Asian Anti-Blackness, Violence & Economic Based Victimization
Recently I read a very disappointing article. The article written by an Asian woman. Do not accuse me of being anti Asian for identifying the author as Asian! To say I was disappointed is an understatement! It turned out to be more of a personal rant than factual and intellectual reporting. Clearly there was no mistake which community and gender she was targeting. Being a Mental Health Counselor I was interested in knowing the root cause of this bigoted rant. The rant consisted of a list of Karen complaints. I been down
this road before. Individuals desperately seeking acceptance from those
with a history of discriminatory policies and practices which have been responsible for their communities oppression. Individuals hungering for
acceptance more their own liberation and freedom.
There is a belief and false narrative in play that Black people specifically African Americans are easy prey. Strategic manipulation of the media, racist mythology, racism, promises of opportunity, and the historical oppression of African Americans. There are those who have brought into this ideological legacy of supremacy and oppression. People who believe they can and will benefit economically, politically and socially from the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color. Individuals who embrace the myth of there not being enough of the proverbial pie to go around. A belief supporting the idea they must oppose another group of color in order to receive their fair share. The fact African Americans are fighting a fight that has lasted for over four hundred years is of no importance. It is the bank that prevails, the securing of the booty.
I stand in solidarity with those who oppose and understand the psychology fueling this divide and conquer propaganda. In this (my)article I share articles written by authors speaking from experience and research. Their goals as well as my own give a fair and balanced critique of what is missing from the Anti-Asian discussion. One of the major factors is an in depth history of Anti-Asian discrimination and who is responsible. Needed are articles that do not employ contrived emotionalism driven by manipulative language and stereotypes to rally supporters to any given camp!
Her article was personal racial bias supporting America’s rooted systemic bigotry. Bias reporting omitting very important details. It is not African Americans (Blacks) who are responsible for a history of racism against the Asian community! It is not armed African Americans murdering the Asian community in mass! It is not African Americans storming workplaces and churches! It is not African Americans accusing and pointing the finger at Asian Americans for the origin of the Corona virus.
We live in challenging times that test our resolve. We fail ourselves, families and communities when not doing our do diligence. Who and what is fueling the flames? Persons with agendas. Persons willing to ignore historical facts. Persons who would rather blame the oppressed rather than the oppressor
whose acceptance they crave like a drug. Persons not interested in factual information. Persons who bitch and continue to benefit from over four hundred years of blood, sweat, tears, unimaginable cruelty, hardships and murders of African Americans.
I read an interview with filmmaker Renee Tajima-Pena and author Isaac Chotiner for the New Yorker. He says, Renee Tajima-Peña is a professor of Asian-American studies at U.C.L.A. and an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose work has focussed on the lives of Asian Americans, from the racism faced by immigrants in the second half of the nineteenth century to the internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. She recently served as showrunner on the PBS series “Asian Americans.” One of her first documentary films, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?,” recounted the murder of a Chinese-American engineer in Detroit, a case that sparked a national movement for Asian-American rights. The Department of Justice brought a civil-rights case against the killers, the first time that Asian-Americans were treated as a federally protected class.
- Issac Chotiner
The African American community has a rich history of standing in solidarity with all oppressed peoples, making their fight our fight. When America spat on members of the Asian community telling them by brutal word and deed they were not wanted, African Americans stood with the Asian community in solidarity. We protested against America’s WWII Japanese Interment camps. Japanese American citizens lost their homes, jobs and property. Immigrant Chinese male workers prohibited from bringing their families with them to work in America? Racist window signs dogs and Asians not allowed? Asian cultural traditions ridiculed?Asians beaten and murdered.
African Americans have over four hundred years of American systemic racism and oppression. Still we fight against America’s violence and discrimination. We have supported and stood in solidarity with other communities of color. However, there are those who believe they can attack the African American community and we will remain silent in the face of these accusations and attacks. The African American community will not be used as whipping post! Whipping posts for the racists and haters with their personal hatred and agendas. Agendas having absolutely nothing to do with extinguishing the
core roots of discrimination.
Tajima-Peña and I spoke by phone on Friday, at the end of a week in which eight people, six of them Asian-American and seven of them women, were murdered at three massage parlors in Atlanta, in what law-enforcement authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime. The past year has seen numerous reports of an increase in anti-Asian slurs and attacks. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, at California State University, San Bernardino, recently surveyed police departments in sixteen major cities across the country and found that anti-Asian hate crimes had more than doubled between 2019 and 2020. During my conversation with Tajima-Peña, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed why hate crimes against Asian-Americans tend to spike, the ways in which views of Asian-Americans combine racism and misogyny, and what a tense American relationship with China may mean for Asian-Americans.
- Isaac Chotiner
The African American community as a whole have fought and continue to fight for our human and civil rights. America continues to turn a blind eye
to continued brutality and murders of African Americans. We will not be used as whipping posts! We will not cower nor silence ourselves in the presence of bullying and unrelenting savagery! We will not allow attacks on members of our community as a whole, for the random acts of a few! Stop pointing the finger at others and clean up your own house! You are neither innocent nor blameless! Address the violence, racism and colorism in your community and families! Address the growing racism, bigotry, verbal and physical abuse and disrespect perpetrated against the African American community!
