Asian Discrimination

Betty Benson, Senior Editor

Racism isn’t a new occurrence in today’s society. Most people know the history of America as a country. European colonists exploited Native Americans, enslaved African Americans, and treated just about everyone else that wasn’t traditionally white, like garbage. This intense language isn’t for lack of reason. Since its founding, those considered to be a part of a minority in America have been abused and mistreated. The public school system explains racism, the civil rights movements of the 1960s, and a few of the key players that played a part in improving discrimination. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to the devastating impacts that racism still has on diverse communities to this day. 

One group that has been hit hard, knocked down countless numbers of times, is the Asian community in America. It seems that discrimination against Asian people flies under the radar in this country. Things like Covid-19 have shed some light on the racism that many individuals experience, and steps have started to be taken in the right direction. However, it’s important to take a look at the past, and focus on what steps created the toxic culture that we currently promote. 

Major Events

  • The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed during the late 1800s. Essentially, people from China were banned from coming to the states. There were actual quotas put on the number of people that could immigrate to America from each country, and many Asian groups were allowed in extremely small numbers, or not at all. 
  • During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the current president at the time, signed into effect an executive order that sent all Japanese Americans to internment camps. Japanese families and communities were given barely any notice. They had to drop their whole lives and go live in camps that they would not be able to leave for approximately three years. When they were finally released, many families had nothing to go back to, and had to rebuild their lives from scratch. 
    • Most of these internment camps were located on the West Coast. Fun Fact: The Puyallup State Fair ground used to be a camp during the 1960s. 
  • The spread of Covid-19 brought new racist sentiments everywhere. The coronavirus was referred to as the “kung flu,” “Wuhan virus,” and a slew of other racially charged names. Along with these names came an extreme increase in the amount of hate crimes committed against Asian communities. The elderly Asian population has been hit hard, and many videos are floating around the internet of the harassment that many older Asian Americans have to deal with. 
  • During March of this year, a man in Atlanta, Georgia went to asian owned spa businesses and murdered eight people. Six out of the eight happened to be of Asian descent. It’s been debated as to whether or not this was a hate crime, due to the fact that the man that committed the shooting blamed his actions on a sexual obsession he had with Asian women. This is another problem all in itself. The fetishization of a whole group of people is still racist and needs to be dealt with. 

This racism against Asian communities in America has been evident for centuries, yet sometimes it feels like there isn’t a strong dialogue taking place surrounding these problems. This has a lot to do with Asian culture. Asian culture tends to be very passive and humble. Rather than vocalize the problems going on, those in the Asian community are much more likely to sit back and take abuse, rather than speak for their right to equality. It’s important that we try to be a supporting voice in their battle, and that we don’t drown out those that are fighting to make a difference. To conclude, the Asian population that makes up this country has had to endure unfair atrocities that Europeans won’t ever fully understand. Rather than simply acknowledge that racism against certain communities is evident, we must be avid activists; working to battle stereotypes and prejudice. Of course, we’ve had this conversation so many times. In May of 2020, Black Lives Matters protests swarmed the country. This is the kind of energy that we need to use when battling anti-Asian sentiments. We may not be marching in the streets, but we can still use the same mindset to get hard to work in our own communities.