I wanted to take the time to properly address last week’s shooting and try to find the “right” words to express my thoughts. But there are no right words. It’s just a lot of confusion and anger and sadness.
I am a proud Asian American / Pacific Islander.
But not the kind that is being hunted right now, because we have normalized “China Virus” and “Kung Flu,” and have chosen to ignore the increasing attacks on “people who look Chinese.”
I am the type Asian American who bore a burnt of post-9/11 Anti-Asian hysteria that conflated “Muslim terrorists” with anyone who is Brown.
It’s all the same hatred, the same racism, the same xenophobia that fuels the anti-Black, anti-Semitic, anti-Immigrant, and anti-otherness that runs through the veins of America. It is grounded in the idea that “we” — read white Americans — are the best’ and “they” — the others– are our very worse. It is the same special type of made-in-America brand of hatred that often pits us minorities against each other. The fact that we as AAPI occupy a myth of model minority that is somehow beyond the tentacles in racism, and yet has felt histories long, bloodied arm of exclusion since arriving in America. It is exhausting. And it keeps happening over and over again.
Brief History of Anti-Asian Racism in the US
1865– The first Chinese laborers were brought to the South as a replacement for slavery after the Civil War.
1863-1869 – 3 Chinese laborers died per 2 miles of track built on the Transcontinental Railroad.
1871 – In Los Angeles, a mob of nearly 500 tortured and hanged 19 Chinese immigrants int he largest mass lynching in American history. A string of riots like this begin to spread across the states.
1882 – The Chinese Exclusion Act became the first immigration law in the United States that banned any race or ethnicity from entering the country. It wasn’t until 1965 that these law was overturned.
1942– During World War 11, 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps in. 1,862 died of disease. Most lost homes, businesses and livelihoods from being uprooted.
1965– The model minority myth of Asian Americans began circulating to promote capitalism and undermine the credibility of Black Civil Rights.
1982 – 27 year old Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man, was beaten to death by a baseball bat by two white men who thought he was Japanese.
2021 – More than 3,800 instances of anti-Asian hate crimes were reported during the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating in the murder of 8 people in Atlanta.
How to Help:
Donations:Heart of Dinner: https://www.heartofdinner.org/donate
Founded in 2015, during the pandemic they began focusing on fighting food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American Seniors. They current support over 1,500 elders in New York City by delivering weekly hot food.
Stop AAPI Hate: https://donate.givedirect.org/?cid=14711
Started in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. They record incidents of anti-AAPI hate, discrimination, and xenophobia.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Atlanta : https://donate.givedirect.org/?cid=14711
Founded in 2010, this is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization that works to protect the civil rights of Asian, Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in Georgia and the Southeast region specifically.