In the past few months, there has been an alarming rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States. What started as isolated incidents of verbal and physical harassment soon gave way to more organized forms of discrimination. There were boycotts of Asian-owned businesses, racial slurs written on public property and even physical attacks.
by David Stone
One of the main sources of this prejudice is the false notion that Asian immigrants are responsible for taking jobs away from Americans and driving down wages — despite evidence showing that immigrants often create more job opportunities for native citizens.
This misconception is further fueled by media depictions of Asians as perpetual foreigners with limited language skills who somehow manage to outperform native-born Americans.
The “model minority” stereotype also serves to perpetuate this discrimination. Painting all Asians as highly successful and well-educated reinforces the idea. Some believe they are privileged and thus undeserving of sympathy when facing adversity.
Compounding Anti-Asian Bias
This leads to situations where victims of racism feel ashamed or afraid to speak out about their experiences. This compounds already existing problems and discourages solutions.
It’s further complicated by the fact that many Asian Americans are assumed to come from “foreign” countries, not from America. That fosters feelings of alienation and invisibility within their own society.
This has contributed to a lack of unity amongst Asian Americans, which makes it even harder to combat anti-Asian bias together.
Ultimately, anti-Asian bias cannot be eliminated until we address both its root causes. That’s entrenched stereotypes, widespread misinformation, economic disparities – and the impact on individuals’ lives.
It is only through open discussion about these issues that we can truly start making progress toward a society free from bigotry and prejudice against any group of people.