« Back to blog posts

Standing Up to Anti-Asian Hate

Category: Way of Living – Pop-Up Event

Date: March 25, 2021

Soyoung Park joined us for an impassioned, vulnerable, and urgent conversation about her experience with anti-Asian hate in this country. Soyoung is a Korean-American teacher educator and a scholar of early childhood. Her presentation was extraordinarily moving, enlightening and informative. It invited us all to start over as more knowledgeable, empathetic allies and citizens, by: providing actionable steps we can take to be upstanders, placing the current moment within historical context, and deepening our awareness of the beautiful multiplicity of the AAPI identity. 

Soyoung made the personal public in a spirit of power, hoping to reclaim her visibility in a society that can strategically deem her identity invisible. Soyoung stated that she hoped this talk would help all who identify as AAPI feel seen in the thoughts and stories she shared, and we want to thank her for so generously sharing both.

AAPI stands for Asian American Pacific Islander. There is some controversy about whether it is more inclusive or divisive to say Asian American or Asian American Pacific Islander, and our talk and this post go back and forth between the two, always with the intention of inclusivity.

1) How to React to Situations of Anti-Asian Hate or Racism

Always stand up to Anti-Asian hate with some form of action. Anyone can choose to become an upstander.

Below are the 5 “D”s of being an Upstander, provided by the Asian-American Federation and Center for Anti-Violence Education.

The 5 “D”s of Being An Upstander 

  1. Direct – respond directly to the person causing harm. Speak calmly, but firmly.
  2. Distract – Divert attention away.
  3. Delegate – Get help from someone else.
  4. Delay – Check in with the person who was harmed after the incident. Educate ourselves and our communities on why this happened.
  5. Document – If someone is already helping the person in crisis, document through photos or a video. Never post or share what you have documented without consent from the person who was harmed.

Other Ways to Be an Upstander

You can support AAPI-owned businesses. The pandemic disproportionately impacted AAPI-owned small businesses. Between February and April 2020, 28% of Asian-owned small businesses closed, compared to 17% of White-owned small businesses. From February to June 2020, there was a 450% increase in Asian-American unemployment rates. Asian business owners face huge challenges because of added systemic discrimination, for example, essential information about government relief programs are inaccessible to many Asian business owners as it is not translated into Asian languages.

You can support organizations that serve and advance justice for the AAPI community. Please see the list that Soyoung provided for organizations to support. Soyoung purposefully included organizations that support Asian-Americans working in healthcare, as a high proportion of Asian-Americans are medical workers, subject to the scorn of their patients while they risk their lives on a daily basis, during the pandemic, to care for them. 

You can check in or send a note of solidarity to your AAPI friends and colleagues. Be aware of and sensitive to the psychological and emotional stress your AAPI friends and colleagues are experiencing. From March 2020 to February 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents. Reported hate crimes increased by 150% in major U.S. cities in 2020, and according to NYPD data, hate crimes against Asians increased by 1900% in NYC in the last year. These numbers are devastating and can evoke intense fear, heavily impacting the mental health, emotional health, and overall well-being of Asian Americans.

Please see the list of resources Soyoung provided, so you can choose your own way to be an upstander. 

2) How to Think About These Events Within the Context of AAPI History

First and foremost, we need to name anti-Asian hate as hate. 

There is a long history of refusing to label a crime as motivated by hate when the victim is Asian American. It underscores a cultural blindness to the racism experienced by Asian Americans.

Below are a few of the historical atrocities, the crimes committed in hate, perpetrated against members of the AAPI community.

1871 – Chinese massacre in LA

1942-1945 – Japanese Internment

1982 – Murder of Vincent Chin

2021 has been a particularly devastating and dangerous year for Asian Americans, and yet we still do not recognize the severity and seriousness of the anti-Asian racism in our country.

2021 – Vichar Ratanapakdee murdered

2021 – 52-yr old Chinese woman pushed to the ground and required stitches

2021 – 36-yr old Chinese woman stabbed in the back while walking home

2021 – 75-year old Pak Ho robbed, killed and shoved

2021 – 8 people, including 6 Asian women murdered in a shooting spree across 3 spas in the Atlanta area.

