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Attacks against Asian Americans are on the rise. Here’s what you can do

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Ham’s sentiments echo the fatigue, frustration, and collective trauma experienced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) due to recent racist attacks on their communities.

For many in the AAPI community, just leaving home requires a new routine and a mental shift that prioritizes survival. He joins in a subtle fear, wondering if they or a loved one will become the next victim.

“I no longer listen to music when I walk,” Pearl Sun says. “I want to make sure I pay attention to what or what might be going on around me.”

This rise in hostility towards Asian Americans coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic. Between March and December 2020, 2,808 complaints were reported to Stop AAPI Hate. The organization, which tracks racist encounters against Asian Americans, reported that 8.7 percent of the incidents involved physical assault and 71 percent included verbal harassment such as that experienced. NBA star Jeremy Lin when he was called a “coronavirus” in court.

In a recent one interview Lin spoke with CNN presenter Don Lemon about the need for awareness and solidarity for members of the AAPI community.

The story we rarely hear about

While Covid-19 may be raising xenophobic flames right now, racism against Asian Americans is not new.

The history of racism against Asians in the United States dates back to the 19th century, he says Doris Chang, Associate professor at New York University and clinical psychologist studying the impact of racism on the AAPI community. He points to the recruitment of single men from nineteenth-century China to obtain cheap labor in American mines, fishing boats, and railroad construction.

“They were willing to take jobs working in terrible conditions, getting bad wages. As the economy got worse, they finally saw themselves as a threat to white men in terms of a threat to their job and a threat. for their livelihood, ”explains Professor Chang. .

“We saw these explosions of anti-Asian violence until the late 1800s. Finally, we saw when it gave rise to the passages of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was the first legislation to officially ban immigration or it limited immigration on the basis of race itself. ”

Professor Chang says violence against Asian Americans occurs in cycles marked by latency. Asian people are often “welcome in this country as long as they are considered useful to us for the larger American project.”

“In times of social, political and economic instability,” he continued, “we are once again marginalized and considered a ‘perpetual alien’ and therefore a threat to national security.”

& quot;  It has been a really painful experience to see that our most revered members of our community were targeted & quot;  says Doris Chang, a clinical psychologist and professor at New York University.

Resurgence of hatred

While Covid-19 spread to the United States, President Trump publicly referred to the coronavirus as “Kung flu” and the “China virus.” He insisted that the denominations were not racist, but simply referred to the geographical origin of the pandemic. But Professor Chang says the descriptions resonate and help ignite this cycle of discrimination.

“So we have this union of stereotypes, combined with the activation of these stereotypes for political rhetoric, combined with a sense of insecurity and fear.”

Chang and his team are currently studying Asian American experience during the pandemic in combination with protests over the assassination of George Floyd. Its goal is to ultimately promote alliances and solidarity with Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights groups. But his first discoveries reveal disturbing figures for his own community.

In their survey of about 700 Asian Americans across the country, 16 percent reported being deliberately coughed or spat. And 24 percent reported discrimination in the workplace, while 14 percent said they had been banned from an establishment such as a store.

The increase in discrimination against the AAPI community is distressing. But there are ways back and resources are available to support. Here’s what you can do:

Talk and talk

Asian Americans advancing in justice (AAJC) has created the file Be against hatred platform that allows Asians and Asian Americans to share their stories and “document hatred” as a way to educate and inform.
“When it comes to defense, one of the questions we still ask ourselves when we talk to people about this is,‘ Is it real? “That’s literally the question some people will ask us,” he explains John C. Yang President and CEO of the AAJC. He says the “Stand Against Odred” platform documents that this is real. Document where this happened. ”

Yang also explains how this platform amplifies the visibility of AAPI people while reshaping and reclaiming a narrative perpetuated by harmful stereotypes.

“Unfortunately, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are often invisible to the public. Or, where we are visible, it falls into a couple of different stereotypes. One stereotype is the so-called ‘model minority’: the suggestion that there are no problems this really affects the Asian American community.

“And we know this is false. This moment proves this to be false.”

By amplifying and focusing AAPI voices, the needs of the community are also amplified.

“So in that sense, it’s critical to make sure these stories are visible: those needs are visible.”

Hollaback, in collaboration with Asians Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), is organizing free spectator intervention training to combat anti-Asian American racism.

Teach and train

Hollaback, a website that fights harassment, partners with AAJC to launch for free spectator intervention training. “We are launching these trainings in collaboration with them (AAJC) to really help people who are witnessing anti-Asian and anti-Asian American harassment and are equipped to respond safely,” explains Emily May of Hollaback.

The one-hour intensive class explores the spectrum of disrespect, from microaggression to violence.

According to the organization’s website, the training teaches how to intervene safely when anti-Asian racism is witnessed, either online or in person. It also allows you to practice real world scenarios. Virtual events are free, but you must register.

For those who have experienced harassment, Hollaback created an online class to help survivors cope and grow.

“What we wanted to do with training on‘ what to do if you experience this type of harassment ’is really to support this healing and resilience,” May tells CNN.

“Our hope in providing these intervention trainings and equipping Asians and Americans to have more resilience practices at their disposal is that we can begin to heal some of the long-term multigenerational traumas that are happening.”

Racism attacks the mind

As a clinical psychologist, Doris Chang says many of her Asian and Asian American clients are very distressed due to recent attacks.

While the need is great, “Asian Americans tend to underutilize mental health services more than other groups. We just don’t go there,” Chang explains.

“While black Americans and Hispanic Americans are beginning to turn to therapy in greater numbers than before, that hasn’t changed for Asian Americans.”

Doris Chang PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at New York University.  His current research explores the Asian American experience with racism during the pandemic and after the assassination of George Floyd.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), members of the AAPI community are the least likely to seek help from any racial group. In 2019, according to the organization, only 23.3% of adults with AAPI mental illness received treatment.
To help raise awareness about mental health offerings for AAPI people, NAMI has listed a number of resources designed specifically for Asian Americans. Among the resources listed is Psychology Today’s search portal to help AAPI people find Asian mental health professionals with a common background.
In addition to NAMI, the Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut along with the #IAMNOTAVIRUS campaign has created a downloadable workbook promote and prioritize self-care of Asian Americans.

Protect Asian elders

Between March 2020 and December 2020, Stop AAPI Hate received 126 reports of incidents specifically related to elderly Asians and Asian Americans. Professor Chang explains that CNN’s safety for older family members, many of whom do not speak English as a first language, is a major concern.

“It’s been a really painful experience to see that our most revered members of our community were targets.”

In response, they created activists in the Bay of California Compassion in Oakland to accompany elderly Asian men and women who may feel insecure outdoors. According to the nonprofit website, more than 400 Californians are taking a step forward to protect elderly Asian Americans. On the organization’s website, out-of-state volunteers can request to bring a “compassion project” to their area.

Raise funds to empower AAPI people and businesses

There are numerous grassroots crowdfunding sites that raise funds for specific causes against xenophobia. You can also configure one your own community.

“What GoFundMe does best is allow people to act on the causes that matter most to them, in real time,” says Musa Tariq of GoFundMe.

“The community that created the #StopAsianHate initiative is remarkable: people share their personal experiences with racism and ask for help from other people.”

Jean Casarez, Aaron Cooper and Steve Coppin contributed to this report.

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