News & Updates

  • 9/11 added ‘war on terror’ to US Christian Right’s racist agenda

    Posted by · September 30, 2021 2:31 PM

    openDemocracy - White right-wing evangelical Christians were fighting racist culture wars long before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center

    Like most Americans who are old enough to remember, I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news on 11 September 2001.

    That morning, I was getting ready for a session with my Russian tutor, an ethnic Tatar named Galina. She had an engineering degree, but was working as a table server when I met her. Over the summer, I’d worked as a server too, for $2.13 an hour plus tips, in a generic mid-range American restaurant in Fishers, Indiana – a northern suburb of Indianapolis. Normally, I’d have been back at Ball State University in Muncie, but that year I was meant to be studying abroad, in Germany and England. I was supposed to fly out on 12 September.

    By the time I left my parents’ house, one plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, and the consensus was that this was probably an accident. But while I was driving to Galina’s apartment, the news about a second plane broke. Galina and I were both concerned, but we still went over my homework.

    I spent the rest of the day watching the news at home in a sort of surreal stupor, horrified but unable to look away. I remember the overwhelming sense of dread, and the much vaunted but very short-lived sense of national unity that prevailed in the immediate aftermath. I donated blood the next day.

    About a week later, I was able to leave for Europe, where I not only studied German, Russian, medieval British history and Shakespeare, but also found myself growing more and more critical of the politics and religion I’d been raised on.

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  • To end white supremacy, attack racist policy, not people

    Posted by · September 27, 2021 8:21 AM

    UC Berkeley - In his inaugural address last week, President Joe Biden made it clear his administration will make defeating white supremacy — as well as the rise of political extremism and domestic terrorism — a priority for his presidency. But in order to do that, Americans must focus on defeating white supremacist structures without condemning white people.

    That’s according to Berkeley African American studies professor john powell, who said,  “We need a story that says, ‘No, this is a country for all of us.”

    “When we reach out, as we should, and animate the voice of marginalized people of color, we also need to make sure we are holding a space for people who have organized around whiteness, not for whiteness itself, but for those people,” said powell, who is also the director of Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute. “And that’s hard, because it means criticizing and sometimes condemning the practice of white supremacy, but at the same time holding on to the people that practice it.”

    Berkeley News spoke with powell about what political leaders and everyday American citizens can do to help in the efforts to battle white supremacy, and the importance of making sure everyone is recognized in the process.

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  • The roots of anti-gay attitudes lay in white supremacy

    Posted by · September 23, 2021 8:34 AM

     How eugenics gave rise to homophobia

    Fifty years ago this June, patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York resisted routine homophobic police harassment, sparking days of unrest and street rebellion and giving a public face to the emerging forces of gay liberation.

    Surprisingly, however, the homophobia that sparked this uprising did not have deep roots in American history. Although omnipresent in America by the Stonewall era, it was only around the 1930s that it started to emerge as a cogent cultural force — an explicit, widespread teaching that the world was divided into good heterosexuals and evil homosexuals (with, perhaps, a nasty, nebulous cloud formation called "bisexuality" located somewhere in between them).

    As we celebrate this important milestone in the fight against homophobia, it’s worth taking a moment to explore its roots. Anti-gay sentiments are usually traced to misogyny, fear of gender transgression, toxic masculinity and hidebound religious teachings. But one important factor regularly goes unacknowledged, curiously so, considering how often it comes up these days in other contexts: white supremacy.

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  • To Dismantle Anti-Asian Racism, We Must Understand Its Roots

    Posted by · September 20, 2021 11:16 AM

    HBR - Individuals, leaders, and organizations are struggling to know how to navigate this dark chapter of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S. This piece argues that, in order to move toward a safer, more equitable future for Asian Americans, we need to learn from the long histories of anti-Asian racism and Pan-Asian solidarity. The author takes a comprehensive look at those histories, identifies key takeaways, and makes recommendations to organizational leaders who hope to contribute to a brighter future.

    In the days that followed the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, that killed eight people, six of them Asian women, an outpouring of pain from Asian and Asian American communities in the United States flooded social media. As mainstream media outlets fumbled their initial reporting on the events, the corporate world responded with a smattering of supportive statements on social media to denounce the violence that occurred.

