By M. A. Saki

Asian Americans always considered foreigners in America: anti-racist activist

August 24, 2021 - 16:43

TEHRAN – An American anti-racist activist says that Asian Americans are always considered strangers in their own country.

“Asian Americans are always considered perpetual foreigners in our own country,” Jason Lee tells the Tehran Times. 

“Trump definitely stoked the flames with his anti-Asian rhetoric,” he adds.

“A lot of Americans were racist to Asians long before this but the pandemic basically gave them the green light to verbally and physically attack Asians,” Lee states.

An analysis of police department statistics has revealed that the United States experienced a significant hike in anti-Asian hate crimes last year across major cities.

The analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino examined hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent.

While some analysts refuse to entirely attribute this phenomenon to the Trump administration’s incendiary, racist rhetoric about the coronavirus, there is no doubt that Trump’s repeated rhetoric of “China virus” did play a part in fostering hate.

“The anti-hate crimes against Asians have skyrocketed because people wanted to blame Asian Americans for the pandemic even though COVID-19 reportedly started in Wuhan, China,” Lee argues.
Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Reports say anti-Asian hate crime in the U.S. has skyrocketed since the Covid-19 pandemic began. What is the reason for that? Is the U.S. government, especially during Trump's presidency, responsible for igniting such hatred?

A: The anti-hate crimes against Asians have skyrocketed because people wanted to blame Asian Americans for the pandemic even though COVID-19 reportedly started in Wuhan, China. Donald Trump added fuel to the fire by saying “Kung Flu and the Wuhan Virus as well as the China virus.” Asian Americans are always considered perpetual foreigners in our own country. Trump definitely stoked the flames with his anti-Asian rhetoric. A lot of Americans were racist to Asians long before this but the pandemic basically gave them the green light to verbally and physically attack Asians.

Q: Is there widespread awareness among American minorities against racism? Some black activists say that Asian-Americans collaborate with whites in suppressing people of color.

A: Every minority and person of color has encountered forms of racism living in America.  We all know it and experience it, some in more ways than others.  It’s a battle to fight white supremacy.  Asians are people of color too. We are all minorities. Some people say Asians are the “model minority” and “white adjacent” and that’s far from the case and not true at all. It’s dangerous and ignorant to keep thinking of Asians that way. People need to understand and educate themselves.

Q: What are the main obstacles to the integration of Asian-Americans into American society?

A: It’s easy for Asian Americans who were born in the United States to integrate since we are born here and speak English but it can be tough for immigrants from Asia with no or limited command of the English language.
It’s easier for them if there are other people just like them in the community.

Q: Do you see any correlation between deterioration of U.S.-China ties and spread of pandemic and anti-Asian hatred?

A: There’s definitely a correlation and it’s going to get more dangerous and scary in the future. Biden seems hell-bent on making China the “enemy” and a foe instead of being allies and China isn’t going to back down. China isn’t afraid of the United States and China is getting stronger and more powerful all the time. 

It would be better if this country didn’t make China the enemy and there’s so much anti-China propaganda spewed by the Western media and government too. Both countries are better off as allies and partners working together.

All the anti-China propaganda falls back on Asians living in America. We are considered outsiders and perpetual foreigners and not real Americans even though we pay taxes and have jobs and contribute immensely to our communities and to our country. It’s racist and unfair.

Q: Is there any holistic solution to eradicate crimes against Asian-Americans?

A: We need tougher laws and to punish criminals and racists who attack Asians and commit hate crimes. Asian Hate would decrease if our elected officials punish severely the perpetrators who do harm to Asians. For example, I live in San Francisco and our district attorney, Chesa Boudin, prioritizes criminals over victims and law-abiding residents. 

His policies and ideology allow criminals to be key off the hook and these criminals don’t get much or any jail time so they are released back to the streets and then they commit more crimes against Asians. Most of all of the racist people attacking Asians are repeat offenders. Our mayor is a Black woman, London Breed, and she doesn’t help much too since 95% of the racist attacks are being done by black perpetrators. It’s crazy out here with no justice for the Asian community.


 

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