly affected.

Learn about the history of Filipinos, especially women, in American nursing, and listen to their experience of feeling invisible amongst the death toll of the pandemic, where they represent a third of the total registered nurses who have died across the United States, and have become subject to an international tug-o-war.

Taking Action

Bystander intervention in actual racist attacks against Asian Americans is not the only way to show your solidarity with AAPI communities.

Reach out to friends and colleagues who might be subject to this particular kind of hate, listen with real curiosity to learn without giving voice to your doubts and defensiveness, and contact your government officials.

Speak up, report bias you see, and help advocate for AAPI communities. Here are some things to ask the Biden Administration for.

Read books about Asian American children to your kids, not as an overt lesson on inclusion, but just so that Asian faces and the diversity of AAPI cultures become a normal part of how they see the world.

If your pandemic budget allows, you can donate to causes that support AAPI communities.

More Collections of Resources

Anti-Racism Resources for the AAPI Community from Cornell University’s Asian American Studies Program

Anti-racism resources to support Asian American, Pacific Islander community from journalist Kate Lý Johnston

Resources for Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of Coronavirus from the Asia Society

Resources from the AAPI COVID-19 Project