I am Asian- Chinese, to be specific. The rise in violence, discrimination, and xenophobia against fellow Asians around the country over the past year has been terrible. This week’s Atlanta shooting by a domestic terrorist who “was fed up, at the end of his rope” and “had a bad day” is absolutely horrific. If you’ve wondered what you can do to help stop Asian hate, keep reading because I need your help.
There’s a lot to unpack with the Atlanta shooting but it makes me feel fear in a way I’ve never felt before.
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I fear for my parents who live across the country in the San Francisco Bay Area. The patterns of bullies attacking the most vulnerable makes me concerned for their safety. I don’t want my dad to be fatally attacked like Vicha Ratanapakdee was. I worry my mom might have to fight off a bully and endure the emotional trauma like 76 year old Xiao Zhen Xie did when she was attacked without provocation on Wednesday.
The mother in me fears for my teens. Right now we’re not going out much and feel safe in our bubble. But when things open up more, will they be targeted too?
Our school system begins in-person learning next month. I wonder if my two high schoolers will be subjected to the same racial discrimination, stereotypes, and microaggressions that they’ve felt before. Poking fun of what’s in their lunch boxes or making comments about Asians always wearing glasses has never been ok. It wasn’t when I was in school and it isn’t now.
I wonder if my kids’ peers and community members will stand up for them as allies. I hope anti-Asian racist incidents haven’t become normalized where we live but it’s hard to feel safe right now.
As a teacher, I fear for my students. I wonder what they’re feeling as they’re siloed at home learning through screens. I want all my students to see me as an ally and an advocate who will always stand up for them but do they see themselves in me? Do they know I will stand with them even though they’ve never met me in person?
I also fear the responsibility I have as an influencer. I’ve always used my online presence to educate and advocate here and through my social channels but educating against systemic racism is hard. I want to use my influence but at the same time, I know I need to unplug to safeguard my mental health.
The fear that I feel is real because none of this is easy and it’s all very real. There is a lot of work that needs to be done by all of us. We MUST work together to stop Asian hate.
6 Things You Can Do to Stop Asian Hate
To help stop Asian hate, it’s important to take charge of your own learning. Educate yourself to become an ally and teach your kids to do the same. Here are 6 ways to start.
Get the Facts and Don’t Stop Learning
Over the past year, Stop AAPI Hate received reports of 3,795 hate incidents across the country. A rise in these anti-AAPI hate incidents correlates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pew Research Center reports that 58% Asian Americans feel racism is more common now than before the pandemic. More than 30% have reported experiencing slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity.
Commenting on the racist motivations behind the deadly shootings in Atlanta, Trevor Noah explained Why We Should’ve Seen the Atlanta Shootings Coming on The Daily Social Distancing Show.
Trevor Noah tells it like it is but in addition to what he shared, there is lots more to know. Here’s some additional reading to learn about the history of racism against Asians in the United States and how the fetishization of Asian women leads to violence
Learn more about:
- The long history of racism against Asian Americans in the U.S. from PBS News Hour
- America’s long history of scapegoating its Asian citizens on National Geographic
- How the media repeatedly pits Blacks and Asian Americans against each other so we can’t band together to overturn white supremacy from The Daily Social Distancing Show
It’s also important to understand how race and gender intersected in the Atlanta spa shootings and why the fetishization of Asian women leads to violence. These pieces help shed more light on these issues.
- How the Fetishization of Asian Women Leads to Violence on Women’s Media Center
- Fetishized, sexualized and marginalized, Asian women are uniquely vulnerable to violence from CNN
Issues of racism are complex and uncomfortable. They’re not something one race or religion can tackle alone. They must be talked about in order to move forward.
It’s also important to acknowledge there’s lots of learning that need to be done in order to be an anti-racist. The work that each of us needs to do to become anti-racist is constant. It’s not a check-the-box-move-on-because-I’m-done sort of thing.
