What is Causing the Violence against the Asian American Community? By Ed Conn In the past few months, we have seen these headlines on the news: Shocking video shows 91-yearold man senselessly pushed to the ground in Oakland’s Chinatown. Man slashed across face in subway speaks out, mayor denies crime problem. Grandmother 64, Robbed of $1,000 in Cash for Lunar New Year in San Jose. Family of Thai immigrant, 84, says fatal attack ‘was driven by hate.’ Family: 30-year-old Navy vet died after Northern California police placed knee on his neck. These incidents all occurred in a two-week period in February 2021. And they are not isolated incidents. Violence against Asian Americans is on the rise. •20 incidents in the months of January and February in Oakland Chinatown •1900% increase in Asian-American hate crimes in NYC •2,808 incidents of violence in 2020 recorded by STOP AAPI HATE Page 6 From 2017 to 2019, the organization received less than 500 reported instances of hate against Asian Americans. 150% increase in hate-fueled attacks across major cities (ED – is this sentence in the right place?) Three factors are attributed towards the increased violence: Anti-Asian sentiment propagated by the government; the model minority myth; and lack of media coverage. Government Influence and A History of Exclusion Since the late 19th century, we have seen anti-Asian sentiment through government action and policy-making decisions. In 1880, resentment of immigrants coming from China to work paved the way for the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was the first, and remains the only law to have been implemented, to prevent all members of a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. With the increase of anti-immigrant movements like ‘100 percent Americanism,’ the second major piece of anti-Asian legislation came in 1917, with the enactment of the Asiatic Barred Zone Act that aimed to restrict immigration by imposing literacy tests to immigrants, and bar all immigration for Asian Pacific countries. The third major government action against an Asian community was President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which allowed regional military commanders to designate zones where any or all persons may be excluded. Although it did not mention any group by name, more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps under this order. Families were displaced, and homes and businesses were confiscated. Recently, Americans witnessed President Trump make several ethnic slurs as he provided alternative names to the coronavirus including Chinese Virus and Kung Flu. We now have new evidence that shows such radicalized language prompted many Americans to blame Chinese Americans for Covid-19. Model Minority Myth Another phenomenon contributing to the scapegoating of Asians is the Model Minority Myth, coined in 1966, which suggests that “Asian Americans are more successful that other ethnic minorities because of hard work, education and inherently law-abiding nature.” This myth has been propagated with movies and series such as Crazy Rich Asians and Bling Empire. On the surface, it reads like a compliment. Positive phrases like educated and hardworking might look good on a resume, but in reality, this overgeneralization of a racial group is incredibly harmful. “These stereotypes hide the differences within Asian communities,” says Xiaobei Chen, A professor of sociology at Carleton University in Ottawa. In fact, income inequality in the U.S. is rising rapidly among Asians. Asians have displaced Blacks as the most economically-divided group in the U.S. In New York City, Asian Americans have the highest poverty rate, but stereotypes make the issue all but invisiMedia's Role Media coverage of the Asian-American communities, or lack of it, has played a major role in keeping the minority myth alive and downplaying the true economic picture. Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing minority groups in the country with the populations doubling since 2000, but in comparison to white Americans, Black Americans, and Latinos, research suggests Asian Americans do not receive as much media attention. Many academics have used the words such as unseen and absent to describe Asian American portrayal in media. Researchers also found that Asian Americans are displayed differently in news ads than other minorities. Black and Latino models are shown in a wide variety of settings while Asian models are shown often in the workplace. Older Asian Americans are also shown as wealthy and secure while elderly African Americans are displayed in the opposite manner. South Asian and Southeast Asians are less visibly seen in ads. So, what? All of this leads to unreported incidents of violence, along with a stigma that Asian Americans don’t experience racism and discrimination. Collectively we can fight it by educating ourselves, speaking up, and standing by our Asian American brothers and sisters. ble. Despite the poverty rate, Asian Americans aren’t receiving many resources in New York City. From 2002 to 2014, they received 1.4 percent of the city’s social service funds.

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