This is easily the most underreported story of institutionalized anti-Asian and anti-Muslim racism of 2014.
In the months following 9/11, the United States shifted many of its priorities towards counter-terrorism efforts targeting overseas groups and countries in much of Asia and the Middle East. With that new focus came news of broad recruiting efforts; recruits fluent in Asian and Middle Eastern languages became hot commodities for the intelligence community. Many federal agencies launched programs specifically aimed at attracting agents with foreign language capabilities. From a 2012 FBI report to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security:
Following 9/11, the FBI launched a $1.5 million recruitment program that has reportedly significantly enhanced the language diversity of its incoming agents. For many Asian Americans, this new federal focus represented a welcome inroads to the FBI, the State Department, and other historically White federal agencies; by 2012, 4.2% of the FBI’s special agents were Asian American.
However, new reports are suggesting that simultaneous to the federal government’s focus on language diversity and non-White recruiting, secretive policies of racial profiling have subjected Asian American and Muslim American employees of the FBI and the State Department to profound, unreported discrimination.
News of a government-wide blacklisting policy targeting certain federal agents, particularly Asian Americans, was first reported by the Washington Post in 2013. That agency revealed that a series of post-9/11 “guidelines” have been used by the State Department to blacklist certain employees, particularly Asian Americans. Specifically, a White House memo required that federal agencies carefully screen employees for potential “foreign influence” prior to granting security clearance. The Washington Post reported that the State Department has interpreted this memo in a way that has left several Asian American employees suddenly precluded from serving in overseas tours, based largely on the fact that they have extended family living overseas.
60% of Asian Americans are first generation immigrants, with an additional 30% second generation.
The preclusion policy resulted in a culture of distrust towards Asian American employees, most of whom were treated as de facto security risks based on race or ethnicity, regardless of their job performance. Reports the Washington Post:
Today, the New York Times reports that such anti-Asian discrimination is not limited to the State Department; a similar preclusion policy has resulted in the blacklisting of Asian American and Muslim employees at the FBI.
The Obama administration appears interested in making a history of setting superficial diversity priorities while simultaneously enacting policies that introduce or reinforce existing discrimination against non-Whites. Last month, the Obama administration announced heightened restrictions on certain federal policies of racial profiling, but failed to do anything to challenge some of the most common racial profiling faced by Americans: anti-“Brown people” scrutiny at the nation’s commercial airports and borders. Muslim and South Asian advocacy groups were understandably infuriated by the administration’s ongoing support for this unconstitutional and useless policy of discrimination and excessive scrutiny.
In the same vein, over ten years, the federal government has nominally advocated for fair hiring practices for federal employees, and has even actively recruited bilingual non-White special agents in the State Department and The FBI. In 2011, President Obama made history by issuing an Executive Order declaring workforce diversity in the federal government a major administrative priority. In it, the President stated:
Yet, the US government has simultaneously created a new blacklist for the Millennial era.
It has implemented a system of condoned discrimination that targets certain (non-White) employees as assumed security risks based predominantly on the Perpetual Foreigner stereotype that casts Asian Americans as innately untrustworthy, inscrutable and disloyal. Asian Americans, who are predominantly foreign-born or second generation entirely as a consequence of a history of exclusionary immigration laws only reversed in 1965, are being penalized by the FBI and State Department basically for being Asian American.
This is so fucking racist, and no one is really talking about it.
Seriously, how has this story not yet broken the internet?
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