A Short History of Recent Anti-Asian Violence in the US
February 20, 2021 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Anti-Asian violence in the US did not just start with the covid-19 pandemic, but it has escalated recently. In recent weeks, the Bay Area has gotten attention for many horrific, violent attacks on Asian elders in the community. It can be hard to separate the violence of anti-Asian racism from the violence of everyday poverty and neglect from the state.

In NYC Asian American parents are scared to send their kids back to school, afraid of being targeted by adults for anti-Asian violence.

Proposed solutions have been wide-ranging with varying outcomes.

An Oakland Chinatown shop owner who intervened in a robbery was arrested for firing his gun.

In recent days Asian Americans, including celebrities like Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu have made public appeals to combat racism and violence against Asian Americans. Black and Asian American communities have spoken out against being pitted against each other by politicians.

Daniel Wu and W. Kamau Bell spoke with ABC7 about the importance of allyship during the recent spate of violence.

Many Asian American community organizations have argued against more policing as the solution to anti-Asian violence.

But in an act of solidarity to stand against this hate, a multiracial crowd of hundreds gathered at Oakland’s Madison Park — located in the city's Chinatown — on Saturday afternoon to show support for the reeling community.

Volunteers in Oakland are offering to escort the elderly.

Other proposed suggestions for combating anti-Asian violence include bystander intervention training, community involvement, and inter-community and inter-racial dialogue.
posted by toastyk (28 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
My 75 year-old neighbor Mr. Kim was killed by a blow to the head in the middle of the day in front of his own home on Halloween and somehow it was ruled he was "the aggressor" and the case was dropped.

I didn't know Mr. Kim really and I don't know what the police would have found out through their investigation, but just based on the smell test, this stinks to high heaven.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:31 AM on February 20 [28 favorites]

DirtyOldTown, that is terrible.
posted by toastyk at 10:07 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]

How is a 75yo aggressive enough that your only defense is beating them repeatedly in the head?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:21 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]

These are great links and I wouldn't want to derail even into this kind of germane single case. But yeah, it's stayed on my mind. I have trouble imagining a scenario in which someone beats an elderly person in their driveway and then leaves while they are dying and the cops track them down later and decide, "Yes, this is all totally on the up and up. Please carry on."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:26 AM on February 20 [6 favorites]

Yikes. This reminds me of being in community college shortly after 9/11 and our student government having to organize a volunteer escort program for walking Muslim women to their cars because the parking lots were far from the classrooms and people were harassing and threatening anyone in a hijab who was walking alone. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 10:32 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]

There will be an online dumpling class fundraiser held today (February 20) at 12:00 noon Pacific time: Dumplings for Unity.

Eater SF: As Emotions Run High in Oakland Chinatown, a Dumpling Class Promotes Asian and Black Unity
Wilkins and Chang say that part of the rage they felt stemmed from the fact that, initially, it didn’t seem like the mainstream media was even covering the attacks at all. “This event was created as a response to the anger and the helplessness that came up,” says Wilkins, a fourth-generation Japanese American. “My grandmother is 95. I can’t help but see her face and imagine her when I’m seeing these images.”

But then, Chang says, when the attacks did start to get nationwide attention, it seemed like the narrative that was being pushed was that it was “Asian against Black,” with a lot of inflammatory rhetoric directed toward the Black community in general, as well as calls for more intense police presence in Chinatown — both trends that made Chang uncomfortable.

“We have to call the demon out for what it is,” Chang says. “It is system racism: There is a history in this country of the system pitting [the Asian and Black] communities against each other.”

What, then, can a 90-minute cooking class do to solve a problem as deeply entrenched as systemic racism? Not much, perhaps. That said, the Dumplings for Unity workshop is the spiritual descendent of “Dumplings for Black Farmers,” a series of cook-along events that Chang’s friend, Christine Su, started in San Francisco over the summer in solidarity with the George Floyd protests. Chang was one of the featured cooks for those classes, which raised thousands of dollars to support local Black-owned farms.
posted by Lexica at 10:35 AM on February 20 [18 favorites]

Yes, demanding to call it "The China Flu" and then claiming that somehow isn't racist results in absolute horseshit like this and I fucking dare any nitwit to try to to convince me otherwise.