The most recent murders were shrugged off, not called an act of hate, but as perpetrated by someone “having a really bad day.”

Historically and within our current moment, the Asian community has been blamed for not organizing, for being quiet. This accusation is a racist erasure of Asian voices, as the AAPI community has been advocating, speaking out, and protesting for over a century. Soyoung powerfully noted – it’s not a “speaking” problem. It’s a listening problem. 

As upstanders and allies, it is essential to be comfortable with listening – to actively and consciously create space for Asian-American voices to share their stories, spread their culture, excavate their rage, and revel in their joy.

3) How to Better Understand the AAPI Community

First, acknowledge their pain, strengths, and diversity. This community is not invisible, and they are certainly not monolithic.

Soyoung parsed out the various ways people use or erase her identity to assuage their own feelings of discomfort or manipulate the populace.

Convenient Visibility

It is convenient for Asian Americans’ Asian identity to be visible when their “Success” can be used as an example of the American Dream working. The AAPI community is often used as an example of a model minority, in order to justify the ongoing oppression of brown and black folks, but ultimately maintaining White supremacy. The Asian identity is visible when politicians and the general public need a scapegoat.

It is convenient for Asian identity to be visible when an Asian American does something that could mark them as a “foreigner” or when someone mentions “Asia.” Asian Americans are essentially otherized at any opportunity.

Convenient Invisibility

It is convenient for Asian Americans’ Asian identity to be invisible when people are trying to show that racism is real and do not know what to do with AAPI “success.” Researchers in education cannot explain the Asian narrative, as their research is narrow and deficit-based. The achievement gap, a racist concept, is used to prove racial stratification. Researchers will skip over the Asian column rather than examine their own racist practices and arguments when evaluating achievement test results by race.

An Asian identity is conveniently invisible when people speak of “America,” but are really only referring to “White America.” Sentences that begin with “We Americans” usually only refer to the White American experience, and that kind of talk functions as erasure of the Asian community.

An Asian identity is made purposefully invisible when White fragility kicks in; when White people need to feel that they are not the only ones living with White privilege.

Diversity within the Asian American Community

There is a tendency to lump all Asian Americans together, when it is an incredibly diverse community.

AANHPI Census Distribution

  • East Asian (35%): Chinese (23%), Japanese (8%), Korean (4%)
  • Southeast Asian (31%): Filipino (15%), Vietnamese (10%), Burmese/Myanmar (2%), Cambodian (1%), Hmong (1%), Laotian (1%), Thai (<1%), Indonesian (<1%)
  • South Asian (26%): Asian Indian (22%), Pakistani (3%), Bangladeshi (1%), Nepalese (<1%)
  • Native Hawaiian (8%): Other Pacific Islander (3%), Polynesian (2%), Micronesian (1%), Native Hawaiian (1%), Guamanian or Chamorro (<1%), Samoan (<1%)

Asian Americans have the highest within-group income inequality in the U.S. 

Acknowledging the diversity of the AAPI community is tied to the larger acknowledgement that they are not a single-story people.

Like all individuals, Asian Americans want to be their full selves all the time. 

Assumptions people hold about what it means to be Asian are oppressive, and they strip them of their ability to freely be themselves. Big parts of who they are are rendered invisible – pain, hurt, joys, strengths are erased from the experience of what it means to be Asian in the U.S., because this complexity does not fit inside a false narrative. Erasing so much of the Asian experience and identity ultimately leads to dehumanization, which can have devastating and violent effects. 

Han and Jeong

Soyoung shared that we can learn a tremendous amount from her people’s culture. 

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, a feminist Christian theologian of korean descent, writes about the healing of Han through a spirit of Jeong. These are two Korean concepts that have no English equivalent. Han refers to deep generational pain and suffering while Jeong is affection, love and connection that binds us together. Jeong is “a sticky kind of love.” Together, they manifest in a “suffering love.” So even if someone has caused Han, perpetuated it or turned a blind eye to it, the person harmed is still connected to this person in and through love. 

Our individual and collective strength resides in love, and it forms a powerful connectedness between us all. These beautiful, enlivening, and supportive ideas are central to the Korean identity; we are all connected, so we can choose to answer hatred with love.