Work to Be an Ally
“Being an ally doesn’t necessarily mean you fully understand what it feels like to be oppressed. It means you’re taking on the struggle as your own.”
GuidetoAllyship.com says anyone has the potential to be an ally by doing any of these 7 things:
Allies aren’t members of the oppressed communities they support but they make a conscious effort to better understand the struggle, every single day. And they’re necessary!
As you work to become an ally to stop Asian hate, Guide to Allyship suggests doing the following things:
- Do be open to listening
- Do be aware of your implicit biases
- Do your research to learn more about the history of the struggle in which you are participating
- Do the inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how you participate in oppressive systems
- Do the outer work and figure out how to change the oppressive systems
- Do use your privilege to amplify (digitally and in-person) historically suppressed voices
- Do learn how to listen and accept criticism with grace, even if it’s uncomfortable
- Do the work every day to learn how to be a better ally
If you’re fearful about doing something as an ally because you’ll get it wrong, realize mistakes will happen. Guide to Allyship says it’s more important to understand how to react when microaggressions are committed.
Being an ally also means reporting Asian hate when you see it. To make a report, go to StopAAPIHate.org.
Use Your Voice to Speak Out
Allies use the power of their voices alongside those being oppressed to speak out. It can feel like a huge risk but it’s ok to start simple.
Thien-Kim Lam, Founder of Bawdy Bookworms and blogger at I’m Not the Nanny encourages people to say something simple like “That’s racist” or “That’s rude!” or “That’s not cool.” It makes a difference when you stand up for someone when you witness harassment.
Raise Compassionate Kids
It feels hard to parent during a time when there’s a lot of hate and the world is becoming more diverse. The bottom line is we must raise compassionate kids who embrace diversity and each other. And it’s cool to be kind.
Foster empathy, let kids lead the conversation, and expand your family’s perspectives advises Christine Koh in How parents can support kids through (and beyond) the latest wave of anti-Asian American violence for CNN.
Christine shares practical tips for things parents can do right now. She also shares how Asian parents can address their kids’ mental anguish and calm their fears. I’m also quoted about the importance of minding your tech use!
Diversify Your Content
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Have you ever thought about the books you read, the content you see on social media, what your friends list looks like on Facebook, and who delivers the news you consume?
If the content is too white, it’s time to diversify! Here’s how you can start:
- Follow Christine Koh’s list of Badass Asians on Twitter
- Pre-order Thien Kim Lam’s debut romance novel, Happy Endings, coming this May from Avon Books.
- Follow these Asian content creators that I love on Instagram:
Support Organizations Working to Stop Asian Hate
Support and donate. Here is a small list of organizations doing important work to advocate for diversity and stop Asian hate.
Stop AAPI Hate tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. They believe that in order to effectively address anti-Asian racism, they must work to end all forms of structural racism leveled at Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
Asian American Journalists Association advocates for diversity in newsrooms and accurate representation of communities of color in media
Red Canary Song is a grassroots Chinese massage parlor worker collective of Asian sex workers and allies that supports migrant justice. They advocate for labor rights, full decriminalization, and anti-trafficking. Read their statement about the 8 lives lost in Atlanta here.
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum is focused on advancing social justice and human rights for AAPI women and girls in the United States through social, political and economic change.
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund is a national organization founded in 1974, protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. They are focused on issues such as anti-trafficking, economic justice for workers, educational equity, housing and environmental justice, immigrant rights, and voting rights and democracy.
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) builds power and resilience in working-class Asian immigrant and refugee communities. They believe everyone has a right to a clean and healthy environment in which their communities can live, work, learn, play and thrive. APEN is building the power of Asian communities on the frontlines to stop big polluters from poisoning families and destabilizing our climate.
If you made it all the way to the end of this post, THANK YOU! Thank you for caring by reading and it would be amazing if you could like this post and share it with your friends as we work together to stop Asian hate.
Wondering what else you can do? Read this post by my 17 year old daughter: What My Biracial Teen Wants You to Know About Anti-Asian Racism.
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