The comparisons to post-9/11 violence against the Muslim community (read: anyone brown who looks "foreign") are apt, because with how stupid some of these chucklefucks are, you can bet your ass that just like with "Muslims" being anyone with brown skin looking foreign, this will be happening to anyone looking generically "Asian," which includes basically every other Asian country on top of China and also includes mixed children who were born in the US.

What a god damned clusterfuck this racist ass nation is.

Also, for Mr. Kim and all other victims of this violence:

posted by deadaluspark at 10:54 AM on February 20 [17 favorites]

I'm Asian American and I experienced this on a minor scale. Friends of friends have been spit on, called racial epithets, followed down the street, they got it much worse than I did.

At the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 I got dirty looks for wearing a mask, and I have immigrant Chinese friends who didn't feel safe going out to non-Asian businesses while masked up, given the kind of derision, scorn and hostility that they were receiving.

The tensions in Oakland are real -- I lived a couple blocks from Chinatown in the '90s and the '10s and there's always been some tensions between the Black and Asian communities -- I got jumped once and had homophobic insults lobbed at me (not gay but so what if I was?) and narrowly escaped, I also saw a Chinese store owner get into it with a Black woman where I couldn't tell who was in the right, for all I know the guy was unfairly asking the woman to leave his store. On the other hand, there are also a lot of cross-racial friendships and political organizing that go on there as well, dating back years. To put this in perspective for people, Oakland Chinatown is just a couple blocks from the Alameda County Courthouse where the State of California put Huey Newton on trial and the FBI bugged the bus stop a couple years ago, and maybe 1/4 a mile from 1200 Lakeshore, where Newton lived in the penthouse for a while. My old roommate and I toured an apartment there once but even back then it was more than we could afford. Oakland Chinatown is also right next to where protests have been kicking off for years -- Oscar Grant, Occupy (marches and a camp), BLM, and George Floyd actions have gone off near and in that neighborhood. I can also see why Asian Americans in Oakland might not want to have more police involvement given that a previously well regarded officer formerly assigned to the Asian/Chinatown anti-gang unit plead guilty to taking bribes from a gangster who executed two people in Mendocino. That's setting aside concerns folks may have regarding the police as an overall institution.

All of this is to say that Oakland specifically and the Bay Area generally were the site of both uprisings as well as decades long campaigns of counterinsurgency. In my opinion the long term counterinsurgency campaigns have contributed to increasing social friction between Black and Asian communities. And now with the internet, if you go on reddit you can see what appears to me to be a dedicated effort by fascists to stoke tensions as well -- they've been trying for years to use Asian Americans as a wedge against Black people, and there are some people who are only too happy to oblige. There are plenty of Asian Americans with strong anti-Black sentiments, just as there are plenty of Black people with anti-Asian American sentiment. It's real and difficult to discuss without providing an opening for the worst kind of cultural nationalist (or should I say cultural narcissist?) participants rearing their heads.
posted by wuwei at 12:36 PM on February 20 [46 favorites]

Thank you wuwei for noting that the local crypto-Republicans and fascists that seem to run r/sanfrancisco and r/bayarea have been using the tension between the Black and Asian American communities to push a general anti-progressive agenda. So many trash posts designed to elicit hatred in both communities that get left up by the mods that are interspersed between innocuous feel-good posts and pictures of the beautiful Bay Area. If I see another anti-Chesa screed I think I'll lose it! It's actually quite depressing because of all the history of solidarity between the two groups (not turning a blind eye to the difficulties between the groups either.).
posted by flamk at 1:09 PM on February 20 [9 favorites]

wuwei: And now with the internet, if you go on reddit you can see what appears to me to be a dedicated effort by fascists to stoke tensions as well -- they've been trying for years to use Asian Americans as a wedge against Black people

Also on the Chinese-language forums that cater to recent immigrants. I swear, there is somebody out there who is very, very dedicated to translating all the latest alt-right bullshit into Chinese, directly from 4chan, and posting it on those boards. I am losing a loved one to this path of hatred. It started with anger at affirmative action in higher education, seen as an attack from liberals against the Asian community. Now it's metastasized into full-blown "black people are better off as a result of slavery". Bizarre and awful, and I am at a loss for how to combat it.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:11 PM on February 20 [27 favorites]

Thank you wuwei for noting that the local crypto-Republicans and fascists that seem to run r/sanfrancisco and r/bayarea have been using the tension between the Black and Asian American communities to push a general anti-progressive agenda.