I want to encourage my Asian American friends to think critically about the racism that’s prevalent in our communities and take action to address it.
©Lorraine Currelley 2021.
BY CHELSEY ZHU
June 5, 2020 at 10:40 am
I first realized my parents were racist in middle school, when they told me I couldn’t date Black people.
At first I was confused. I thought, You’ve got to be kidding, right?
“Why does it matter if the person I like is Black?” I asked. “What’s wrong with Black people?”
Every answer they gave was vague and didn’t go beyond the fact that it made them uncomfortable. After serious prodding, they ended the conversation with, “We have a different culture than they do! They just don’t mix.”
These words have always stuck with me as the most troubling of all the racist things Chinese friends and family members have said, which have ranged from fears of encountering Black people on the street at night to disparagements of affirmative action because it gives some minorities an “easy pass” — statements many people would call micro-aggressions, although their psychological effects on those who experience them are anything but “micro.”
But my parents’ insistence on “different cultures” stands out to me because it highlights a huge issue within Chinese American and greater Asian American communities: the use of our culture and “model minority” status to justify racism against other racial groups, including and especially Black people.
I’m writing this because of George Floyd, who died on May 25 after a white police officer pinned a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, refusing to move until George Floyd lost consciousness and his life. I’m writing this because I believe that during this time — and all the time — Asian Americans have a duty to confront racism within their own communities. I’m writing this because for years I have struggled to confront the racism in the people closest to me, and I hope I can help other young Asian Americans become better allies by sharing my story.
Growing up, my parents’ racism baffled me because they are Chinese immigrants living in an overwhelmingly white area. Like many immigrants, my parents had come to the United States with very little and worked low–paying jobs while raising my sister and me, sacrificing all of their time and money to give us a good education. They understood how hard it was to succeed as a minority, so they should have inherent empathy for the struggles Black people face every day. Right?
But, if anything, their experience as immigrants caused them to downplay discrimination towards other races. My parents, like many people in the U.S., have bought into the model minority myth, which paints Asian Americans as a homogenous and highly successful group that has managed to “rise above” racism through hard work and family values. Among many negative consequences, the myth has historically been used by both whites and Asian Americans to blame Black people for not overcoming the disadvantages they face, despite the fact that the struggles of the two racial groups are vastly different and incomparable.
The argument goes like this: If I came to the U.S. with nothing and worked hard enough to succeed, then why can’t other minorities do the same? If they haven’t, then it must be their own fault. Whenever I have a conversation with my parents about race, that’s what it inevitably comes down to: if I succeeded, why can’t they?
I tell them it’s because discrimination against Black people is entrenched in all levels of society, from schools to housing to the criminal justice system; it’s because anti-Blackness is an ideology that’s been cultivated alongside supposed ideals of freedom and equality from the time the first slave ship came to America.
But my parents’ racism is so strongly linked to their pride in being hardworking immigrants that most of my attempts to talk about privilege and systems of oppression are interpreted as personal attacks.
“You don’t understand what it’s like to be an immigrant.”
“We didn’t need anybody’s help to get by, so why should we help other people? They should want to do it themselves.”
“We gave you everything. Why are you complaining?”
I tried so hard to change their minds, but after several years of trying to explain, sometimes I caught myself thinking that it was easier to just let it go. It was always on me to stay calm and behave rationally in our conversations, even though their assumptions about other races were based on fear and ignorance. If I got too angry, then I would be “disrespecting” them, and they would refuse to listen. Every argument we had led to misunderstandings and hurt feelings on both sides, and I could feel my relationship with them becoming strained.
It made me sad that my cultural community — a huge part of my identity — has such a major problem, one that I didn’t know how to begin to fix. Sometimes, I wanted to stay silent. I wanted to ignore my parents’ racism.
But I don’t deserve the privilege of staying silent. I don’t deserve to give up because it’s hard. The only reason I can choose to ignore this kind of racism is because it doesn’t affect me — and I refuse to be the kind of person who only cares when my own life is in danger. How can I say that Black Lives Matter if I won’t even attempt to stand up to racism that’s right in front of me?
Since George Floyd’s death, I’ve had many, many conversations with my parents about what happened. Some have been more successful than others. I struggle to hold my temper. I hurt my parents’ feelings. Regardless, I’ll keep trying, because giving up is a luxury many people can’t afford.
I want to encourage my Asian American friends to think critically about the racism that’s prevalent in our communities and take action to address it. Speaking out against bigotry is not a sign of disrespect to your family or disloyalty to your culture. It shows that you care enough about your loved ones to push them to be better people, and you care enough about your culture to make it more welcoming and equitable.
Educate yourself on racism within the Asian American community. Reflect on whether you, your parents or others you know perpetuate it. Listen. Confront. Explain. Then do it all again.
