Introducing #StopAsianHate, a new blog from Medium
Since the start of the pandemic, over 6,600 incidents of anti-Asian hate crimes have been documented by the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, with countless others left unreported due to fear and shame. There have been verbal taunts and slurs, physical assaults, and a shooting spree in Atlanta that killed six women of Asian descent. Another spree killed eight people, including four Sikh Americans in Indianapolis. Many of the attacks targeted already marginalized communities, including the elderly population, frontline essential workers, and small-business owners. As schools begin to reopen across the country, some Asian American families have been hesitant to send their children back for fear of targeted attacks.
With over 20 million people making up roughly 6% of the total population, the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community is one of the most diverse demographic groups in the United States, representing more than 20 countries. We encompass the widest socioeconomic disparity among all demographic groups. And yet too often, this group has been treated like a monolith, plagued by harmful stereotypes — the “perpetual foreigner” and perhaps even more damaging, the “model minority” — alienating individual communities from one another.
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong powerfully examines these tensions in her essay collection, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning:
Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition — if such a thing exists?
Along with so many Asian Americans, the past year has highlighted and also resurfaced decades of racial trauma for us. Unpleasant memories once pushed away into the far corners of our minds have returned — or never quite went away. Many of us have spent many sleepless nights grappling with how to contend with anti-Asian hate. But against the backdrop that’s unveiling itself right now, one thing has become clear: Words and actions matter.
We don’t just mean the harmful rhetoric we’ve heard over the past year — former President Donald Trump used racist slurs like “Wuhan virus,” “China flu,” or “Kung flu,” putting blame on an entire group of people. Yes, those negative words have sparked real-life consequences that we’re seeing play out in real time. But we are talking about the words that go deeper, the words that depict the complex experience of being Asian in America. Words about our joy, our heartache, and all the other words we need to amplify even more right now.
This week, Medium is launching the #StopAsianHate blog to create space for these words and conversations and to chronicle the xenophobia and anti-Asian racism plaguing the country. Its name grows out of the powerful #StopAsianHate social campaign launched on GoFundMe in early March. We are exploring an array of perspectives — from Asian Americans and our allies — celebrating our humanity and our many diverse cultures while also reckoning with racial identity and systems that tolerate and encourage racism.
We invite you to join the discussion by sharing your personal story, reflections, and solutions. Please share your essay on Medium and use the tag “StopAsianHate.” (Once you hit “Publish” on your post, you can type it into the “Add a tag” box.) Here are a few writing prompts to get you started:
- Asian Americans have long been excluded or overlooked in our country’s race narrative, which has often been filtered through a lens of White supremacy. Poet and writer Cathy Park Hong powerfully discusses this in her debut essay collection, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. What are your “minor feelings”? Share your own personal reckoning with your racial identity and what it means to be AAPI in America today.
- What was your earliest memory where you became aware of your race? Describe that moment and/or experience.
- What does it mean to be co-laborers to advance racial justice? What does allyship look like to you?
- If you identify as biracial or multiracial, tell us a story about the joys and/or challenges of straddling multiple cultures.
- How do you express and celebrate your culture in your community?
In the following weeks, we’ll feature select stories on the #StopAsianHate blog. You can link to this post at the end of your story so that your readers and followers can participate, too.
Stay strong, stay safe, and let’s continue to stay connected by sharing our stories. Hate is a virus, but we can help curb it by deepening our understanding of one another.