I'm glad I'm not the only one unsettled by the 'we need to talk about blaming the black commmunity for black violence against asians' posts on reddit.
posted by pwnguin at 1:14 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]

qxntpqbbbqxl, I've noticed the same thing, second hand, from middle-aged/older Chinese immigrants I'm close to who closely follow Chinese news and social media. I was shocked by some of the Trump sympathies coming out of their mouths. I specifically remember them equating "cancel culture" to fears of an nascent American Cultural Revolution. Totally anecdotal, of course, but it was shocking and sad.
posted by flamk at 1:16 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]

qxntpqbbbqxl: Sorry to hear about your relative, the alt right WeChat bullshit seems to be increasing from what I hear (doesn't work on my piece of crap phone so I guess I'm spared that). The folks over at Lausan have been writing a lot of solid left/internationalist commentary in Chinese which might be helpful (?) to you? They're solidly in the 'yellow' HK camp though so yeah, not sure how your relative might feel about it.

All of this is exacerbated by the Chinese Communist Party's turn to the right and abandonment of any type of internationalist commitments. It has real consequences. A friend of mine who is from the Carribean told me that when he was growing up in NYC in the 90s he and his family lived in a mostly Caribbean/Chinese immigrant area and they didn't have tensions with their neighbors, they played ball together and it was fine. He said he's seen the tensions rise in the last few years. Most of his Chinese immigrant neighbors back in the day would have gone to school when China still held itself out as a leader of Third World revolution, and provided aid to Black American and African revolutionaries. Those days are over now. I saw it in the 90s when I met 20 something Chinese people who were avid consumers of American media -- they asked me if Black people in the United States were all criminals. Yeah. Fast forward a couple decades and here we are.
posted by wuwei at 1:48 PM on February 20 [14 favorites]

Thanks, wuwei, for your comments. This topic’s been on my mind and the rising tension between Black and Asian communities has me worried that a riot will break out and more people will get hurt.

I specifically remember them equating "cancel culture" to fears of an nascent American Cultural Revolution. Totally anecdotal, of course, but it was shocking and sad.

This is totally a thing. Honestly right wing talking points resonate with Asian culture: the belief in punishment and “deservingness.” Many Asian immigrants believe that assistance —> laziness. They are against affirmative action and restorative justice.

IMO the tension is part of a backlash to what’s going on in the Bay Area and unease about progressive momentum. A lot of changes are happening: DA Chesa Boudin’s restorative justice agenda and Lowell High’s admission change.

The most alarming far-right meddling is white fascists telling Asians “The only people with more to lose than white people are Asians.”
posted by ichomp at 6:30 PM on February 20 [10 favorites]

On the off chance it was missed, the China:Neo-Nazi link has been noted before on the blue.
posted by fragmede at 9:22 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]

A firearms transfer agent I know in the south bay has had lines out in the parking lot all day, every day for the last year. He's your typical white republican gun nerd, but 80%+ of his customers are Asian these days. I've always associated the gun buying panics with white people, but that is definitely not what's happening locally. I don't think the Asian community has a lot of faith in the police keeping them safe.
posted by ryanrs at 10:30 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

Being Asian (looks ABC but isn't) makes for an interesting perspective in SF. There are enough Asians here that you don't really "stand out", but that's SF Bay Area. I know as you go in-land the Asian faces started to get rarer and rarer.