    But then, an uneasy silence. No crescendo of charitable donations to Asian organizations occurred. No spike in community partnerships, new diversity and inclusion initiatives, or renewed commitments to corporate social responsibility emerged from corporate America. Nowhere was this more apparent than within my own community of diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioners, individuals whose careers were made offering actionable advice in times like these.

    Many of us were at a loss. I was at a loss. We knew that a tragedy of racist violence had taken place, and yet the language to describe the “why” behind that racism felt far out of reach. The actions to dismantle it felt harder to find, still. Months later, amid Asian Heritage Month, we’re still struggling to move beyond saying #StopAsianHate toward actionable change.

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  • Why the trope of Black-Asian conflict in the face of anti-Asian violence dismisses solidarity

    Posted by · September 16, 2021 9:26 AM

    Brookings - A recent survey shows that more than three out of four Asian Americans worry about experiencing hate crimes, harassment, and discrimination because of COVID-19. Among Chinese and Asian Indians, the figures are even higher at 84 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

    These findings may be unsurprising in light of shocking video footage of anti-Asian violence that has recently gone viral. Viewers of these videos witnessed perpetrators shoving elderly men and women to the ground, assaulting Asian American men and women in the face, and stabbing an Asian American man  in the back with an 8-inch knife. Asian-owned businesses like New York’s Xi’an Famous Foods, already under financial stress because of the pandemic, are also struggling to keep their employees safe. The spate of unprovoked attacks elicited a rallying cry that something must be done. For Asian Americans, however, this cry is a year overdue.

    Since March of last year, there have been over 3,000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian violence from 47 states and the District of Columbia, ranging from stabbings and beatings, to verbal harassment and bullying, to being spit on and shunned. While being spit on is offensive, in the time of coronavirus, it is also potentially lethal.

    Democratic lawmakers, led by Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y. and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said they would introduce new anti-hate crime legislation to address a rise in hate incidents directed at Asian Americans. The bill would create a new position at the Department of Justice to facilitate the review of hate crimes and provide oversight of hate crimes related to COVID-19.

    The Trope of Black-Asian Conflict

    These senseless acts of anti-Asian violence have finally garnered the national attention they deserve, but they have also invoked anti-Black sentiment and reignited the trope of Black-Asian conflict. Because some of the video-taped perpetrators appear to have been Black, some observers immediately reduced anti-Asian violence to Black-Asian conflict. This is not the first time that the trope has been weaponized. Black-Asian conflict—and Black-Korean conflict more specifically—became the popular frame of the LA riots in 1992.

    The trope failed to capture the reality of Black-Korean relations three decades ago, and it fails to capture the reality of anti-Asian bias today. A recent study finds that in fact, Christian nationalism is the strongest predictor of xenophobic views of COVID-19, and the effect of Christian nationalism is greater among white respondents, compared to Black respondents. Moreover, Black Americans have also experienced high levels of racial discrimination since the pandemic began. Hence, not only does the frame of two minoritized groups in conflict ignore the role of white national populism, but it also absolves the history and systems of inequality that positioned them there.

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  • A ‘History of Exclusion, of Erasure, of Invisibility.’ Why the Asian-American Story Is Missing From Many U.S. Classrooms

    Posted by · September 13, 2021 11:49 AM

    A group of children saluting the American flag at a school in the Chinatown area of Manhattan circa 1960. - Keystone View/FPG/Getty Images

    On the morning of March 17, Liz Kleinrock contemplated calling out of work. The shootings at three Atlanta-area spas had happened the night before, leaving eight dead including six women of Asian descent, and Kleinrock, a 33-year-old teacher in Washington, D.C., who is Asian-American, felt the news weighing on her heavily.

    But instead of missing work, she changed up her lesson plan. She introduced her sixth graders over Zoom to poems written by people of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during World War II. Her lesson included “My Plea,” printed in 1945 by a young person named Mary Matsuzawa who was held at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona: “I pray that someday every race / May stand on equal plane / And prejudice will find no dwelling place / In a peace that all may gain.”

