Can anti-discrimination unite Asian Americans?

The Los Angeles City Police Department held an online Asia-Pacific Community Forum on April 14 to discuss with relevant departments, Asian consulates in Los Angeles, representatives of the Asian community, and the media on how to combat and prevent hate crimes against Asians. Joint symposiums like this have been held in cities with a large number of Asian Americans in the recent period, but can Asians really twist together and work together to oppose discrimination? In just 50 years, the proportion of Asians in the total population of the United States has increased from less than 1% to about 6%. Unfortunately, the increase in population has not strengthened the position of Asians in American politics, culture and other fields. As a “model minority”, Asians have long suffered various discriminations, and various reasons have made Asians accustomed to swallowing their voices or “sweeping the door.” Since the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, some American politicians have regarded Asians as scapegoats, and incidents of discrimination against Asians have occurred frequently. In the face of discrimination, many Asians are reluctant to be “dumb” this time. They took to the streets for the first time and shouted the slogan “Asian fate is also fate”, and some Asian organizations began to work together to carry out ” Self-protection”. A number of Chinese Americans interviewed by a reporter said that in the past year or so, frequent incidents of discrimination against Asians are creating “important external pressure”, giving Asian communities a chance to unite.

“Refused to answer where is the Asian Asian from”

According to the New York Times, generally speaking, Asian Americans are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from more than 20 countries and regions in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Among the 330 million people in the United States, the Asian population exceeds 20 million, which is about 6% of the total population. In 1970, the proportion of Asians was less than 1%. Among them, the most Asian population are Chinese (5.1 million), Indians (4.5 million), Filipinos (4 million), Vietnamese (2.1 million), and Japanese and Koreans both exceed one million. It is predicted that 9% of the US population will be Asian in 2050. Although the population is increasing, the American society’s understanding of Asians has not changed much, and hate speeches such as “go back to your own country” make Asians feel very uncomfortable. In addition to street violence and language attacks, all kinds of discrimination against Asians are everywhere. Representative Andy King of the House of Representatives representing the New Jersey District 3 recently complained on Twitter: “When working at the State Department, he was excluded from Korean related businesses because his surname was’Kim. This kind of thing happened especially frequently. Asian people.”

Fortunately, the anti-discrimination activities of Asians have increased significantly. On April 8, the restaurant “Myanmar’s Love and Superstar”, which has been operating in the San Francisco Bay Area in the western United States for more than 20 years, together with the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and the San Francisco Police Association, jointly announced the establishment of a bounty fund for Asian crimes to encourage citizens to report against Clues to Asian crimes helped the police catch the suspect. The restaurant’s chief operating officer and Vietnamese Chen Chengyi said that we can no longer stand by and remain silent on discrimination. “We must tie together and share resources, just like our ancestors, paving the way for the next generation.” the above-mentioned three founding units donated US$15,000 as start-up funds, and set up a donation website to advocate for the whole society to donate money to combat discrimination against Asians. Chen Xipeng, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a major change from fragmentation to unity in the Asian community. What happened in the past, shops complained a lot, and acted less. This time everyone is going to give away money and donate money. Face problems together and promote community progress.”

The reporters have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years and found that in the past, Asian communities were mostly divided by “where did they come from.” I began to consciously refuse to subdivide Asians. For example, I would refuse to answer where I came from on many occasions in daily life. The Chinatowns of San Francisco and Oakland have also recently established volunteer patrols under the initiative of overseas Chinese leaders. Ma Zuolin, the 75-year-old chairman of the East Bay Taishan Association, patrols a team of volunteers wearing red fluorescent vests for 4 hours a day. According to him, there are Chinese, Vietnamese, and African descent in the team. It’s for the safety of Chinatown to walk together. The patrol team sent a whistle to the shop. Once a bad guy was found, the shop would blow the whistle and give warning, and the neighboring shops and patrol team would immediately come to help and call the police. An elderly Japanese in Oakland’s Chinatown said: “I experienced a major blow in February 2017. I have recently heard of many incidents that discriminate against Asians. It’s really unacceptable. Now, the appearance of the patrol makes me feel It’s much safer.”

