The Media’s Silence on AAPI Racism is Deafening
One news cycle ends, another begins.
For the longest time I was part of the group of Asian-Americans who kept quiet, stayed low, and did as I was told. Not rocking the boat is the mantra for Asians living in North America. However, after everything that’s transpired in Georgia I can’t just sit back and hold my tongue. Enough is enough.
On Tuesday, 8 Asian women were killed by an act of domestic terrorism motivated by racism. That is what all headlines across America should have said. That is what all headlines across America should still be saying. Yet, in less than 48 hours I’m now only receiving news articles about the AstraZeneca vaccine and Billie Eilish going blonde. I find it appalling that as a nation we have chosen to push aside this tragic event; something that should be treated with the grief and severity that we saw just months ago on January 6. The fact that government officials are willing to perpetuate longstanding racist ideas about AAPI women in order to explain and justify the actions of the accused killer only scratches the surface of how disposable AAPI people have become in American society.
It has become engrained in American (and Canadian) culture that Asian-Americans are a minority undeserving of sympathy because they have found relative success in America. This “model minority” narrative has been used to minimize and undermine the validity of the racism and harassment faced by the AAPI community. The perpetuation that a person of a visible minority is no longer worthy of activism and support once they have found success in America. I am unable to wrap my head around the idea that underprivileged people must remain underprivileged in order for the violence and hatred acted upon them to be valid. We should be lifting up people in BIPOC communities by validating all instances of white oppression, not cherry-picking cases to fit our narratives. Otherwise, what’s the point of seeking equality and opportunity for BIPOC people?
We know that hate crimes against AAPI people have skyrocketed since the pandemic has started. We know that even our former president, in the highest office of government, had no regard for the emotional or physical well-being of Chinese-Americans. Yet, even after months of AAPI people shouting their pain and fear, no one has listened. And if this week is any indication, people will continue to pretend they can’t hear us.
I’m done not rocking the boat. I’m sending the boat to shore as quickly as possible to fight and protect the uncles, aunties, grandparents, and countless others in my communities who are being harassed and assaulted everyday. For my parents who sacrificed everything they had to give me the American Dream, only to fear going to the grocery store because they don’t want to experience violence. For the Asian children who accept bullying and racism because they think high grades and college acceptance is enough to fit into the country they so dearly love. Enough is enough. It is time that the AAPI community tackle the trauma that for years we have been too afraid to talk about. And it’s time that people listened to us when we speak.