COVIDiocy doesn't help at all. Criminals targeting seniors is nothing new, and Chinatown seniors were frequent targets, esp. due to language barrier. IMHO, this is just Baader-Meinhoff effect around Lunar New Years.

And in times of national stress mob behavior are often at its worst. We'd like to believe that we are beyond the times where vigilante mob hung 17 Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles in 1871, specifically blamed Chinese immigrants smallpox outbreak in 1875 by no less than the city health office, or had a mob chase out all the residents of Tacoma Washington Chinatown in 1885, but we are actually not far from it.

Who can forget "adjacent racism"? Vincent Chin was beaten to death in Detroit in 1982 by two white auto workers who assumed he's Japanese and therefore to blame for decline of Detroit, and neither served time in jail. After 9/11 hundreds of Sikhs were attacked just because they wore a turban like OBL. The most stupid? Anti-Japanese and Anti-Asian violence after release of the movie Pearl Harbor. back in 2001.

Back when COVID was at its peak around the world, Trump sure wasn't helping things calling it "Chinese virus", fueling anti-Asian sentiments, further fueling troll sites like 4chan with commenters calling for "nuke China now for bio-terrorism". Trump emboldened those who did not consider it "socially appropriate" to verbalize their hate in public, on- or offline, and decided it is their "freedom" to verbalize "the truth" since (IM)POTUS said it.

It's not a race war. But some people want to make it one for their own selfish reasons.
posted by kschang at 3:58 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]

ichomp, could you expand more regarding DA Chesa Boudin? Even among some more progressive friends, they have been complaining about him and there's this perception that he's not doing anything to keep SF safe. I was not super-familiar with him but I learned he was able to get Sing Tao to endorse him. I wonder if recent events have changed anything?

Additionally things are scary for a lot of Asian people. I have friends and neighbors, who, in recent weeks: had their tires slashed, gotten robbed in front of their own houses, held up at gunpoint, car windows smashed for seemingly no reason, etc. And while no one got physically hurt in these encounters, it's traumatizing and exhausting on top of all the other stuff they're dealing with. They are not rich; they still need to take care of their families, and go to high-risk jobs in a pandemic. I honestly don't know what good solutions there are to keep people safe. My relatives' neighbors just formed their own WeChat neighborhood watch group after an incident. They've been begging for at least a foot patrol for years, and to arrest known repeat offenders, whom have been caught on camera for years, but it's fallen on deaf ears. They honestly don't feel seen or acknowledged....none of those incidents make the press, so I don't find it surprising that they decide, oh maybe I should get some guns to protect myself and my family.

Also, thanks for illuminating the reddit stuff. Honestly I've been a bit weirded out by the local forums, but I couldn't figure out why.
posted by toastyk at 7:41 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]

Boudin doesn't really believe in incarceration, but that's what happens when you have a father behind bars for life, perfectly understandable. For such a guy, his lobbying effort in the Asian community is commendable, but even then his election was a squeaker. He picked a Chinese name that's actually pretty well done (博徹思) and he was quick to press charges against some high-profile attacks against Asians back at the beginning of 2020, and fear of COVID lead to several attacks and vandalism incidents in Chinatown.

It's also worth pointing out that Boudin made his career as a public DEFENDER, not a prosecutor. And he was able to "hire" Jim Stearns, who launched Kamala Harris' career as DA of San Francisco way back when, for his own campaign, and that, IMHO, really cemented his campaign success. Even then the race against Susan Loftus was so close it was less than a percentage point of votes, IIRC. But it could also be bad strategy of the Loftus campaign, according to analysts.
posted by kschang at 12:59 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]

The backlash is that it's not understandable to many. San Francisco residents want criminals that assault people or break into cars and homes to go to jail and see putting criminals in jails as a rather fundamental part of the social contract that many aren't ready to give up, despite harmful and thoroughly racist affect. Boudin's broader belief is that jailing offenders does not help get to the goal of a safer city but NOT sending criminals to jail is too progressive for many San Francisco residents who are tired of having their belongings stolen and don't want to have to replace their car windows or catalytic converters.

