Racially motivated harassment of Asian Americans is a longstanding issue in the U.S., but in the year since COVID-19 entered the country, incidents have been on the rise.
Helen Zia, AAPI activist and author of “Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People,” says that part of the problem is the invisibility of Asian American communities and lack of understanding of the racism they have faced. “It’s part of the systemic racism of depriving all Americans — including Asian Americans — of our own history,” she said. “I call it ‘missing in history.’”
Zia points to problematic and popular depictions of people of Asian descent. Many are cartoon-like and portrayed as subhuman, animalistic or enemy invaders.
The absence of accurate knowledge about AAPI history, Zia said, keeps people fighting with each other instead of coming together to ensure that no one is demeaned or attacked.
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