Anti-Asian Racism Part II Webinar flags hate problems across continents
APRU successfully held the second part of its “Global Perspectives on Anti-Asian Racism: Overcoming The Hate” webinar series on November 18. Speakers pointed out that the ongoing rises of anti-Asian hate crimes and acts of prejudice against people of Asian heritage is not unique to the Covid-19 era and to the US. The event featured a faculty panel and a student panel from four APRU universities, namely UCLA, The University of British Columbia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and The University of Auckland. Professor Michael Berry, Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies and Director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA chaired the session, emphasizing that this forum provides a space for reflection, analysis, solidarity, and activism to explore Anti-Asian Hate in a global context. Speakers shared first-hand accounts and analysis exploring Anti-Asian Hate in a global context. They agreed that minority groups across various geographic areas face similar threats and called for coalition and solidarity. “Our evaluations of attitudes towards Chinese people in different economies in the period between 2002 and 2020 showed an alarming pace of deterioration,” said Ying-yi Hong, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). “Covid-19 has exacerbated these negative attitudes, but anti-Asian hate can be mitigated through improved international relations, as well as through decategorization and recategorization reducing the ‘perpetual foreigner’ bias against Asian Americans,” she added. Dr. Changzoo Song, Senior Lecturer, Asian/Korean Studies, University of Auckland, New Zealand, explained the racial history of Aotearoa (New Zealand’s native name), including by pointing out that Chinese miners arriving in Otago from Australia in 1865 were initially much welcome, but that welcome attitudes soon changed to fear when their number grew. Similarly the US, Canada, and Australia, New Zealand had an unofficial “White New Zealand” policy until the mid-20th century, according to Song. However, with the rise of multiculturalism, racial violence has been relatively rare in the country in the 21st century until the Christchurch Mosque shooting in March 2019. Asians have been blamed for high housing prices, which led to anti-Asian narratives becoming prevalent in media and politics. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, Asians, and particularly Chinese, have experienced higher levels of racism,” Song said. “Surveys show that younger people and rural residents tend to have higher chances of racism and discrimination experiences,” he added. Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, The University of British Columbia, explained that in Canada, Covid-19 was quickly linked to China, including its animal markets and dietary habits, thereby firmly establishing the virus as an Asian threat in Canadian imagery. The only initial public response, Thobani said, was to avoid contact with Chinese Canadians. “Asians were made scapegoats, drawing away attention from the real causes like decades of globalization and the lack of preparedness of the Canadian public health system,” Thobani said. Nguyễn-võ Thu-hương, Associate Professor in Asian Languages and Cultures and Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, linked Anti-Asian racism in the US to the “racialized wars” the US has fought abroad, such as the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan. The wars created refugees that were typecast into roles dictated by expectations. Refugees faced growing racism and were threatened with detainment and deportation. “Racialized refugees can hardly become full citizens, and President Biden’s recent rhetoric blaming Afghans’ unwillingness to fight for the unorderly withdrawal of US troops earlier this year supported the notion that refugees can be separated into worthy and unworthy refugees,” Nguyễn-võ Thu-hương said. Moderated by Yasmine Krings, PhD student of UCLA, the Webinar’s student panel, for its part, set the stage for student leaders to provide their perspectives and recommendations. Hye Ji (Erica) Lee, Postgraduate Student in Sociology, The University of Auckland, explaining how the concept of “perpetual foreigners” was underpinned by a history of discriminatory legislations in New Zealand. Lee pointed out that despite 15.1% of the population being ethnic Asian, they are still underrepresented in media, parliament, and the education curriculum. Similarly, Kiran Sunar, a student from The University of British Columbia, criticized that some professors lament that Indian students could not properly write in English, which is reproach that strengthens racist elitism in the universities, Sunar said. Suong Thai, PhD student in Cultural and Comparative Studies University of California, Los Angeles, recalled that the Trump administration’s threat to send international students home when there were no onsite classes in the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic made her grasp her precarious status of being a non-citizen. Ka Wang (Kelvin) LAM, MPhil student, Department of Sociology, The University of Hong Kong, explained how he looked into the challenges refugees in Hong Kong were facing when the pandemic started. According to Lam, they were a “forgotten group” that was not included in local policies. However, a petition initiated by him led to some improvement. “The petition increased public awareness, and as a result, we got more donations that we used to provide more resources to the refugees,” Lam said. More information about the webinar series and speakers at here. Revisit the Part I: Understanding and Overcoming Anti-Asian Hate recording at here. Revisit the Part II: Global Perspectives at here.
