National Womxn of Color Collective stands in solidarity with Asian Americans who are outraged and heartbroken by the recent and ongoing hate crimes against Asian Americans. Our hearts go out to the victims of the Atlanta shooting and the elderly who have taken the brunt of the violence. Since the start of the pandemic and fueled by racial slurs arising from COVID-19, Asians have been increasingly targeted. There were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents in 2020, with a particular intersectional dynamic of Asian womxn reporting hate incidents 2.3 times more than men. Overall, 68% of Asian-targeted attacks were directed at womxn.
This is nothing new. There is a history of xenophobia toward Asian communities that has long been ignored, which only contributes to the violence. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the assaults against Filipino farmworkers in the 1930s, the Japanese internment camps of the 1940s, and the enduring impacts of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees. Violence against Asian Americans in high-crime neighborhoods has always been high. It has been normalized, and often goes unreported. In combination with the crimes against the Asian elderly, it has only now become significant enough to get national attention. Yet for months, no major news outlets reported the hate crimes.
This is in large part due to the “model minority” myth, which characterizes all Asians as economically successful and wealthy. In reality, more than 12% of the Asian American population live below the federal poverty level. Additionally, according to the National Women’s Law Center, Hmong and Cambodian womxn earn 61 and 57 cents for every dollar a white man makes. These numbers do not account for the undocumented community or those who work in domestic labor and sex work, much like the womxn who lost their lives on March 16, 2021 in Atlanta. The sweeping generalization and grouping of several disparate Asian identities into one erases the struggles of first-generation South and South-East Asian Americans who were not already wealthy before coming to America.
The model minority myth is also a tool to hurt Black and brown communities. The myth raises Asian Americans up as an example, while it pushes other minority groups down by ignoring the origins of how Black people were enslaved. The enemy here is white supremacy. It is not our Black and brown brothers and sisters. It has been heartbreaking to see some people point their fingers at the suspects, some being Black men. This narrative only perpetuates the division between the Black and Asian communities in the US, while ignoring white supremacy, police brutality, and institutional racism.
We Asian American womxn are tired of being sexualized and objectified. We are tired of being treated as disposable. We are tired of the stereotype that we are meek, subservient, and easy to control. And we are tired of making space for others. This is a reckoning of “No More.”
About the National Womxn of Color Collective:
Womxn of Color Collectives (“WOCC”) first started at law schools by womxn of color students concerned that they did not have a support system in their schools. NWOCC was created by 2020 graduates from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law to connect existing WOCC chapters and build a community that survives graduation. NWOCC provides a unique opportunity for womxn of color interested in the legal profession to grow, thrive, and connect from the time they commence their education, through the many stages of professional employment, into retirement. NWOCC hosts networking events, assists in setting up mentorships, and works to educate the public on how they can support womxn of color and how we can better diversify the legal profession. NWOCC strives to empower its members and create a space where womxn of color can feel safe to learn, make mistakes, and follow their dreams with like-minded individuals.