I Am An Asian American Woman

A woman looks out the window, with her back against a bed.

By Guest Contributor: San-Pei Lee

I am a woman born by a woman and so many women before. I come from a legacy of womanhood, of creation from love, the reason for both women and men on Earth.

But I can’t walk in broad daylight in the streets of Los Angeles without a man peering at me with predatory eyes and remarking that he “likes him some sweet Asian”. I can’t even walk in my own birth country without a man of my own race harassing me on the subway. Was it just an accident in the crowd? But that definitely felt like groping, lingering longer than an accidental touch. No, I can’t stay out alone late at night without the fear of adding to a statistic.

Will women ever stop being blamed for and forced to experience harassment, rape, and prostitution?

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Stop Asian Hate

Banner with the caption "This is Our Home Too." Artwork by Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya.

By Guest Contributor: Jimin Shim

You love our food, our movies, our anime and TV shows, our music, our engineering, our nail salons. Korea, Japan and China are some of the most popular travel destinations in the world. When will you love us? When will you see us as real human beings with full lives, families, passions, emotions, and all the things that make us human? A police captain described March 16 as “a very bad day” for this domestic terrorist. Are you kidding me? Do we really mean so little to you that having “a bad day” can justify murdering us? Do not let another domestic terrorist off the hook. Do not let his whiteness and the victims’ non-whiteness blind you from seeing the reality of this disgusting, racially-motivated hate crime.

Reach out to your Asian friends, family members, and colleagues. And then be understanding if they don’t respond right away, or at all. It can quickly become overwhelming to repeatedly tell others how you’re doing, especially when you yourself aren’t quite sure the full spectrum of emotions you’re feeling and the extent to which you’re feeling them. For me, it’s been a mix of hurt, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, fear, worry, shock, and a heavy chest.

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Mari Matsuda: Critical Race Theory is not Anti-Asian

Professor Mari Matsuda (University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law)

By Guest Contributor: Mari Matsuda

Editor’s Note: This piece is a response to “Asian Americans Emerging as a Strong Voice Against Critical Race Theory”, an op-ed published earlier this week on Newsweek. It was originally written as a letter, and has been adapted for publication with permission by the author.

Dear Sisters:

I understand yet another attack on Critical Race Theory (CRT) has surfaced, this time claiming CRT is anti-Asian. This kind of opportunism always trails along to disrupt progressive movements. It has been there from the start of CRT. Many built their careers attacking CRT, Trumpsters being the latest iteration on the Right. It is my practice to ignore critics who have not read the work and who are not interested in honest exchange. I will not read the latest entry in the annals of backlash, but I do want to say this for the record: Asian Americans are at the center of CRT analysis and have been from the start.

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Becoming Asian in America

The Next American Revolution by Grace Lee Boggs and Scott Kurashige

By Guest Contributor: Michelle Lyu

The article was originally published on the Organization for Positive Peace blog

History is changing and the minds of Asians are bending as they search for a world beyond whiteness. The crises of 2020 exposed America’s moral failure to regard its own people as human. Meanwhile, despite tremendous Western propaganda, China has not perpetrated the kind of imperialistic wars which have marked centuries of rule by the West and is instead seeking to govern on the civilizational value of peace. As America slips from dominance as the world’s predominant military, economic and political superpower, China is poised to take its place as the new global power with a new leadership, guided by moral principles rather than sheer might. 

Within America, Asians are on average the most successfully integrated immigrant group into the dream of white elite life. Young, educated Asians are placed at the helm of productivity and expertise within prestigious American universities and corporate business. Liberal media and institutions celebrate the inclusion and visibility of western-thinking Asians in the name of diversity. Many young Asian Americans achieve ultimate material success early in their careers as academics and professionals yet they live in spiritual crisis, unable to reconcile their place, purpose and identity as people who have subsumed the damaging ideals of the west. In reality, an Asian who has ‘made it’ is strategically positioned by the American ruling class to serve as a bulwark of American empire by defending and propagating western ideology, which assumes dominance and exploitation of the darker nations of the world. 

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Minari: Unsettling “Belonging” to Asian/Amerika

David (Alan S. Kim) and Soonja (Youn Yuh-jung) in a still from the film "Minari".

By: Victoria M. Huỳnh 

When Minari was omitted from the Golden Globes’ “main” categories for Best Picture, Asian diasporas came to its defense, arguing for its “all-Americanness” to make sense of their (un)placehood. But claims to Amerikanness are inherently predicated on settler-colonial logics of Indigenous and Black genocide, and on the dispossession of our own homelands.

Rather than claiming belonging to U.S. empire, I feel Minari serves a necessary and wholly different purpose: it powerfully unsettles Korean/American  — and potentially Asian/American — understandings of “belonging.” 

Note: This essay contains mild spoilers for the film ‘Minari’ which will be available for release on February 12, 2021.

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