DAC Statement on Anti-Asian Violence 3/5/2021

Stop AAPI hate. In solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander community, we stand against white supremacy, violence, misogyny, and xenophobia. We ask you to join us in learning and acting to address historic patterns of racial injustice, especially toward the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, and their implications for our personal and work lives.

The pandemic has enabled targeted violence, hate crimes, and scapegoating against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Racism against the AAPI community has dated back to at least the early 19th century in the United States. Beginning with hostility, hatred, violence, and racist legislation targeted at Chinese immigrants (for example, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882), many Asian and Pacific Islander nationalities and ethnicities that have immigrated to the United States have repeatedly endured alienation, harassment, and discrimination. Anti-Asian hatred and prejudicial practices continued to occur throughout the 20th century with examples including the denigration of Filipinos to justify continued US colonial rule in the islands of the Philippines and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Now in the 21st century, anti-Asian and Pacific Islander racism persists. Fear, stigmatization, and violence towards the AAPI community surged during the 2003 SARS outbreak and history has repeated itself during the COVID-19 pandemic.

From March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, 3,795 firsthand accounts of anti-Asian hate have been recorded in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including Austin and other major Texas cities. These reported incidents only represent a fraction of the hate directed against the AAPI community as the Pew Research Center found that 31% of Asian Americans have been subjected to racial slurs or racist jokes since the beginning of the pandemic. With that said, the number of hate incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate and the trends within the data demonstrate Asian Americans’ vulnerability to racism and the types of discrimination they face:

  • Nearly 70 percent of hate incidents are happening to women with reports from women coming in 2.3 times more than men
  • People of all races and ethnicities are targeted with Chinese people as the largest ethnicity experiencing hate (42.2%)
  • Youths (0 to 17 years old) and seniors (60 years and older) make up 12.6% and 6.2% of total incidents respectively
  • Verbal harassment (68.1%) and deliberate avoidance or shunning of Asian Americans (20.5%) are the two largest types of discrimination being faced
  • Businesses (35.4%) and public streets (25.3%) are the primary sites where this discrimination is occurring
  • California (45%) and New York (14%) lead the country in the number of hate incident reports, and Texas (3%) is listed among the top 10 states

We further acknowledge that violence and hatred are even more prevalent at the intersections of social identities. AAPI women are bearing the brunt of this wave of violence. This is made all too evident from the first statistic above and from the horrific recent events in Atlanta resulting in the deaths of 9 people, 6 of whom were Asian women: Xiaojie Tan (49), Daoyou Feng (44), Hyun Jung Grant (51), Suncha Kim (69), Soon Chung Park (74), and Yong Ae Yue (63). We want to recognize the disparate impact on the intersectional identity of Asian women who are often exoticized and objectified in our broader culture as well as viewed through the mythical “model minority” lens.

The Diversity Action Committee will:
Following from our core mission and our racial justice statement from last year in June:

  • We commit to engage our community, our colleagues, and our patrons in the ongoing conversation and movement toward racial justice;
  • commit to having explicit conversations and educational opportunities within our committee about racial discrimination and our complicity in it;
  • make more explicit in our conversations and programs that racism impacts many different communities, including some that are often overlooked, including AAPI;
  • engage staff with how to interrupt racism, how to talk about racism, and how to be allies and upstanders (blog posts, webinars, readings, digital space, etc.).

What you can do:

In addition to ongoing and upcoming programming, education, and communications, we have provided a list of resources on how to have conversations with your colleagues and how to be an upstander and ally. These resources are meant to supplement ongoing education in the persistent advocacy for racial justice.