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Awaken Blog

On Anti-Asian Hate Crimes: Who Is Our Real Enemy?

A photo of an Asian man standing in front of a store in Oakland Chinatown. There is a long golden and black dragon mural to the right of him. He is standing in front of a green wall, below a sign written in Chinese.
Photo Credit: Isabella Chen
  1. Acknowledge, amplify, and denounce the ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes. Say it in your own words. Say this is not okay. Say you condemn it. Say you believe it is wrong. Say it personally and organizationally. Make space for our pain because there is always enough space for all of us — all of our pain, healing, and liberation can coexist without diminishing the other.
  2. Interrupt anti-Asian racism and anti-Black racism. Neither is okay, in any context. When you see Asians being called “chinks” “dog eaters” “disease spreaders” “dirty” or otherwise blamed for the violence we are experiencing — please shut it down. And when non-Black folks, even if they are Asians who are hurting right now, engage in anti-Blackness by saying “Black people are criminals,” “Black people are dangerous” — please call that out, too. We must be principled in our anger and channel it to dismantling the real enemy: white supremacy culture that creates the either/or binary and scarcity mindset that has left us fighting each other for the scraps.
  3. Interrupt generalizations: If someone says, “Asians are anti-Black,” say “Anti-Blackness is a pervasive issue within the Asian community and many Asians have been working within their own community to address and challenge this. Have you been following their work?” If someone says, “Black people hate Asians,” say, “Your generalization of an entire community based on a few examples is harmful. There are plenty of Black people fighting in solidarity with Asian people right now. Do you know them?”
  4. Interrupt the active and persistent erasure of Black and Asian solidarity work. When Black people say “Asians never show up for us,” or when Asian people say, “Black people don’t care about us,” talk about how throughout history, our solidarity work has been erased deliberately and intentionally by our education system and the media to worsen the divide. We need to amplify these examples of solidarity to heal and build trust together.
  5. Invest in community-based interventions. Contrary to what some may believe, enhancing our contact with the police is not a long-term solution that will keep our community safe. Despite its 2-block proximity to the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Chinatown is not “safe”as evidenced by the increased attacks against its residents and businesses. Just in December, Christian Hall, a 19-year old Asian teen in Pennsylvania, was shot by the state police while having a mental health crisis. Asians are among the fastest growing undocumented populations in the U.S., and those who fear deportation and criminalization will not be safe in the presence of more police. Even when the police are called, our incidents rarely get documented correctly or acted upon with a sense of urgency. Neighborhoods with heavy police presence are not safer. Neighborhoods with access to quality medical and mental health care, financial support, food and shelter, education, are. Rather than calling for more policing, FBI surveillance, and funneling money towards the deeply racist criminalization system that seeks to uphold white supremacy, invest time, money, and energy into creating and supporting community-based interventions that seek to keep all of us safe.



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Michelle MiJung Kim