By Sehr R
Imagine living in a world where you feel different, where you are discriminated against and disrespected, where people make you feel worse about yourself because you look different. This was, and is still happening to people of Asian origin in The United States of America, where the rights of people and freedom are supposed to be guaranteed. This should not be happening to Asian Americans. Stay with me to learn about Asian hate and take action.
COVID 19, a highly infectious disease, was unleashed in 2020. Asian Americans were targeted because this virus originated in China. The first human case included a man who contracted the virus from an animal in Asia. This caused the majority to start calling it the “Chinese Virus”, even though it could have happened anywhere. For so long, the Chinese have been blamed for the COVID outbreak although it was just a natural phenomenon.
Violence against Asians included shootings, causing deaths, injuries and destruction. According to sfchronicle, police data shows, San Francisco alone saw 60 reported hate crimes against Asians and Asian-owned businesses last year alone, representing a 567% increase between 2020 and 2021. Asian students are encountering bullies in schools, even though school is perceived as a secure environment. Asians are being accused of businesses shutting down and losing their jobs. They are also being put at fault for the suffering everyone is going through, which should not be the case.
To bring awareness to the hate, Asians are protesting against the discrimination they are facing. Social activists such as Justin Zhu, co-founded “Stand with Asian Americans”, to bring awareness and rally support for victims of hate crimes. There were parades and rallies with signs that state “I am not a virus,” and “ FIGHT THE VIRUS NOT THE PEOPLE!”.
The history of United States has many instances of discrimination against Asian Americans, going back some 140 years . The Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law established in 1882, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years. This was the first time the US established an immigration law based on national origin. The intent of this law was to maintain healthy wage levels, but it created extreme hardships on Chinese immigrants, including separation of families, committed injustice and unfair treatment to the Chinese workers, and made the American economy suffer. It soured the relationship between the US and China. The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943.
Asian Americans were discriminated against during World War 2. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The US government declared that all Japanese-American citizens had to be sent to Internment camps because there was a possibility that some could be spies for Japan. Japanese people saw their first and last days in these unsanitary Internment camps. Signs on stores read Go Home!, and news articles posted offensive jokes and untrue statements about Japanese people.
Fred Korematsu was a Japanese American who was sent to an Internment camp. He went to court many times fighting for the rights of his people, but even with all his lawyers he kept losing. One day, Fred and his team found a few documents stating that the US knew that Japan was going to bomb Pearl Harbor and they did not do anything. They left the Japanese to suffer and starve for no reason. Fred went back to court to present this evidence and he finally won his case. He was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton for fighting for every single Japanese American.
Social activism is more important now than anytime in the past. This is what you should do now: take action, speak up if you witness Asian hate or if you see others experiencing the same. You should learn more about Asian discrimintaion all throughout history. One place to start is by reading Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi. An impactful way to empower the Asian Americans is to build awareness through art, poetry and community service programs, including peaceful demonstrations and donating to causes that support Asians-Americans.
You can make a meaningful change towards Asian American Rights through Awareness and Action.
About the Author
Sehr, a 5th grader, loves writing history, fiction and mysteries. Her passion is to sketch and paint. Sehr’s favorite vacation spot is Italy for its food and monuments.