It turns out housing policy is not the only thing that San Francisco is conservative on.
posted by fragmede at 9:26 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]

fragmede: I believe that a lot of the upset is related to Boudin's policy that ends pretrial detention and cash bail, as promised in his campaign. He is still prosecuting people and sending them to jail/prison. I should note too, that in the case of first offenders, even if they are charged with assault they aren't criminals until they are convicted. This matters in the sense that pretrial detention is not supposed to be punishment, under our system, and there is a constitutional right to bail.

This may not matter to people, and I understand that for many, a harsher and crueler prison system is desireable, perhaps, a return to 1990s levels of incarceration and enforcement, or even harsher. I'm sure there are many people who would love to see a Singaporean style enforcement regime in the US -- I've known many people like that actually. I don't agree with them and am far too weird to survive living in a police state, but I've heard the argument many times. From this point of view, as soon as the police accuse someone of a crime, the trial should be a mere incident to punishment, which should start at the moment of apprehension. It makes sense -- if one believes that they are in the select group whom the law should protect but not bind, then it isn't surprising that they will seek to employ the law against those whom they believe it should bind but not protect, in defense of their interests. This is especially true for the small business owner class who sometimes short their employees on wages, violate the labor code to break unions, and see themselves beset on all sides. On one side there are the big firms like Amazon crushing them, on the other are robbers and burglars who attack their businesses and customers. Typically the Big internet firms or banks don't have these worries because of course their margins are wide enough to employ armed security guards, whether in uniform, or plainclothes, the high end type of security teams that comprise retired law enforcement officers who, even in San Francisco, have concealed carry privileges.

San Francisco progressives, on the other hand, are in a particularly bad spot given that diversion of police and carceral resources to social programs can't actually address the social exclusion that comes from vast income inequality and incredible cost of living driven by real estate prices that are set mostly by the financial sector. So, I expect property crime, street attacks and so forth to continue to escalate. I accept that as a cost of change but I'm also a cis male who has been in some scraps and generally knows when to run like hell. Would I feel that way if I had kids? I have a friend with a similar background, solid progressive to the core, who has a kid now, and he won't go downtown to the Market Street area with his family because he doesn't feel like he can protect them from the kind of danger he senses on those streets. And of course, all the seniors who have been attacked, blindsided really, where the presence of a firearm wouldn't have made a difference since they didn't see the bull rush coming at all.

How much of that risk San Franciscans going to tolerate in the name of morality and social justice is hard to say, but given that, unlike in say, Houston, almost all non-law enforcement San Franciscans are deprived of carrying the most effective self-protection tool -- a handgun -- I wonder how much longer this situation can hold up before a sharp conservative backlash. I believe it to be a difficult moral case to make to ask people to both accept a higher risk of violent attack and also simultaneously deprive them of the most effective defense. To ryanrs' comment above, it seems reasonable to me that people would at least want to have a firearm to legally protect themselves at home, given the situation. I've seen some Nest camera footage of home invasion robberies and it's frightening. While individual gun ownership/legal concealed carry is certainly not a systemic solution to the problem, it's better than nothing.

ichomp: You're welcome. The topic has been on my mind a lot as well, and I'm glad that we can have a conversation about it in this space, thanks to you and other commentors for keeping this an even keeled discussion. I would be afraid to discuss this topic on reddit, for example. It seems to me we're just going to have more and more of the right wing/bordering on fascist Chinese folks since that's the class composition of many of the recent immigrants -- petty bourgeois, to use the Marxist term. That is, small business owners or highly educated professionals with most of their money tied up in a single family home. It's kind of terrible too because the concerns of the most exploited Chinese immigrants aren't heard -- these are the people working in the back of restaurants or markets, exploited by their own people. Same as it ever was, I guess. You're right about the Lowell thing too -- the cult of education is really strong, even when it isn't financially the right decision and might actually be a higher risk play that people realize. What I mean is, the effort to buy the house in the very expensive neighborhood to attempt to send kids to a highly competitive high school and seek admittance to a very expensive college and then very expensive professional school might not be a good plan given the nature of the downside risk of middle aged unemployment for tech workers paying for it all. I used to know someone who was a financial aid officer at a major university and she saw this all the time when she reviewed FAFSAs -- people who were heavily leveraged into their house, basically one bout of unemployment away from losing it all. Then their kids take on non-discharagable student loans to pay for medical school/law school/MBA and...this is a shitshow.

