Lifting the veil on conditional whiteness: A wake-up call to Asian Americans still holding on to the Model Minority Myth

An image of Trump's notes at a press conference wherein the word "corona" is crossed out and replaced with the word "Chinese". (Photo credit: Getty)

By Guest Contributor: Dorothy He

Over the past few months, many non-Black Asian Americans across the country watched as our racial status began shifting, after years of living within and sometimes even openly accepting the confines of the Model Minority Myth. Several of these “positive” stereotypes have long been passively or even actively accepted by many in the Asian American community, such as the ones perpetuated by Andrew Yang during his presidential campaign — for instance, the idea that all Asians are doctors, are smart and like math, and won’t speak out or cause trouble. Such stereotypes have not only caused untold damage to the well-being of Asian Americans and stymied attempts at solidarity within our communities and in relation to other communities of color, but they never offered any genuine protection of our status or proof of our “Americanness” to begin with.

Those who trusted in the power of conditional whiteness to protect Asian Americans harbored a belief that a stable income, a respectable profession, and a low profile could somehow protect us from racist and completely unfounded attacks. They are wrong. Conditional whiteness is dangerous precisely because of its roots in white supremacy vis-à-vis capitalism; ultimately, it weaponizes people of color against their own communities by making individuals complicit in perpetuating racism and exhibiting dominance over other nonwhite bodies — in particular, Black and Brown bodies — in their journey to reach the American Dream.

Continue reading “Lifting the veil on conditional whiteness: A wake-up call to Asian Americans still holding on to the Model Minority Myth”

Over 800 Asian American-Related Hate Incidents Reported in California

An image of Trump's notes at a press conference wherein the word "corona" is crossed out and replaced with the word "Chinese". (Photo credit: Getty)

The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council‘s Stop AAPI Hate project reported in a press briefing this week that they have received over 800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents in California alone. The group has previously said it has received nearly two thousand reports of anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide.

Trump has continued to use the term “Kung Flu” and “China virus” at press conferences and campaign rallies, despite repeated criticisms that the phrases contribute to disease racialization of COVID-19. Stop AAPI Hate is one of several hate crime trackers launched to record the effect of this racialization on Asian Americans, and data from these projects paint a stark picture of anti-Asian hate in recent months. Of the more than 800 reports from California that Stop AAPI Hate has received since its inception, approximately 10% have involved physical assault, and a further 8% have involved suspected federal civil rights violations, such as workplace discrimination.

Most alarmingly, Asian American women in California are nearly twice as likely to report experiencing an incident of anti-Asian hate than men — and that disparity is even more stark nationwide.

Continue reading “Over 800 Asian American-Related Hate Incidents Reported in California”

Anti-Asian hate is not welcome in politics

An uncredited mailer sent to residents of Edison, New Jersey. (Photo credit: NJ.com)

By Guest Contributor:  Christine Chen, Executive Director of APIAVote (@apiavote)

Edison town council member Sapana Shah realized something was wrong the moment she checked social media, learning that she and her neighbors received the same anti-Asian mailer Wednesday which featured a “deport” stamp on the photos of two Asian school board candidates. The postcard also read, “The Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.”

Targeting candidates based on bias and hate toward various ethnic, racial or religious identity is not new. And Shah is no stranger to it as a candidate. She recounted multiple incidents to me over the phone. Shah, a long-time resident in the Edison township of Middlesex County, New Jersey, was told to go back to her country when she ran for local elected office. She once found her campaign signs inscribed with the words “dot head,” an offensive racial slur. As a town council member, Shah endured insults from residents who shouted her down at the end of a public meeting for voting to include Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, as a school holiday.

When individuals are targets of hate, it not only affects them but also entire communities.

Continue reading “Anti-Asian hate is not welcome in politics”

Teens Spray Anti-Asian Slurs in Vandalism Attack on NYC Cemetery

Three unidentified teenagers are caught on surveillance footage at the Cypress Hill Cemetery in NYC moments before a vandalism attack. (Photo credit: NYPD / YouTube)

Three unidentified teenagers were caught on surveillance camera this past week vandalizing headstones in a predominantly Asian and Asian American section of the Cypress Hill Cemetery, a 225-acre cemetery in Queens and Brooklyn, reports DNAinfo.

The teens spray-painted anti-Asian and Islamophobic slurs — including the phrases “ching chong” and “fuck Jackie Chan” — and approximately 70 headstones were knocked down and 15 mausoleum memorial plaques destroyed in the attack. According to DNAinfo, the cemetery houses several notable graves, including that of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu, who was killed in his patrol car along with his partner in 2014 in an apparently targeted attack against the NYPD.

Continue reading “Teens Spray Anti-Asian Slurs in Vandalism Attack on NYC Cemetery”

Where is America’s Outrage over Hate Crime Killing in Olathe?

Srinivas Kuchibhotla (right) and his wife Sunayana Dumala (left). (Photo credit: AP)

Last week, a man was shot and killed because of the colour of his skin.

It was a warm Wednesday evening in Olathe, Kansas. Rather than to work late into the night as was his custom, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla decided to leave work early and have a drink with his friend and co-worker, 32-year-old  Alok Madasani, at their local watering hole, Austin’s Bar & Grill. The two men were both nationals of India who had immigrated to America more than a decade ago to pursue graduate degrees in electrical engineering, and who had stayed in the United States to work as highly-skilled engineers. Madasani and Kuchibhotla had become friends in 2008 when both were employees of Rockwell Collins, an American-owned company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For six months, Kuchibhotla even gave Madasani a ride to-and-from work every day until Madasani could afford to buy a car; he never complained, remembers Madasani. The two remained close friends when both were hired within months of each other to work at Garmin International in Kansas.

Kuchibhotla and Madasani were known as “the Jameson guys” by the employees of Austin’s, where the two would frequently unwind after a day’s work over some whiskey. But, last Wednesday was unseasonably warm, and the two men decided to have a couple of beers, instead. And so, on the evening of February 22, 2017, Kuchibhotla and Madasani found themselves seated on the patio, sipping Miller Lite beers while surrounded by college basketball fans had gathered to cheer on the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

There aren’t many more ostentatiously all-American scenarios than this.

And yet, none of this was enough to protect the two men from racism, xenophobia, nativism and cold-blooded hate. To the man who would destroy this peaceful scene with the pull of his shotgun trigger, Kuchibhotla and Madasani’s Brown-ness had marked the two men as interlopers and Others. To 51-year-old Adam Purinton, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani’s Brown-ness meant that they did not belong — in Austin’s, in Kansas, or in America — and, for that, Purinton decided they should die.

Continue reading “Where is America’s Outrage over Hate Crime Killing in Olathe?”