Solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Photo courtesy of Journey Sherman

The recent surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is not an issue that only impacts those communities. In fact, everyone who was standing up for Black lives and supported the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer needs to also show solidarity for Asian lives as well. Although the relationship between Black and Asian Americans in history has been by no means perfect, it is time to close the divide.

Over the course of history, these two groups have been pitted against each other by society. One primary instance of this is the “Model Minority” myth, which is a common stereotype depicting Asian Americans as the ideal minority in America. This notion only caused a further divide between Asian Americans and other groups. Not only is this sentiment divisive, but it bolsters a binary of good versus bad minorities.

It is no secret that our last president fanned the flames of anti-Asian sentiments at the height of the pandemic through means of Anti-China rhetoric.

Fortunately as of late January, President Joe Biden has condemned xenophobic sentiment and has tried to combat the resurgence of anti-Asian crimes, but this is not enough.

Although it is a fantastic first step, it will take all of us to step up for our Asian brothers and sisters.

We need to put action behind our words and stop xenophobic hate speech in its tracks. Whether it’s a family member, friend or total stranger spewing anti-Asian rhetoric, hate is hate. No more hiding behind social media and feeling like reposting something is enough.

Since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago, New York City has seen an uptick in Anti-Asian hate crimes by 1,900%. Even though this figure is from one city, these events are occurring from coast to coast.

This is absurd and it is a shame that these events are not getting more news coverage. If it weren’t for social media, I would have had no idea that this was even going on. Asian Americans deserve more than hashtags and flashy infographics.

Even more alarming is that it’s elderly Asian Americans that are being targeted most. Had it not been for a 61-year-old Filipino man getting brutally attacked on a New York subway, I fear that many non-Asian Americans wouldn’t have even acknowledged the extreme rise in these crimes.

People of color should not have to be brutalized and turned into a viral video to garner attention for issues that are plaguing them. I ask the administration to pledge to protect its Asian and Pacific Islander students against hate crimes on campus. Because it seems like these issues are staying under the radar, it is only a matter of time until we start to see instances like these on college campuses. Likewise, Tech has roughly a 20% Asian population and it is impossible to discuss the student experience at Tech without paying attention to the Asian student body as well. For this reason, it is imperative that Tech acknowledges these ongoing hate crimes.

This past year we have all witnessed countless instances of racial injustice and saw the majority of corporations and media platforms stand up against it. We have to continue standing in solidarity with one another. The time has come to bridge the gap between minorities and recognize that while we have different struggles, the only way to mitigate them is to come together.