——————————————————

It is imperative that we bring any new or renewed understanding, awareness, and conviction to the work of starting over. We have the information and ability to participate in ending the erasure and violence against Asian Americans. We can participate by listening. We can participate with the 5 Ds of being an upstander. We can participate by acknowledging the diversity within the AAPI community. Our participation does not need to be fueled by outrage, although wholly justified, but can be driven by Grace Ji-Sun Kim’s message that we are all connected through love.

Other articles:

Parenting with Sanity and Joy

Way of Living – Parenting June 8, 2021 Sue Groner joined us for a Way of Living conversation about the joys and challenges of parenting. She shared her CLEARR method, emphasizing how respectful communication with your child can alter the dynamic in your home, making your child more responsible while you experience less stress. She…

Keep reading »

The Power of Notebooking and Journaling

Way of Living – Literacy June 1, 2021 Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator, joined us for a Way of Living conversation about the types, benefits, and joys of notebooking. She illuminated how notebooking is an activity that can be tailored to our interests, needs, and hopes, ultimately supporting us to grow closer to the…

Keep reading »

Entrepreneurship in the Fintech World

Work – Fintech May 25, 2021 Luvleen Sidhu, the Chair, CEO and Founder of BM Technologies, Inc., joined us for a fascinating conversation about digital banking, taking her company public, and the practices that keep her grounded. She inspired us to start over with both our understanding of banking itself and how to reframe daily…

Keep reading »

Dementia with Dignity

Wellness – Awareness May 18, 2021 Patti Wick joined us for a powerful yet sensitive conversation about managing the effects of dementia, after a loved one is diagnosed. Patti shared data as well as lived wisdom that can help us to start over our thinking about dementia itself and start over our approach with loved…

Keep reading »

Timely Tech Tips

Way of Living – Tech Date: May 4, 2021 Christopher Hobbick, an IT expert, joined us for an important conversation about how to successfully, safely, and easily start over our digital lives. He shared the details of his upcoming application for estate planning and then provided quick tips for how we can use our devices…

Keep reading »

Bibliotherapy as Self Care

Category: Way of Living – Literacy Date: April 27, 2021 Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator, joined us for a Wellness conversation about reading as a method of self care. She defined bibliotherapy, illuminated self care, outlined the benefits of reading, provided tips on how to start over our reading life, and gifted us many…

Keep reading »

Finding Hope After COVID

Category: Wellness – Care Date: April 20, 2021 Mark Shapiro, MD, joined us for a Wellness conversation about his experience with COVID as a hospitalist in Santa Rosa, California. He vulnerably shared the personal and professional impact of COVID, his own takeaways and broader advice we can all use to emotionally start over, cultivating preparedness…

Keep reading »

Divided No More

Category: Work – Integrated Self Date: April 13, 2021 Atif Iqbal, a certified leadership and personal transformation coach, joined us for an indelible conversation about bringing your whole self to work; starting over by integrating the personal identity into the professional self.  The Challenges Behind Working with Integrity  Many of us have a professional self…

Keep reading »

Picture Books Are for You, Too!

Category: Way of Living – Literacy Date: April 6, 2021 Pernille Ripp, a teacher, author and educational advocate,  joined us for a conversation about the robust merits of picture books for readers of every age. She invited us to start over our reading lives by seeking the books that satisfy our interests and curiosities –…

Keep reading »

Fifteen with Gene

Category: Wellness – Fitness Date: March 30, 2021 Gene Schafer, an athletic trainer, personal trainer, and founder of ARC Athletics, joined us for a Wellness discussion centered around simple, yet effective exercises we can do in a short amount of time. Our talk felt particularly relevant after the pandemic, which has disrupted so many of…

Keep reading »

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Category: Work Date: March 23, 2021 Sarah Stamboulie, an executive, transition and leadership coach, joined us for a Work conversation about how to professionally start over while remaining in your current occupation or place of employment. She offered advice about how to navigate career development and proactively create opportunities within your organization, while being aware…

Keep reading »

