While this blog customarily celebrates Chinese culture as a way to advocate for a broader understanding of our cultural richness, I can’t find myself posting DIYs and recipes––celebrations of my culture––without confronting that my culture is right now not being celebrated, but rather viewed as a persistent virus. Watching surveillance videos of elderlies resembling my own Ye Ye Nai Nai being shoved on the streets hit too close to home.
The egregious acts of violence against Asian American people uncovers yet another of America’s unhealed racial wounds. The recent incidents of hate crimes against our community is not new: to name a few, Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Japanese Internment camps, violence that led to the Filipino Farm Worker Movement, and the 2017 hate crime shooting of Srinivas Kuchibhotlato have all bore open racial fissures.
While the onus of racism should fall on those perpetuating the ideology rather than those victim to it, I think an underlying sentiment almost two-centuries-old has barred the Asian American community from raising its voice: the Model Minority Myth. Our parents, in their troubled homelands, journeyed miles to school and could barely ever attain precious commodities like milk; now in the land of abundant dreams, they prefer working hard and keeping their heads low.
I’m not casting this sentiment on every family, or foreshadowing that it will perpetuate into the future, but, for now, this hesitance runs deep. We’ve always been reluctant to draw attention to ourselves. We avoided the spotlight on conversations about anti-racism, not because it’s never happened to us, but because we’ve lacked the awareness to recognize it. The lack of media coverage on these hate crimes compounds the silencing of the API community perpetuates the misconception that we don’t face racism.
The Model Minority has not only debased us from our pedestal but have barred us from recognizing anti-racism against other ethnic groups. We must lean into conversations about the Asian American and black community tensions, and work in unison with other movements fighting for racial equality. I never thought I would quote Detective Chin Ho Kelly from Hawaii 5-O, but he did astutely mention in a GMA interview that this isn’t just about white supremacy and Asian people, it’s about People of Color against racism. In a recent interview, actor Steven Yeun also put into words what we often experience but haven’t been able to articulate: “Sometimes I wonder if the Asian-American experience is what it’s like when you’re thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.”
“Sometimes I wonder if the Asian-American experience is what it’s like when you’re thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.”Steven Yeun, actor
What our allies and API community can do right now
(adapted from Resources for Allyship and Fighting Anti-Asian Discrimination by Airbnb)
1. Raise awareness, speak up, and condemn these attacks and anti-Asian racism
- Sign and share these petitions to raise awareness and stop anti-Asian racism
- Watch and share these videos on the rise of anti-Asian violence in the recent weeks:
- ‘We are crying out for help’: Actors, activists sounding alarm on surging attacks against Asian Americans
- Oakland Chinatown press conference denouncing attacks on Asians in the community
- #NeedToKnow by Yoonj Kim from MTV News
- The Reidout on MSNBC: Asian Americans face rise in racist attacks amid pandemic
- Read and share this article on the rise of recent hate crimes on Asian Americans by Vice: Asian Americans Are Calling on Allies in Response to a Wave of Violence
- Read about anti-Asian racism during COVID-19 and how to advance Asian American recovery
2. Report instances of anti-Asian assault and crimes
Report them at StopAAPIHate.org.
3. Protect yourself in the face of discrimination or safely stand up for others as a bystander
Join webinars and training hosted by the Hollaback Bystander Intervention.
4. Learn about the history of Asian Pacific Islander discrimination and other challenges we face
- Read on the model minority myth, why it exists, and why it’s harmful to other marginalized communities
- For a historical overview on anti-Asian racism in America:
- Read this article about America’s long history of scapegoating its Asian citizens by National Geographic
- Read the book “Chinese in America” by Iris Chang
- Watch the PBS documentary “Asian Americans”
- Read this article on the importance of Asian & Black solidarity by Michelle Kim
- Follow these API community leaders and activists for more resources and education
- Michelle Kim, activist and co-founder of Awaken
- Amanda Nguyễn, activist and founder of risenow.us
- Dr. Kiona, activist (see this post from Dr. Kiona on other accounts to follow)
- Daniel Wu, actor and activist
- Hasan Minhaj, comedian, actor, political commentator, and television host
- Learn more about how anti-Asian discrimination manifests in the workplace by reading Jane Hyun’s “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” and Margaret Chin’s “Stuck: Why Asian Americans Don’t Reach the Top of the Corporate Ladder”.
5. Support, donate, and volunteer with organizations actively combating racism against the Asian Pacific Islander community
Organizations to support and donate to
- Stop AAPI Hate – aggregates and responds to incidents of hate and harassment against Asian American/Pacific Islanders. Stop AAPI Hate received 1,843 reports of anti-Asian discrimination due to COVID-19 in its first eight weeks of reporting (March 19 to May 13).
- Hate is a virus – started as a grassroots movement to combat racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) fueled by COVID-19, Hate is a virus has evolved into a sustainable organization that addresses xenophobia and hate in the AAPI and BIPOC communities.
- Act To Change – a national nonprofit organization working to address bullying, including in the AAPI community. They published “The Racism is a Virus Toolkit” to support the community in combating racism.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – a national nonprofit organization that focuses on housing rights, immigration, civil rights, labor rights, and others for Asian Americans
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans – a nonprofit organization that serves to represent the interests of the greater Asian American (AA) and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities through a coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations around the country.
- Aggregate GoFundMe to support organizations that help keep our Asian communities in the Bay Area safe
- GoFundMe for Vicha Ratanapakdee
- Gofundme to Help Rebuild the Vietnamese American Community Center in Oakland, CA
If you live in the Bay Area, here are some ways to get volunteer opportunities
- Jacob Azevedo, a local Oakland resident formed a volunteer community mutual aid group to walk elderly folks in Oakland Chinatown. Can email to join: CompassionInOakland@gmail.com
- Oakland Chinatown Safety
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