Many thanks to our guest host: Mark Padoongpatt, PhD, Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies program
Stewart Chang, professor of law, UNLV
Vanessa Concepcion, student oral historian, Reflections: The Las Vegas Asian American & Pacific Islander Oral History Project
Vida Lin, president, Asian Community Development Council
Tessa Winklemann, assistant professor of history, UNLV
Anti-Asian Racism, is unfortunately not new, and the COVID-19 pandemic is not solely responsible for it. Many have heard 'new' cries of Stop AAPI hate, and have taken them to mean that there is a newly insidious version of racism taking hold, and that is simply not true. Racism is in fact, insidious, terrifying, and in the cases reported over little more than the last year from Asian and Asian-American communities, it is violent, premeditated, and relies on intimidation. Many of these attack have been targeting the defenseless and elderly, though many young people have also begun to speak up about similar experiences.
The recent rash of violence against Asian Americans has prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to sign into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. It calls for a point person at the Department of Justice to speed up the review of hate crimes. The legislation also provides grants for training and education against racism.
"The roots of (Anti-Asian) racism include the perpetual stereotype, the perpetual foreigner stereotype that we don't belong, and so to change that narrative, we want to educate people. We want to push for ethnic studies. We want to change the narrative in media. Not everything's a hate crime, but a lot of the discrimination we're facing can be protected through civil action." ~ Russell Jeung, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate
Even with the increase in activism, it is essential that we learn about the long history of Anti-Asian discrimination in America. It is traceable back to the first laborers brought to the West were classified in "Yellow Peril" rhetoric, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Internment, and so much more. We hope that talking about these issues will allow this to resonate with you in a new way, and help share the perspective of those you know and interact with, who may have been experiencing similar things.