    “I feel like so many Asian elders have been targeted because of this stereotype that Asians are meek and quiet and don’t speak up and don’t say anything, and therefore that makes our elderly easy targets,” Kleinrock said to TIME by phone, speaking of the purpose of the lesson. “And so it’s so important to be loud and to bring attention to this. Education is so important. If we don’t know our history, then we’re doomed to repeat the same thing over and over again.”

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  • Anti-Asian hate crimes in California jumped 107%, attorney general says

    Posted by · September 09, 2021 9:56 AM

    California Attorney General Rob Bonta released hate-crime statistics Wednesday showing a sharp increase in hate crimes against Asians last year.

    California AG says staggering jump in anti-Asian hate crimes

    KTVU's Henry Lee reports.

    "We're in a full-on state of crisis, state of emergency when it comes to hate crimes and hate violence," Bonta said.

    He spoke out in the heart of Oakland's Chinatown, where victims of Asian descent have been attacked and robbed.

    "It's important that I come here today as the California Attorney General, right here in Oakland Chinatown, my former assembly district, and say hate crimes are a priority," said Bonta, a former assemblymember who is from Alameda.

    Bonta said hate crimes against Asians in California jumped 107% from 2019 to 2020.

    The highest number of hate crimes happened in March and April of last year at the start of the shelter in place for the coronavirus.

    He said, "2020 wasn't just about a deadly virus. It was about an epidemic of hate as well."

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  • Hate crime reports in US surge to the highest level in 12 years, FBI says

    Posted by · August 31, 2021 8:53 AM

    More than 10,000 people reported to law enforcement last year that they were the victim of a hate crime because of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or disability -- a number that has been on the rise in recent years, according to FBI's annual hate crime statistics report.

    More than 10,000 people reported to law enforcement last year that they were the victim of a hate crime because of their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or disability -- a number that has been on the rise in recent years, according to FBI's annual hate crime statistics report.

    The report, released on Monday, found more than 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI in 2020, an increase of about 450 incidents over 2019. The increase comes even as fewer agencies reported hate crime incidents in their jurisdictions to the FBI than in previous years.
    Last year had the highest tally of reported hate crime incidents since 2008, when 7,783 incidents were reported to the FBI.
    Attacks targeting Black people rose to 2,755 from 1,930, and the number targeting Asians jumped to 274 from 161, the data showed.
    The data released on Monday showed that bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of reported hate crime offenses pertaining to race, with a total of 56% of those crimes motivated by anti-Black or African American bias. Asians have been targeted during the Covid-19 pandemic amid online and political rhetoric stigmatizing them, though this category of hate crime is often underreported.
  • White Supremacist Propaganda Spikes in 2020

    Posted by · August 17, 2021 9:13 AM

    Propaganda from groups such as Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association, Folks Front, and the Nationalist Social Club

     

    ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracked a near-doubling of white supremacist propaganda efforts in 2020, which included the distribution of racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters. The 2020 data shows a huge increase of incidents from the previous year, with a total of 5,125 cases reported (averaging more than 14 incidents per day), compared to 2,724 in 2019. This is the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded. The number of propaganda incidents on college campuses dropped by more than half, perhaps due to COVID restrictions.

    Propaganda gives white supremacists the ability to maximize media and online attention, while limiting the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage, arrests and public backlash that often accompanies more public events. The barrage of propaganda, which overwhelmingly features veiled white supremacist language with a patriotic slant, is an effort to normalize white supremacists’ message and bolster recruitment efforts while targeting minority groups including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, non-white immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.

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  • Hate crime laws won’t actually prevent anti-Asian hate crimes

    Posted by · July 15, 2021 4:22 PM

    By centering policing, they do little to address the root cause.

    "

    The largest federal response to a surge in attacks against Asian Americans since the start of the pandemic has been Congress’s Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act. The law, passed last month, designates a specific Justice Department official to focus on reviewing such incidents and provides grants to police departments so they can establish hotlines for hate crime reporting.

    According to multiple experts, however, hate crime laws, like the one Congress just passed, serve a symbolic purpose but don’t really do much to deter people from committing hate crimes.

    In fact, much of the conversation around hate crimes has centered on what happens after an attack has already taken place. There’s been a focus on the collection of hate crime data, calls for more policing or security in various communities, and an examination of the types of penalties that perpetrators should face.

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