University Organizations Host Discussion on Anti-Asian Racism

Jack Birle, Staff Writer

In light of recent increases in anti-Asian hate crimes, several University organizations united to host a discussion on anti-Asian violence.

The event was held on Thursday, Mar. 25 via Zoom and featured several speakers and opportunities for attendees to share their experiences with anti-Asian racism.

The discussion was hosted by several University organizations, including the Asian Studies Program, ASCEND, the Chinese Student Association, the Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies, the Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority and the South Asian Multicultural Organized Student Organization.

One of the first speakers was the University’s Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Adele Lindenmeyr, Ph.D. Lindenmeyr expressed support for the discussion and for hearing the experiences of others as it relates to anti-Asian racism.

“I am attending the listen and learn,” Lindenmeyr said. “I am looking forward to learning from this event so that the college {of Liberal Arts and Sciences] can take some informed steps to continue to improve inclusion and the climate at the University at large.”

The discussion included the recent rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, along with the history of anti-Asian racism and the “model minority” myth.

The recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes have been attributed to some members of the public blaming the novel coronavirus on Asian Americans.

Recently, there have been several attacks against Asian Americans in San Francisco, an attack on an Asian American family in a Texas Sam’s Club store and the recent shooting in Atlanta, which left six Asian women dead. 

As of the publishing of this article, Atlanta police have yet to find a motive for the shooting in several spas but believe sex addiction to be a more likely cause than anti-Asian racism.

Historic events against Asian Americans were also talked about in the discussion, including the Chinese Exclusion Act and Former President Roosevelt’s executive order 9066, which sent Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. 

The model minority myth was explained to be an expectation that Asian Americans are a minority group who are all successful and have no struggles in society or need for any type of assistance.

Attendees of the event were also encouraged to discuss the model minority myth in the first of three breakout rooms. The breakout rooms were created with a moderator and allowed for all attendees to share their experiences and their understanding of issues facing the Asian American communities. 

Junior Kaitlyn Quijano discussed the idea of intergenerational trauma and how it affects the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

“This internalization of suffering and trauma that resides in this collectivist mindset that is very much a part and is ingrained in Asian culture,” Quijano said. “This idea of balance and harmony within family dynamics that we don’t want to disrupt and this can lead to bottling up and suppressing negative feelings for the sake of ‘saving face.’”

Quijano also talked about the pressure from not wanting to be a failure within Asian families and how mental health is stigmatized in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. She mentioned that Asian Americans are three times less likely to seek help with mental health compared to white Americans.

The discussion featured several other speakers including other students and professors from the University who discussed several issues facing the Asian American community.

The event ended with closing remarks hoping to curb anti-Asian racism by advocating for attendees to not be passive by-standers and to stop hate against Asian Americans when they witness it.