January 14, 2022more
APRU Webinar Series takes on Anti-Asian Hate
APRU successfully completed the first part of its “Global Perspectives on Anti-Asian Racism: Overcoming The Hate” webinar series. Hosted by APRU and UCLA in partnership with The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The University of Auckland, and The University of British Columbia on October 29, the event comes against the backdrop of former US President Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric triggering a wave of violence and animus against Asians in the US. The Webinar helped attendees understand the ugly developments in the context of Asian American history and find ways to contribute to stopping them. Four distinguished speakers provided data and analysis, offered a comparative perspective, and shared effective interventions. With the leadership of Prof Cindy Fan, Vice Provost for UCLA International Studies and Global Engagement, she opened the session with a dooming statistic noting that between March 2020 and June 2021, over 9,000 incidents were reported to the ‘Stop AAPI Hate’ website. Prof Fan also inspired hope by pointing out our collective goals to overcome anti-Asian hate across the world. “By bringing together students, experts, academic and community leaders, APRU is creating a space to share knowledge and to address these difficult experiences across the Asia-Pacific region. This dialogue is designed to open doors for greater understanding of race-based hate, how it influences our daily lives, and how to overcome it,” Professor Cindy Fan said. Chancellor Gene Block also addressed the participants, “Our prosperous shared future faces a significant obstacle in ethnic nationalism, racial prejudice, hatred and violence, but universities — as institutions devoted to reason, collaboration and public good — can play a leading role in overcoming it,” said Gene D. Block, UCLA Chancellor and APRU Chair. “We can set an example of better relations in our own campus communities and help people and policymakers understand and confront anti-Asian hate and other forms of racism in society,” he added. Long History of Anti-Asian Hate in the US Karen Umemoto, Helen and Morgan Chu Chair and Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, likened the drivers of anti-Asian hate to the three elements of fire, namely fuel, oxygen, and heat. She explained that factors such as competition over resources; political favoritism; constructed stereotypes; and political opportunism victimizing one another, serve as the underlying contributors. Umemoto offered actions that we can take to overcome anti-Asian hate, including: creating a climate of support, educating ourselves and others against ignorance, standing up in solidarity, and getting involved in civic activities and training programs. Reporting is rising in the US The webinar explained that racism is rising and is more violent, with the most vulnerable being elders, women, and the very young. It was found that reporting is very difficult for victims, that there is a distrust in the police, and victims’ confidence that an appropriate response will take place is very low. Russell Jeung, Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University and Founder of Stop AAPI Hate and also one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021, created a place where Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders could file firsthand accounts of racism they had experienced—the types of incidents that have long haunted these communities but gone unreported by government agencies and the media and unnoticed by others. Prof Jeung pointed out that mental health support needs to include awareness about the trauma that results from hate events. Jeung noted that community resistance remains strong, especially with regard to social media, youth campaigns, and pop culture. Robin Toma, Executive Director, Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations and President, International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies, highlighted the LA vs Hate program, a community-driven approach to empower all residents of Los Angeles County to unite against, report, and resist hate. The webinars’ speakers warned that although much of the recent data on anti-Asian hate coming from the USA, it also reflects trends also in other countries. Lessons from the Christchurch Mosque Massacres Indeed, Robert Greenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland, recalled how the Christchurch mosque massacres in 2019 terrorized the country and the university, creating a culture of fear. Greenberg noted that racist, sexist, anti-Semitic graffiti appeared on campus immediately after the shootings, fueling tensions. “Our campus reacted by putting together several measures modeled after NZ leader, Prime Minister [Jacinda] Ardern, developing a crisis management task force, set the ground rules for interactions, and validate human dignity,” Greenberg said. “The university crisis management team eventually succeeded in diffusing tensions, with the crisis, however, lasting some three months,” he added. APRU Global Perspectives on Anti-Asian Racism: Overcoming The Hate Webinar Series – Part II: Global Perspectives will be held Novermber 18 (Th), 9:00 am-11:30 AM (Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore). More information about the webinar series and speakers at here. Revisit the Part I: Understanding and Overcoming Anti-Asian Hate recording at here.
November 12, 2021more