All of this is a long way of saying that I think your concerns over fascist recruitment are very real. What we're dealing with is a class of petty bourgeois people whose earnings and social conditions have become precarious due to the overall political environment. And those are the type of folks who make up the bedrock of fascist movements. Fascism is a lot about narcissism, and when I hear Chinese Americans saying that "we value education that's why we're successful not like [some group]" I know I'm listening to someone deep in their narcissism, who is choosing to ignore the fact that in China lots of people don't go to college, those are the people in the factories and KTV hostess rooms. But like a lot of immigrant American communities, a slice of people from the origin culture start to define their narrow class norms as the entire culture.

I agree with your comments about American right wing appeals to a lot of Asian people. Have you read Lu Xun? He really went in on this kind of tendency:
Wanting to eat men, at the same time afraid of being eaten themselves, they all all look at each other with the deepest suspicion. . . .
Diary of a Madman
But in thinking as I write this, perhaps what Lu Xun was writing about is more broadly applicable than just to Asian culture. There are so many people all over the world for generations who have totally bought into ideas about hierarchy, domination, and the right of those with more to rule those with less. What was it Marx said? "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."
posted by wuwei at 11:23 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies will be holding a free 45-minute webinar on Thursday, 2/25, at 12:00 noon Eastern/9:00 AM Pacific on the topic of Race in America: Where Is the Coverage of Anti-Asian Harassment and Violence?
The stories are shocking — 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died of wounds suffered when a stranger knocked him down on a San Francisco street. A 91-year-old man who was thrown to the ground on a street in Oakland, California. A Filipino man on his way to work slashed in the face on a New York City subway train — it took 100 stitches to close the wounds. Why haven’t these seemingly random acts of anti-Asian violence received more media attention? Join Poynter’s Joie Chen as she talks to Juju Chang of ABC News and Weijia Jiang of CBS News. You’ll discover what Chang, co-anchor of “Nightline,” and White House correspondent Jiang have learned about the Asian American experience through their reporting. You’ll emerge with ideas about where to take your coverage of this topic.

Journalists, educators and citizens are invited to tune in for this free On Poynt session Thursday, Feb. 25, at noon Eastern. There will be time for questions at the end of the session, moderated by Chen.
posted by Lexica at 9:37 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]

If we are being 100% honest, a large number of Asian immigrants are just fine with white supremacy. It's what they know, it's what they're comfortable with, and it's what they expected (signed up for, even) when they came here. They see no reason to push back against it.

I remember a lot of Chinese Americans feeling uneasy when the George Floyd protests were going on last year. They felt that a Cultural Revolution was happening in the U.S., not realizing that if an authoritarian regime were to happen here, it would be a Right wing regime, and never a Leftist one.

Some of the talking points s appearing on the new immigrant online forums were really alarming: affirmative action hurts African Americans, early Chinese Americans were slaves too, Black people should make something good out of their situations like Asians, and welfare makes people lazy. It's very much MOVE ON FROM SLAVERY ALREADY! and completely devoid of empathy.

Then during election season, some Asians were saying that Democrats focus too much on the "1%" aka the ~deviants~ of society: trans people, Black and brown folks, undocumented immigrants, etc. They feel that the deviants were mattering "too much" and "normal" folks were being overlooked.

It's the exact same points being sold to aggrieved white people.
posted by ichomp at 3:49 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]

@ichomp -- I understand the attitude. There are two general reactions to a system: work within the system (malicious compliance?), or work to change the system (either get into position of power and subvert it, or overthrow it entirely). People who came from authoritarian societies tend to do the former, while people who grew up in a democratic society tend to favor the latter. At least that's from my own observations.

