As an Asian American (Taiwanese) woman myself, who is also a mother, grandmother, auntie, and caregiver of my 76-year old mother— like many of you, I am thinking about the victims, their families/our families, our community, and the roots of our nation’s racist history, where many of our members continue to be treated as less than human today. Long before COVID-19 discrimination against Asian/Americans/Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (AANHPI), other dangerous forms of discrimination uniquely experienced by AANHPIs have persisted over time. Even despite multiple generations of AANHPI families being born and raised in the U.S., our communities are still treated as perpetual foreigners. In the 1960s, the model minority myth was born, as an anti-Black initiative, developed by famous white intellectuals, policymakers, and social scientists working together to stereotype Asian Americans. This false narrative allows for the continual downplaying/denial of racist assaults and attacks on our AANHPI communities. It melds diverse cultural and linguistic needs, histories, and circumstances of each Asian ethnic community together, into one single group, that keeps multiple truths/needs hidden, and never resourced. Furthermore, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the disturbing impact of the colonial and imperial history in the constant fetishization/sexualization of Asian and Asian American women— which also played a role in last week’s murders in Georgia.
Emily Wang, Asian Desi Pacific Islander (ADPI) Caucus
Dear Sisters and Brothers in our ADPI Caucus, friends, and allies:
I grapple with the atrocity of the senseless murder of precious lives of Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delania Ashley Yaun, and Yong Ae Yue – the continuum of inhumane acts of racist assaults and violence that resonate too within our indigenous communities, that strikes deep in our consciousness. More than ever we must summon that which is deep within ourselves to draw into that well of strength that has preserved us to be stoic and resilient as we are throughout our struggles with discrimination and racism, invisibility, of “othering” experienced throughout the generations, and today lays bare the cruelty of fetishization/sexualization of Asian and Asian American women.
We are diverse; we have rich cultures we are proud of in our identity that weave into the tapestry of the communities we work, live, and thrive. I join with everyone in the pain and angst of the senseless brutality against our humanity. The construct of a model minority narrative is for all of us in our Black Indigenous and People of Color communities to reject for its anti-Black roots that served to deny the less-than humanity of Blacks, #BlackLiveMatter – in the racist history of terror and slavery; a narrative that is embedded in structural and institutional racism in our experiences with the denial of equality, equity, access and opportunities for all of us.
In this unsettling and tumultuous time of the challenge of a pandemic, in our trauma of hateful acts against our humanity, let us keep faith with each other, and remain safe and strong in unity and solidarity with each other, for our loved ones, and for all we care about in our communities.
In the dawn of our healing – with courage anew, grit, and resolve – let us seize the opportunity to rekindle with one another and come together in unity and solidarity with all others to mainstream these critical conversations for awareness and visibility; let’s talk about our lived experiences with discrimination and racism – experiences that have long impacted the sensitivity and fragility of our sense of safety, health and wellbeing in the workplace, and in our communities.
For trust in responsible leadership, there is a need for transformative change in place for transparency and accountability in decision-making to dismantle structural and institutional racism. With strong voices and representation, let’s be engaged; have agency with a seat at the table. At every table. Let’s build bridges with resolve, resilience, and commitment in our strive for meaningful change: legislation and policies integrated with equitable and inclusive cultures for safe and healthy communities. Everywhere.
#StopAsianHate. In unity and solidarity with each other, let’s rise together.
Theo Thompson, ADPI Caucus
We know that hate crimes are on the rise against Asians and Muslims and the response from government and police has been inadequate and the impact is felt by Asian and Muslim communities. We will continue to work with the Western States Center to combat the rise in White Supremacy in Oregon and across the country.
SEIU and iAmerica Video: Racism is a virus.