Standing Up to Anti-Asian Hate

Category: Way of Living – Pop-Up Event Date: March 25, 2021 Soyoung Park joined us for an impassioned, vulnerable, and urgent conversation about her experience with anti-Asian hate in this country. Soyoung is a Korean-American teacher educator and a scholar of early childhood. Her presentation was extraordinarily moving, enlightening and informative. It invited us all…

Keep reading »

Humor, Seriously

Category: Work Date: March 16, 2021 We continued our Work series with an informative, hilarious conversation with Jennifer Aaker, a behavioral scientist whose research focuses on cultivating a meaningful life. She shared with us how humor is endemic to professional success, social connection, and personal well-being, and how we can foster more of it throughout…

Keep reading »

Chocolate — Sweet Indulgence

Category: Way of LivingDate: March 9, 2021 Peter Moustakerski, an absolute chocolate guru, joined us for a wide-ranging discussion about chocolate, including its long history, production details, health benefits, ethical considerations, as well as where to find high-quality chocolate on our own. He also led us through a delicious chocolate tasting, offering best practices for…

Keep reading »

Executive Search in Turbulent Times

Category: WorkDate: March 2, 2021 Gustavo Alba, an expert in recruiting and executive placement, joined us for a conversation about positioning yourself in the current job market, partnering with recruiters, and the effects of the pandemic on hiring practices. He offered insider advice and context to anyone looking for employment –   Reflect on Your Strengths…

Keep reading »

Staying Pain-Free While Working From Home

Category: Wellness Date: February 23, 2021 We continued our Wellness conversations with Dylann Craig, whose clinical area of expertise includes orthopedic and sports rehabilitation, physical therapy with manual techniques, functional and corrective exercises, and neuromuscular re-education. With the drastic changes to people’s work setup over this past year, 50% of Dylann’s caseload are problems with…

Keep reading »

Nutrition Myths

Category: Wellness Date: February 16, 2021 Next in the Startover series, we spoke with Sydney Greene, a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition for recovery from addiction, disordered eating, negative body image, and chronic digestive issues. Throughout our conversation, Sydney stressed that ultimately, food choices are individual and personal. Your eating habits can be customized…

Keep reading »

Breaking Through Financial Boundaries

Category: Wealth Date: February 9, 2021 Our first Wealth event featured the expert Justin Charise, a financial advisor who leads a comprehensive financial planning practice. He explained the benefits of working with a financial advisor, addressed our questions regarding the new tax plan, and shared tips for making sound financial decisions that are responsive to…

Keep reading »

Breathing With Bryan

Category: Wellness Date: February 2, 2021 We launched our Startover series with a conversation with Bryan Mirabella, a certified instructor in Restorative Breathing, Oxygen Advantage, and the Institute of Motion.  He offered simple ways in which we can change our breathing and shared how it can transform our sense of well-being. How to Breathe Breathe…

Keep reading »

Upcoming events:

  • Breaking Bad Pandemic Eating Habits

    Wellness - Eating Habits

    • What prompted Jiying to startover? How does one make a dramatic career change?
    • How can I break bad pandemic eating habits and get back on track?
    • What should I do when I’m tired of cooking and out of fresh ideas?
    22 JUN
    8:00 PM ET
    45 minutes
    With: Jiying Zhang
  • How Indigenous Worldview Can Change Our Future

    Way of Living - Culture & Values

    • Why is worldview reflection important?
    • How is our original Indigenous worldview different than what guides most cultures today?
    • Is comparing worldviews a dangerous binary?
    6 JUL
    8:00 PM ET
    45 minutes
    With: Four Arrows
  • Neighborhood News in New York

    Way of Living - News

    • What is your personal story leading up to when you took over Tribeca Citizen, a neighborhood e-newspaper?
    • How has it been to report during the past year, and what are some headline observations on people and businesses during the pandemic?
    • Looking back at your career, including at Tribeca Citizen, could you highlight a couple of interesting stories that you enjoyed covering?
    13 JUL
    8:00 PM ET
    45 minutes
    With: Pam Frederick
X

Stay Up-to-Date on Startover

Sign up to be stay informed about what is going on in the Startover community—new events, features and personal stories.