Asian Americans have often needed to 'prove' racism. Then social media video came along.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Date Published: March 5, 2021 

Source: NBC News

Original Article: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/asian-americans-have-often-ne...

Social media has exposed long-standing hatred — and helped Asian Americans organize against it.

In Sacramento, California, last Friday, a high school Spanish teacher made a slant-eyed gesture during a Zoom class. “If their eyes went up, they’re Chinese. If they’re down, they’re Japanese,” she said in a video recorded by a student. “If they’re just straight, you don’t know.”
 
Four months earlier, a U.S. marine threatened to shoot Chinese people in a viral video tweet. Addressing the group with a slur, he said, “China is going to pay for what they have done to this country and the world."
 
In another video recorded last July, a tech CEO taunted an Asian American family at an upscale Northern California restaurant, calling them an “Asian piece of s---.” Uproar over the clip, which has been viewed more than 1 million times on Instagram, forced the man to resign.
 
Fueled by former President Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric, the Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed an onslaught of hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islanders. In 2020, the group Stop AAPI Hate received more than 2,800 self-reports of coronavirus discrimination nationwide, from verbal harassment to physical assault.
 
Yet news outlets and federal agencies have been slow to recognize the threat and enact policy changes. For much of the past year, the Justice Department resisted calls from Democratic lawmakers and activists to proactively combat the public targeting of Asians. In the days before Lunar New Year, when surveillance cameras captured a spate of violent, unprovoked attacks against Asian seniors, top-rated cable networks spent little to no airtime covering the issue, according to the progressive research center Media Matters.
 
“Social media is an equalizing force not previously available to marginalized communities.”
 
Amid institutional indifference, social media and other digital tools have allowed Asian Americans to prove the various forms of discrimination they’ve long experienced, organize mutual aid groups and pressure authorities to respond.

 

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