It is no surprise that we find ourselves here, in the heat of another outbreak of the vile disease many don’t want to tackle head on, racism in America. As great a country as we can be, we can never seem to grapple with our own nations' discord. It makes sense. Our culture is founded on racist morals and values that still flow into every aspect of our society today. Many people are struggling to work, just to survive, they don’t have the luxury to realize, study and identify problems let alone join the fight against these things. For others, they stay silent thinking that it is better to slide under radar instead of facing these societal hardships head-on. It is not our place at The Club to tell anyone how they should handle, react and face these problems but it is our place to stand up for our fellow human beings and call out injustice where we see it. Hate crimes, targeted racism and prejudice against Asians has exploded this past year, and is devastating. Just last month in Atlanta a white man shot and killed 8 people, six of whom were Asian. The number of street attacks on the Asian Elderly community has skyrocketed in some cities and it's safe to assume that Asians do not feel safe. When George Floyd was killed the nation was shook. One life lost, was one too many. So where is the outrage for our fellow Asian citizens? Is this not the fight for equality and standing up against white supremacy? Yes it is and it comes in many ways. Let's take a look at the history of Asian Americans in this country, how we got to this boiling point and ways that we can stand up and advocate the Asian community.
The point of us writing this article is not to pit POC against each other, we get that on the daily already. In a nation with an unprecedented amount of varying culture it's important to understand that no two people are alike. Let's take a brief look at the influx of Asians into this country. Like all immigrants chasing the American Dream, Asians are a part of our dark history. There is this prominent misconception about Asian people. The typical Asian is smart, excels in school, gets jobs as doctors and lives quietly. Ever heard of the term “model minority.” I’m sure many of you know that you can’t just boil down a whole people to this. What happens to the water that splashes out of the pot?
In the early to mid 1800s many immigrants crossed oceans and arrived on US Shores to work the railroads. Of this wave there was a huge influx of Chinese immigrants. These early pioneers were faced with extreme inequality and prejudice. For obvious reasons like language barriers and racism they took low paying, high risk jobs. The next 100 years were no better. There were various acts and laws passed that were aimed at Chinese immigrants barring women into our nation, and eventually Chinese people all together. Those laws implemented were not followed as Chinese immigrants and asian Immigrants from other places continued to arrive. During this time Japanese people started to arrive as well and by the civil war there was documentation of Asians fighting on both sides.
In the new millennia better working conditions for Asians did not improve and the attack on Pearl Harbor followed by the Cold War did nothing to alleviate the tensions between Asian immigrants, Asian Americans and the US.
For brevity's sake, we will only discuss the major events that occurred in the 1900s. While the world was off fighting the Nazi’s Japan, who was having a prosperous period bombed Pearl Harbor. During this period more than 120,00 Asian Americans were detained and held captive in internment camps from 1942 to 1945. Let's say it again, Asian Americans, our own people who at this point do not have ties or have never visited their ancestors homeland were held against their will for years. This is the biggest infringement on our constitution and the people who live in this nation. But it goes to show you that the law and its benefits is only available to the select few.
During the 1990s, Black Americans were again in the streets fighting for justice, yet during these protests many Korean-Americans were the targets of hate from Black Americans. In LA their shops were burned down and many fights broke out.
9/11 also caused a lot of backlash toward Asians Now that you are more aware of the violent history Asians have endured and continue to endure its time to implement change. Below are some links to where you can help sustain change. If you're a person who loves to be directly involved, ACLU is a great organization to start at. Call up your local chapter of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice.