Monday, August 2, 2021

Editorial: Don't move on, continue supporting MSU’s AAPI community

Design by Daena Faustino.
Design by Daena Faustino. —

From the Chinese Exclusion Act to “Contagion,” stereotypes about the Asian community  have been  historically and contemporarily reinforced in American laws, racist attitudes and popular media.

Exacerbated by a pandemic some deem the “China virus,” there is a clear line between stereotyping and violence rooted in misogyny and over-sexualization of Asian women.

It shouldn’t take the deaths of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng for us to recognize that enough is enough. 

Often considered the “model minority,” Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders tend to be left out of conversations about racism and social justice.

Yet, in the same breath, communities fetishize aspects of Asian culture, including Asian food and holidays. From an intersectional perspective, Asian American women are also more likely to be oversexualized and misrepresented in the media, only exemplifying the notion that the Asian American community is passive.

These issues affect students at MSU. Asian Americans make up 6.8% of the total student population as of Fall 2019. We owe it to these students and the entire Asian American and Pacific Islander community to do better.

Hate has no home here, but what do we do when we find it at our doorstep?

According to a City Pulse article, in May 2020, MSU alum Larry Gaynor made several racist remarks about Vietnamese business owners in a since-deleted video, mocking their accent and demanding that they “talk English.”

Gaynor and his wife Teresa donated $3 million dollars to MSU in 2017, resulting in the creation of the Larry and Teresa Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab. The program has not been renamed following Gaynor’s remarks.

It has to stop. In fact, it should have stopped a long time ago.

The scale of bigotry and racist violence is both overwhelming and exhausting. 

White supremacy affects all communities of color, but it affects different communities in different ways.. Similar to other people of color, Asian Americans face disparities in many institutions such as health care and mental health.

Asian Americans are the least likely of all ethnic groups to report having a personal doctor, according to a Get Healthy, Stay Healthy article

“In fact, 19.4% of Asian American adults report being without a usual source of health care,” the article said.

Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s instances of breast cancer rose from 87.0 to 97.8 cases per 100,000 women, the fastest increase of all racial/ethnic groups, according to the article.

According to a report by the Society for Research in Child Development, while over 65% of Chinese American children/adolescents and over 78% of parents reported being worried that they will suffer because of China being blamed for COVID-19, the AAPI community is less likely to seek mental health resources due to perceived stigma, language barriers and lack of ethnic matches with mental health providers.

We need to help break down these stigmas and barriers to better support the communities affected by these issues. We cannot stay silent. 

We cannot continue to fall into a cycle where we only care about minority communities when tragedy strikes. Asian Americans are not fetishes, exotic, fantasies, viruses or other.

They are human.

Support Asian American and Pacific Islander communities today, tomorrow and every day after.

For resources to support the AAPI community or to report AAPI hate crimes:

MSU:

City of East Lansing:

Statewide: 

Nationwide

*These lists of resources are not all inclusive.

The State News Editorial Board is composed of Editor-in-Chief Evan Jones, Managing Editor SaMya Overall, Campus Desk Editor Karly Graham, City Desk Editor Sophia Kalakailo, Culture Desk Editor Kaishi Chhabra, Sports Editor Joe Dandron, Copy Chief Mark Ostermeyer, Audience Engagement Editor Julian Stainback, Multimedia Manager Tessa Osborne, Photo Editor Alyte Katilius, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Inna Mirzoyan and Staff Rep. Wendy Guzman. 

State News staff members Dina Kaur, Ashley Zhou and Daena Faustino also contributed to this editorial.

This editorial is part of our Stop Asian Hate print issue. Read the full issue here.

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