Asian discrimination has been brought more to the Forefront during this pandemic because we see how people are made exposable and disposable based off their identity, especially when you’re able to correlate origins of a disease to the specific identity.
But honestly, I’m pretty sick and tired of seeing stories and videos by Asian-Americans centering the silence of the growing number of Asian-American hate crimes in America on black activists and more specifically, BLM. The country didn’t go into uproar just because of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and countless other black people’s deaths. The black community, and specifically BLM, created noise and have worked for years on spreading awareness around police brutality in America and how it disproportionately affects black Americans. BLM has been the movement since 2013 and has very specific goals and works tirelessly to garner attention and support for their movement.
BLM is only one out of many black movements fighting for black liberation. BLM focuses specifically on police brutality, and thinking of BLM as the only activist organization that is fighting for black liberation is wildly inaccurate, but more importantly, erases all the other work that is going on by black activists for the blakc community. I implore everyone to take a look at BLM’s preamble and what they are asking for because they have done an extremely great job at outlining what exactly their demands are and how exactly their goals can be achieved.
It is completely valid to be angry at the world around you — the media and the American people — for not recognizing and calling attention to these heinous hate crimes. It’s frustrating, feeling that no one cares (enough) about so many people who are getting hurt and killed for nothing other than the way they look — people from your own community, people who look like you — not as enraged as you. But the solution isn’t to attack or even be angry at other POC activists who are getting attention. Because we need to understand that them getting attention does not mean it is any easier, this fight for civil rights has been going on since the conception of America.
It is extremely anti-black to be putting the burden on black people and black activists, or even other people of color, to bring attention to the growing number of Asian-American hate crimes due to COVID-19 and also other harmful and xenophobic and sinophobic rhetoric.
The term “Asian-American” was coined in 1968 as Asian-Americans who came from all over Asia decided to come together and stand with the black community (specifically the black power movement). This term united Asians for the purpose of fighting for the liberation of black people in America and was inspired by civil rights activists to stop the war in Vietnam and fight against the injustices Asian-Americans were facing in the 1960’s. The earasure of this history is intentional at keeping in place the dominant white power structure. To call yourself an Asian-American means to understand the solidarity we find in coming together and celebrating and using our similarities to fight against the larger power structure, the real power structure that is silencing not only us, but every other POC in America. To call yourself an Asian-American means to stand with every marginalized community in this country, especially the most marginalized, and want to fight for all of our liberation.
I have also seen a lot of Asian-Americans using the recent attacks on Asian people as an excuse or justification for their anti-blackness and it’s got to stop. Saying things like “we were there for you, why aren’t you there for us” is a gross misunderstanding of what activism is, but more importantly, it does absolutely nothing to help the Asian-American or black community. Activism is not transactional nor is it conditional.
The underlying problems are the larger structures of white supremacy and capitalism. It’s not JUST racism against Aians that is normalized. Racism in general is normalized. And it is important to understand why these two statements are not the same because saying that racism against Asians is normalized erases black struggles.
Black activists owe us nothing. There is strength in solidarity, but we must realize that the solidarity must come with a lot of trust, and I do not deny the widespread anti-blackness within the Asian-American community. The Asian-American Community needs to come together and understand the roots of what it means to be Asian-American in America. The model minority myth only further separates us and pushes us away from activism, protest, and civil disobedience. But as we all know we’ve never really gotten anywhere without fighting back. So that’s what we need to do — fight back and make some noise.