Statement on the Surge in Anti-Asian Violence from the Aquino Scholarship Committee and the Asian American Studies Program

Min Hyoung Song, Director of the Asian American Studies Program and Chair of the Aquino Scholarship Committee
Joe Burns
, Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs
Urwa Hameed
, the current Aquino Scholarship holder
Kenji Hayao
, Associate Professor of Political Science
Arissa Oh
, Associate Professor of History
Billy Soo
, Vice Provost for Faculties
Wan Tang
, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
Anthony Tran
, Assistant Professor of Communications
Min Zhao
, Associate Professor of Marketing
Tiffany Zheng
, Assistant Director of the Thea Bowman Center

Since the start of the pandemic, which the former president of the United States referred to as the “Chinese flu” and “kung flu,” there have been 3,800 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian violence. Particularly sensational and deadly attacks have also made headlines, and the numbers of the attacks seem to be rising. Women have been disproportionately targeted. Most recently, a single person killed eight people, including six Asian American women, at three different Asian massage spas in the Atlanta area. While we are still learning details, it seems highly likely that race was a motivating factor.

We categorically condemn these acts of racism. We take solace in the fact that many institutions have made statements denouncing this violence and the racist rhetoric that encourages it, as well as in the actions of many community organizations who have stepped forward to offer direct aid to the most vulnerable. We are supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement and believe discussions of anti-Asian violence should be mindful of the complex role that law enforcement plays in discussions about race. We want to support existing community organizations and the people who are already doing the difficult work of addressing the many challenges they face.

As educators, we encourage BC students to learn more about the long history of anti-Asian sentiment, practices, and institutions in the United States, as well as the cultural, social, and political forces behind them. The recent racial incidents that have occurred on campus, while they seem not to have targeted Asian Americans, might also be understood as being shaped by these larger dynamics, and so can give us an opportunity to think with others across racial divides about what we have in common. We are adding a list of books to this statement that contributes to this understanding, already explored in articles by Hua Hsu, Anne Cheng, and Jennifer Lee.

We urge anyone who feels vulnerable or in need of someone to talk with to seek counseling. BC University Counseling Services is an excellent resource, and offers many services for students. Please also do not hesitate to reach out to your BAIC advisor at the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center if you need any additional support. If you are aware of any incidents on campus or have been impacted directly, be sure to use this form to report them.

Finally, we ask all BC community members to stay informed and engaged, and to contribute to community organizations that are already doing the important work of recording incidents and offering support. The following are organizations that the Asian Caucus have identified in their own statement. These organizations are doing work we wish to amplify:

Further Reading

  • Pratyusha Tummala-Narra, ed., Trauma and Racial Minority Immigrants (2021)
  • Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning (2020)
  • Laila Lalami, Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America (2020)
  • Beth Lew-Williams, The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America (2018)
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, ed., The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (2018)
  • Dean Itsuji Saranillio, Unsustainable Empire: Alternative Histories of Hawai’i Statehood (2018)
  • Jeff Chang, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation (2016)
  • Martin Manalansan and Augusto Espiritu, Filipino Studies: Palimpsest of Nation and Diaspora (2016)
  • Deepa Iyer, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future (2015)
  • Eric Tang, Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto (2015)
  • Derald Wing Sue, Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race (2015)
  • Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, third edition (2015)
  • Ellen Wu, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (2014)
  • Dawn Mabalon, Little Manila Is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipino/a Community in Stockton (2013)
  • Lisa Marie Cacho, Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected (2012)
  • Junaid Rana, Terrifying Muslims: Race and Labor in the South Asian Diaspora (2011)
  • Martin Manalansan, Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora (2003)
  • Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People (2001)
  • Vijay Prashad, The Karma of Brown Folk (2000)
  • Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans (Revised, 1998)
  • Yen Le Espiritu, Filipino American Lives (1995)