“The staggering collective identity”

It is not easy for Asian Americans to unite. The New York Times recently reported that the identities of Asian Americans of different races and different cultures are divided and incoherent. During the Los Angeles riots in 1992, South Korean shops were burned down, but they did not cause Chinese or Japanese Americans. Large-scale response. The article said that due to the recent increase in attacks against Asians, they will have a collective identity-a new Asian-American identity. This identity has staggered, but it is not sure where it will go.

Ouyang Liaohan, vice chairman of the American Association for Asian Education, lives in eastern New Jersey and has been working on anti-discrimination against Asians in recent years. He told that about 20% of the residents in the town where he lives are Asians. The exchanges on local affairs are relatively close. For example, the Chinese school will invite other ethnic groups to participate in activities organized by the Chinese school during the Chinese New Year, and Indian residents will also invite the Chinese when celebrating their own traditional festivals. Despite this, Ouyang Liaohan said that his participation in community activities of other Asian organizations was not “very frequent”.

There are many reasons why Asians do not move around frequently. Zheng Mintai, a student studying in the United States, plans to settle in the United States after graduation. He told : “Although in the eyes of Americans, there is almost no difference in the appearance of people from East Asian countries, but for me, the difference between Chinese and me is even greater. The difference between Americans and me is still big.” Zheng Mintai said that although his classmates are of Chinese descent, he would not feel cordial just because everyone is from East Asia. Whenever he encounters problems, he will look for Koreans. “Although we have many similarities Festivals, but they are all celebrated separately.”

Talking about the difficulty of Asians in the past, some Korean scholars believe that this is also related to the serious polarization of the Asian population. Although a small number of elites enter the upper echelon of American politics and economics, most of them still work in restaurants, bars, factory workers and other occupations. Low status. Before the 1970s, Asians mainly came from East Asian countries. Later, immigrants from South and Southeast Asia gradually increased. Especially between 1975 and 1994, the United States received 1.25 million refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries. Asians are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, but due to differences in politics, culture, religion, income, etc., it is always difficult to truly unite. The National Broadcasting Corporation reported that compared with Japanese, Korean and Chinese, it is more difficult for Southeast Asians to obtain higher education or financial security in the United States. Nearly 1.1 million Southeast Asians are low-income earners, and approximately 460,000 are living in poverty. In addition, some Asian people are also affected by the bilateral relations of related countries or have different values, and deliberately keep their distance.

Yang Xiaochuan, the vice chairman of “Fujians in the Bay Area”, is one of the initiators of anti-discrimination against Asian Americans. Last year, when President Trump called the new crown pneumonia “Chinese virus”, he began to write songs to fight back. Recently, Yang Xiaochuan released a new song after an anti-discrimination demonstration against Asian Asians broke out across the United States, encouraging Asians to unite and “stand up and speak out.” Speaking of some people in the WeChat group of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce asking “Why so many Chinese people hide at home and not come out to increase the momentum of the parade”, Yang Xiaochuan analyzed to a reporter that many Asians, especially Chinese, were labeled as “model minorities” The label of “ethnicity” is thus artificially separated from other ethnic groups, making it “not humans inside and outside”. He believes that there are several characteristics of Chinese descent that have led to insufficient participation: in the United States, they belong to a high-income group, but in addition to paying attention to education and making money, most Chinese descent are indifferent to other matters; There is not enough communication between “immigrants” and overseas students; some are unwilling to share resources, and even often dismantle each other; they are used to dividing communities based on geographical factors and the Chinese community lacks spiritual leaders.

Cai Wenyao, an adviser to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the United States, told that in the past, Chinese people worked hard for their lives, had little free time and communicated with other ethnic groups. In addition, poor English has also restricted the communication between some Chinese and other ethnic groups. The same phenomenon exists to some extent among other Asians. ▲

“Should get out of the’ethnic circle and the’comfort zone'”

Looking back at history, the unity of Asian American groups is often based on common interests. According to Cai Wenyao, many Asian communities of Chinese, Korean, Filipino and other Asian communities have initiated activities in San Francisco to establish a commemorative bronze statue of “comfort women”. He believes that for new immigrants, only major events and common attention can be Create more opportunities for cooperation.