And to put it plainly, China (and to a lesser extent, Taiwan) had always been authoritarian. Before the Republic revolution, it was an empire. After the republic was established, it was supposedly democratic, but it immediately fell into the warlord period (Yuan Shikai, et al) then the Japanese invaded and Generalissimo Chiang basically had to take absolute power to fight enemies without and within. Post WW2, it's still authoritarian, with the CCP being the ruler (and on Taiwan, Chiang and later his son kept on ruling). So Chinese emigrants were used to working within the system, and prefers to take maximum advantage of the available system, rather than wanting to change it, as dissidents in BOTH systems (both China and Taiwan) were heavily suppressed.

Never mind the cognitive dissonance as this is counter to all the Asian "go-getter" attitude (tiger mom, etc.) They see it as gaming the system.

I think it's also worth pointing out that Chinese-Americans used to be moderate Republicans, being pro-business. Democrats had a (unfair?) reputation among Chinese Americans. of being a social welfare party that wanted to tax businesses for their programs. This is yet another factor that puts them at odds with the stereotypical democrat. This didn't change until relatively recently... CNN/NYT exit polls of Asian Americans since 1992 shows that Asian Americans was mostly Republicans but flipped right around 1996 and later.

I don't hang around immigrant forums so I don't know what the trend is there,
posted by kschang at 6:14 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

Stories of Solidarity: A Virtual Town Hall & Concert w/ API x Black Artists in Oakland - This is a free FB Live event streaming Thurs at 5PM Pacific.

(I think we're starting to stray from the main topic a bit? I have the same reservations about right-wing Asians and their attitudes, so I get it, but there is currently a ton of community work and outreach being pushed right now by progressive Asians and Asian-Americans (activists or not) in our Chinatowns and elsewhere, and I feel like there should be more focus on them.)

Ronny Chieng's advice on what Hollywood can do about violence against Asians in the US: Storytelling. And journalists reporting their stories and actors who have a platform thanks to the storytelling industry creating a story in real life with a $25,000 attention-grabbing hook.

The greatness of America is being able to freely, accurately and authentically talk about the world. This freedom of self-expression in storytelling can change the narrative, which changes the culture, which changes how people are treated.

Yes, we all obviously know that it will take more than just storytelling and the glorious double Daniel abs to solve the problem of Asian Americans being attacked on the streets. Ultimately, the people on the ground putting in their time and energy in their communities will be the ones who can make the most difference. It will take actually getting involved in local politics.

The Oakland attacks and the model minority myth: Black and Asian activists reminded their followers that liberation is a shared project against white supremacy and that institutions, like the carceral state, that enforce white supremacy should not serve to alleviate the struggles of one community over another.
posted by toastyk at 8:12 AM on February 24 [4 favorites]

Thanks, toasty k, for bringing us back on track.

Yes, I think we, the progressives, need to take back the narrative from the right-wing Asians who have been more vocal so far.

This feels also like an ongoing reckoning about where Asian Americans stand in relation to other minorities. Even when we disaggregate AsAm and look only at Chinese Americans, there is a hierarchy in our own community.

I credit the on-the-ground organizers for their presence in Chinatowns and for not ceding ground to the mainstream narrative that often gets it so wrong about Black-Asian relations. It's impossible to look at the interpersonal violence without looking at gentrification and how elders have been alienated and pushed out of Chinatowns long before the recent episodes happened.
posted by ichomp at 11:17 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]

OK, I guess we can't escape this aspect of the discussion. I would love to know what is being done to combat disinformation, racist messaging among the WeChats, etc.

Meanwhile: why "hate crime" should be used carefully when talking about violence against Asian Americans.

"Nobody came, nobody helped" Fears of anti-Asian violence rattle the community.

Lainey of LaineyGossip is addressing it in terms of representation, and the recent racist remarks against BTS by some radio host in Germany.
posted by toastyk at 12:32 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]

Re: the Twitter threat - Absolutely. There’s some really sinister stuff circulating the WeChats. I sensed a little bit of it during the George Floyd uprising but can only imagine it is worse now.

I’m honestly worried about where all this is heading.
posted by ichomp at 10:24 PM on February 26

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