Anti-Asian racism in America should be discussed

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

This past year, anti-Asian racism has been brought to light due to the amount of hate crimes and anti-Asian rhetoric going through our media. For those unaffected, it may seem like this is a new thing. However, anti-Asian racism has been a part of U.S. history for a long time.

It’s not extensively taught though, so many people buy into the model minority myth that causes them to ignore and dismiss anti-Asian hate. There are many things that need to be done to stop this hate, and education is one of them.

The model minority myth has convinced a lot of Americans that racism against Asian Americans is non existent.

Many people have this idea that Asians are as successful as white people in America, so when Asian people speak up about racism against them, many people don’t believe it or don’t see it as a big deal.

The education on racism in America is severely limited so most people downplay anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes. But America has a long history of anti-Asian hate racism.

Students do learn about the Japanese American Internment camps in high school but they don’t really learn about how unconstitutional it was. The U.S. completely stripped a group, consisting of over 100,000 people, of their rights based on their ethnicity.  

The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic is not coming from nowhere. Starting in the 1800s, Chinese immigrants were exploited as railroad workers, being beaten, overworked and underpaid.

Some people may remember learning about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act where Chinese immigrants were barred from entering the United States which wasn’t repealed until 1943. 

In 1930, a bunch of white farmers attacked Filipino farm workers in California, resulting in the Watsonville Riots. This had followed a stream of anti-Filipino rhetoric in the country, describing Filipinos as people who were pushing white people out of jobs.

There has also been a number of instances throughout American history of segregation and discrimination against Asian Americans. After 9/11, many South Asians were targeted for hate crimes. 

There is so much to learn about anti-Asian racism in the U.S. that isn’t being widely taught in schools. It makes sense that when the pandemic began, people brushed off terms like “China virus” and jokes about eating bats.

People don’t understand the dense history the U.S. has of anti-Asian racism. This is dangerous as it has led to many Asian Americans being hurt and not being taken seriously when they speak up about it.

As always, one crucial step in fighting racism is education so that people can learn the historical context of what they are fighting against.

They cannot simply just say “Stop Asian Hate” without understanding that anti-Asian racism in the U.S. is systemic and has been built into this country since the 1800s. Schools need to do a better job teaching about anti-Asian racism and just racism in general.

Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]

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