Image Source: By Jason Leung
March 17, 2021
We, the faculty of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, are heartbroken and outraged at the deadly violence that occurred in Georgia on March 16, 2021. We send our deepest condolences to the families of the eight people killed in Acworth and Atlanta. You are in our thoughts.
What happened in Atlanta was one example of the many attacks on our communities and reflects the escalation of anti-Asian violence in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Six out of eight of the people killed were Asian American women, and this act of violence is based in anti-Asian hate. As Asian American Studies scholars and educators, we recognize that hate and violence directed towards our community are rooted in white supremacy and racism. In our research we’ve found that aggressors often act against Asians because of long-standing stereotypes that paint us as “illegal” perpetual foreigners, model minorities, spreaders of illness and disease, and as exoticized sexual objects. The Atlanta killings also demonstrate the horrifying consequences of those attitudes when they are compounded by misogyny.
In addition, these attitudes often pit communities of color against each other. We reject these divide-and-conquer tactics and instead call for community, allyship, education, and dialogue.
Like many Asian Americans, we too have experienced anti-Asian incidents and hate crimes in our daily lives here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Just this morning our department received an email that expressed hatred towards Asian Americans and blamed us for our own victimization. This shows that, although we live in a very diverse region, we are not immune to the effects of anti-Asian violence. In addition, members of the SFSU Asian American community have shared with us their many experiences with bias and exclusion—in supermarkets, in restaurants, and on public transportation—and these experiences are often not reported in the media. Although some still perceive Asian Americans as foreign and threatening, we are not a “yellow peril” to be feared or subjugated.
We respond to this violence by directing our energies to stopping AAPI hate through our teaching and by locating resources for our students and community. Below are several ways that students and community members can get involved:
San Francisco State University Resources
The Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Services and Associated Students at SFSU held two forums on March 4th and 9th for students to address and respond to anti-Asian violence. Another student forum is scheduled for April 2021. More details here: https://aspire.sfsu.edu.
Those who have encountered bias and racism can report it to the Bias Incident Reporting Team here: https://equity.sfsu.edu/content/bias-incident-education-team-sf-state.
Students who need support can reach out to the Counseling and Psychological Center here: https://psyservs.sfsu.edu.