ASIAN AMERICANS AND THE LEGACY OF ANTIBLACKNESS
Written by Olivia Mayeda
“The Students for Fair Admissions’ case against Affirmative Action in Harvard undergraduate admissions is an extension of a deeply rooted legacy of white America’s social control over people of color, in which white America facilitates anti-blackness within Asian communities. While this efforts have been successful because many Asian American communities buy into the potential benefits to the Asian-American community at the expense of the Black community, those efforts ultimately reify structures of white supremacy that disenfranchise Black people and Asian-Americans.”
“While there is no doubt that a nuanced understanding of the Model Minority mythology oppresses and undermines our agency of self-formation as Asian Americans, there are ways in which Asian Americans have benefitted from the pseudo scientific notion that particularly East Asian Americans are pathologically superior to Black Americans. In the post Civil War era, Asian immigrant laborers benefited off of racialized notions that they were more obedient and hard-working laborers than Black slaves. Plantation owners argued that the Chinese laborers were “docile, submissive and hard-working, unlike African Americans.” This mechanism of social control created competition, leveraging racialized minorities against each other. White plantation owners and white politicians surmised that a sustainable way of maintaining their hierarchy was to foster other racial hierarchies that conformed to and were microcosmic of white supremacy. Thus, competition between Black and Asian communities, which gave way to interracial prejudice, became a cog in the greater machine of American white supremacy. However, it must also be acknowledged that the model minority mythology has not been applied symmetrically across all Asian Americans; South Asians and Southeast Asians historically and empirically do not benefit from this mythology as much as East Asians if you compare admissions statistics and gross income.”
“Asian Americans continue this legacy by contributing to anti-blackness by means of colorism, the appropriation of black culture, and the policing of black bodies and black neighborhoods. The American system was built upon anti-black racism via slavery; any benefits that Asian Americans receive from that system means that Asian Americans benefit from anti-blackness.”
Anti-black racism continues to be reproduced through institutions like the housing, education, the criminal justice system, and the electoral college. The confluence of this network of institutions collectively targets, disenfranchises, and excludes Black communities from participating in civic society. The emergence of the ABG or “Asian Baby Girl” archetype is a newer addition to appropriation of Black culture by Asian Americans. Gold chains, hoop earrings, Bantu knots, and exclusively dating Black men are the typical characteristics of this new phenomena, which chooses and imitates aspects of Black culture that are deemed trendy. The taking of Black culture without any appreciation or acknowledgement of the oppressive structures that shape and limit Black expression is cultural exploitation, enforcing the legacy of white America and other minorities profiting off of Black culture.
The last method of participating in anti-blackness that I will be examining is support for colorblind policies and contiguously against Affirmative Action. There is a prevailing idea among Asian American communities that race conscious policies are harmful to them, that it in fact “penalizes” white and Asian students. This notion was capitalized on after a sociological study at Princeton by Thomas Espenshade and Alexandra Radford, whose findings implied that black students who scored 1000 on their SATs would have the same chance in admissions as a white student who scores 1310 or an Asian-American student who scores 1450. What the anti-affirmative action movement unknowingly or knowingly ignores is the legacy of anti-blackness in all American institutions, which has massively disadvantaged Black communities in all areas of mobility, including education, income, and mortality. Affirmative action, in principle, seeks to rectify these systemic disparities, that for generation Asian and white communities have directly benefited from. In opposing legislation that seeks to rectify this disparity at the benefit of the Asian American community and the expense of the “Black community, many Asian Americans propagate anti-blackness. However, the ultimate beneficiary of the anti-affirmative action movement is not even Asian Americans, but white Americans. This case, which presents as being an initiative of the Asian American community alone is being bankrolled by Edward Blum, a conservative white anti-affirmative action activist, whose ultimate goal is to eliminate the factor of race in admissions period. In actuality, this case is really about advancing white supremacy, which uses Asian Americans as a pawn, as has been a practice since Asian immigrants came to America and were coerced into competition with Black slaves.”
“What Asian Americans in support of the plaintiffs of the Harvard case against Affirmative Action miss out on is the idea that all forms of racial oppression are interconnected. Racism against any racial minority reifies white supremacy and the marginalization of all other racial minorities. The East Coast Asian American Student Union and many other like organizations have named the plaintiffs of the Students for Fair Admissions as contributing to anti-blackness specifically for pursuing an end to Affirmative Action.”
“We need to contribute in the labors to educate non-black Asian folks on why their actions perpetuate anti-blackness. The education needs to come from the place of compassion and empowering the voices for black folks instead of speaking up on their behalves. Moreover, this is often overlooked but if you are able, contribute resources and money to support those organizations that help with future reparations for black folks, fight for anti-blackness, and support policy changes that could help combat structural racism… We must support policy changes that combat structural racism, like the prison industrial complex, the criminalization of marijuana, the arming of police with military-grade arms, and redlining. We must resist movements that are inherently anti-black, such as… arguments against affirmative action.”