Stop AAPI Hate & How We Do
March 26, 2021
By: Chinese Youth Initiative in Chinese Progressive Association
Since it first started in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a rise in hate against Asians in America. Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy organization, reported 2,808 Anti-Hate incidents in 2020, of which around 240 were physical assaults. Furthermore, there are many cases that have not been reported, so the actual number of hate incidents is much higher. Incidents of hate against Asian Americans haven’t stopped after 2020. In January earlier this year, an 84-year-old Thai man died after he was assaulted on the street. A 91-year-old man was also physically assaulted in Oakland’s Chinatown in February. Recently, six Asian women were murdered by a gunman at multiple spas near Atlanta, Georgia.
These acts of violence prompted us to write this post. As Asian youth, we feel disheartened and concerned for our elders and the broader AAPI community. It is troubling to consider that any of our friends or family members could fall victim to anti-Asian racism.
From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Japanese internment camps of World War II, racism against Asians has always been a problem in America. With its origin in China, the COVID-19 pandemic has especially heightened Anti-Asian sentiment and violence. Cases of racial profiling and xenophobia exacerbated when former President Donald Trump used racist terms like “China virus” or “Kung-flu” to refer to the COVID-19 virus. By associating China with the virus, these terms indirectly harm those in America who are or look Chinese, justifying discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.
Asian Americans have a complicated place in American society. Unlike other minority groups, Asians do not face the same kind of discrimination, but it exists and is real. On one hand, we are seen as threats to America’s wellbeing, which the pandemic has revealed. On the other hand, we are lauded as a polite, law-abiding group that has attained a higher level of socioeconomic status through sheer hard work and innate talent—the Model Minority Myth. This myth is harmful because it pits us against other communities of color, perpetuating White supremacist ideologies and policies responsible for our oppression. The myth also obscures the many social inequalities that harm Asian Americans, an incredibly diverse community. The myth suggests that all Asians are better off, which justifies complacency and inaction towards tackling income inequality.
Unless we use our voices to demand equity and racial justice, this racism will never be effectively addressed. We want to use our voice to deconstruct the systemic silencing of AAPI individuals and their experiences. In our fight for racial justice, it is also important to us that we address the anti-Black sentiment circulating within our community. Although video footage of hate crimes feature Black perpetrators, not all perpetrators are Black and, furthermore, it is unfair to generalize an entire community on the actions of a few individuals. Granted, anti-Asian and anti-Black racism exists in our respective communities, but both are the product of the same root cause: White supremacy.
We understand the anger and frustration that might arise in light of the attacks on Asian Americans, but we, as youth, feel that this anger should not be directed towards other communities of color. Instead, direct this anger towards dismantling White supremacy by supporting organizers that are providing essential services and fighting for long-term change for all communities of color. Engaging in anti-Black rhetoric and blame will only undermine these efforts. In order to create long-lasting change for Asian Americans in this generation and for future ones, we need to build solidarity with other communities—not create division.
On March 25, 2021, CPA and many Asian-serving organizations hosted the Massachusetts Town Hall on Anti-Asian Racism. The recording can be found here, and the resource list here. We hope to continue to have community discussions highlighting how the Asian American community in Massachusetts is organizing against racism, and how we can all continue to support our communities through the pandemic.
Rachel Xu 徐汇贤
Ian Lei 雷俊贤
Xi Zheng 郑茜
Chloe Zheng 郑好
Angela Ruan 阮慈恩
Sarah Wang 王乐怡
If you feel like your or someone else’s life is in danger, you should report it to a local authority (i.e. call 911). If you believe the incident was a hate crime, you can also contact the Attorney General’s Office (617-727-2200) or the MA Commission Against Discrimination (617-994-6000). We also encourage you to call CPA (617-433-8522) if you need support contacting those offices.
Here’s how you can show your solidarity towards the Asian American community:
Report @StopAAPIHATE or StopAAPIHATE.org
Social Media Handles to Follow:
Books to read:
The Making of Asian America: A History
Forever Struggle: Activism, Identity, and Survival in Boston’s Chinatown, 1880-2018
If They Come For Us
The Joy Luck Club
In My Country
How to Be an Antiracist
Chinese Progressive Association of Boston
Asian American Resource Workshop
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
Greater Boston Legal Services
Support The Cause against Anti-Asian Violence
Victims of Violent Crimes in the Bay Area
Call Your Legislators & Ask What They are Doing for the Asian Community (Find your legislator here)