Understanding the Struggles of the AAPI Community

If any of you have been keeping up with the latest news or even just scrolling through social media, then I’m sure many of you are aware of the Anti-Asian racism and violence that have been surfacing, especially within the Bay Area. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading a lot of social media posts and articles regarding this topic, and I wanted to highlight a few of the points that stuck with me. In addition, I’ll be adding in some of my thoughts to spread more awareness of the realities and struggles Asians and Asian Americans are facing and have continuously faced.

#1: Anti-Asian racism is very much real and on the rise. It still blows my mind that some people don’t believe Asians can experience racism. To paint the picture a bit clearer, Asians and Asian Americans have faced racism for centuries, long before Trump ever became president and the pandemic ever rolled around, although these two events certainly contributed to the rise in Anti-Asian hate. Ever since our ancestors first immigrated to the U.S. in order to escape war and poverty within their home countries, Asians and Asian Americans have faced racism. These incidents of hate and discrimination have gone unnoticed and ignored for the most part. Through the yellow peril and perpetual foreigner stereotype, the model minority myth, and many other modes of racism, we Asians and Asian Americans have been portrayed as “threats” to America, “enemies” who take jobs away from Americans, and “perpetual foreigners” who fail to assimilate into the American culture. Therefore, we are constantly perceived as “the Other” that is “intelligent, educated, and successful,” otherwise known as the model minority myth.

Four silhouettes stand in front of a digital American flag

For those who have not heard about the model minority myth, you might be questioning why and how these “positive'' traits can be so harmful. To answer your question, I would like to point out that these seemingly “positive” characteristics promote the false idea that Asians do not need any form of government support in order to survive in the U.S. This lack of support is justified simply because Asians are perceived as people who are already privileged, educated, and wealthy enough to get by on their own. The myth overlooks the true struggles of Asians and Asian Americans. Furthermore, the model minority myth creates the perception that Asians are “models” or “examples” that other minority groups should strive to become, ultimately forcing minorities to see one another as competition. 

#2: The fact that our elderly are being targeted and experiencing the most Anti-Asian racism and violence makes us Asians and Asian Americans hurt even more. It is deeply embedded within Asian cultures to respect and to take care of our elderly. Our elders have gone through so much struggle and trauma to get to where they are today and where we, their children and grandchildren, are today. As elderly who already fought hard for a better life, who don’t complain about what they have or don’t have, and who mind their own business and live life simply, they don’t deserve to experience any more pain and trauma, especially within the land that they believed would grant them a better life. We have so much respect and empathy for our elderly that it pains and angers us to see that they are being mistreated. Even if you’re not a part of the Asian community, it should be easy to understand that hurting the already vulnerable is heartbreaking and upsetting.

person comforting old man

#3: Social media has been a powerful tool for people to spread more awareness and show their support, but I know that not everyone is comfortable speaking about these kinds of topics on public platforms. It’s frustrating and quite frankly, difficult to even put into words, which I completely understand. I want to remind everyone that being a silent supporter can be just as important and powerful as someone who is vocal and constantly educating those around them. Some ways include educating yourself on the historical and current contexts of Anti-Asian hate, educating your close friends and family, and donating whatever you can to the victims and the causes — all of which are very meaningful and powerful ways to show your support.

Below are some resources that can give you a better idea of what Anti-Asian racism is and GoFundMe pages that you can feel free to support. We may not be able to erase the trauma and pain the victims have experienced. However, we can definitely replace the material items they’ve lost so they can get back on their feet as quickly as possible and support causes that are dedicated to preventing something like this from happening again.

Funds to install cameras in Oakland, Chinatown, organized by Joanna Au 

Support the AAPI Community Fund, organized by GoFundMe.org

In memory of HyunJungKim to support my brother & I, organized by Randy Park

Oakland Chinatown Safety Fund, organized by Arlene Lum 

#STOPASIANHATE: A Resource Guide

6 Organizations Supporting the AAPI Community

Forward, Together: Addressing Anti-Asian Hate and Systemic Racism​ (Note: The event passed, but there are helpful resources below the page to educate people on Anti-Asian hate.​)

Stop AAPI Hate