Many interviewed mentioned that education is one of the core topics of common concern for Asian communities. Since 2013, Ouyang Liaohan’s Asian American Education Alliance has been cooperating with other Asian groups to oppose the discrimination against Asian American students in admissions at Harvard University. According to him, “It took a lot of time to contact other Asian organizations, and it was difficult to find them, but it was like snowballing, and the strength of unity was getting stronger and stronger.” The coalition has recently represented 346 organizations and the Asian American Law Foundation to submit statements to the U.S. Supreme Court on related discrimination cases. Ouyang Liaohan said: “Although the road to rights is difficult, it is not impossible. All Asian groups should increase their understanding of each other, step out of their own’ethnic circle and’ comfort zone, strengthen interaction, and not only contact when something happens. “Speaking of the uproar in the U.S. when African Americans suffered racial discrimination, the voice of Asians united in anti-discrimination has not been loud enough. On the one hand, Ouyang Liaohan said that on the one hand, there are fewer Asians in the government and legislature. Few Asians can have greater political power. On the other hand, Asians’ media voices are not loud enough.

In any case, the tendency of Asians to group together is supported by people from relevant countries and public opinion. Philippine Senator Sherwin and other politicians have recently criticized the United States for being an “evil racist.” According to a report by the Daily Inquirer of the Philippines on the 1st, after an old Filipino woman was unprovoked attack in the United States, world boxing champion Pacquiao from the Philippines posted 4 pictures on social media, using English and Chinese respectively. , Korean, and Tagalog challenged those who attacked Asians: “Don’t attack Asians who are incapable of self-defense! Some kind of come to fight with me!” India’s “Economic Times” reported that in the past, India, who ran for US public office All Americans are asked to grit their teeth and avoid talking about racism, but Indians are now expressing their views of discrimination more strongly than ever before.

Many Korean women were killed in the Atlanta massage parlor shooting incident. According to related reports from Korean media such as the Korean National News, Korean Americans want Asians to unite and jointly resist criminal acts that discriminate against Asians, but there are also a small number of non-discrimination. The brain figure wanted to draw a clear line with the Chinese to “protect himself”, but was condemned. According to Yonhap News Agency’s report on April 4, after the Korean Republican who was running for the Texas congressman, Sally Blond, expressed discriminatory remarks against Chinese descent, two California Korean congressmen issued a joint statement accusing her of “untrue remarks”. The harm caused by Chinese immigrants is unacceptable.”

Yang Xiaochuan recognizes the performance of the non-profit organization “Asian with Attitudes”, a non-profit organization with a background in Southeast Asian gangs, in anti-discrimination activities. The organization has 10 chapters in the United States. Most of its members come from Southeast Asian countries such as Laos, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Some of them have criminal records, and many have reformed after being released from prison. Yang Xiaochuan said: “’Asian Asians have an attitude without any political inclinations or interests, but purely contributing to the community. The average age of the members is under 40. Recently they have not only actively participated in parades, but also sent members to patrol San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns. “Kevin, a Cambodian American, is the leader of the San Francisco Bay Area with “Asian Attitudes”. He believes that the purpose of the organization is to “guard the elders, protect community security, and promote community building.” Speaking of the rejuvenation of “Asian attitudes”, Yang Xiaochuan hopes that the older generation of Asian leaders can cultivate more young people, so that the younger generation with the same educational background and topics can gradually become independent, abandon geographical restrictions, and unite against racial discrimination. .

“Recent incidents will alert Asians. In the United States, we should not and cannot just sweep the snow in front of our own door, regardless of other people’s frost.” Cai Wenyao said that uniting other ethnic groups is strength. If all Asians can unite, it is about The 6% population ratio is a force that cannot be ignored. Ouyang Liaohan said that Asians should take advantage of the current situation to strengthen organizational contacts, establish a national Asian alliance or foundation, and “strike the iron while it is hot, and strive to promote relevant legislation at the federal level.”