The Muddled History Of Anti-Asian Violence

Recently, fears of another wave of anti-Asian violence have arisen following a string of viral videos depicting attacks against Asian Americans. In late January, a clip circulated of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an eighty-four-year-old man originally from Thailand, being assaulted as he walked down a street in San Francisco. He died days later. Around this time, another clip, showing a ninety-one-year-old Asian man in Oakland’s Chinatown being shoved to the ground while walking down the street, made the rounds. The actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu offered rewards for information on the assailants. A few days later, Kim, Wu, and the activist Amanda Nguyen appeared on MSNBC, in part to chastise the mainstream media for being slow to cover these attacks. Even as outlets began reporting on these videos, attacks continued: a Filipino-American man’s face was slashed in New York; a Korean-American man was beaten in Los Angeles’s Koreatown while assailants shouted slurs at him. About a week ago, another viral clip circulated, this one of a fifty-two-year-old Asian-American woman being shoved to the ground in Flushing, Queens.

For some Asian Americans, the videos provided proof of what they have been feeling for some time, namely, that they are increasingly targeted on the basis of their appearance. But within this was a sense that their concerns would never be taken seriously. In the cases of the San Francisco and Oakland attacks, some officials, and even local community members, questioned whether these attacks were random rather than racially motivated. The attacker captured in the Queens video was released, and no hate-crime charges were brought against him. Beyond pressing for media coverage, however, the demands around what to do next were sometimes contradictory. Calls for more protection in Asian neighborhoods struck critics of police brutality as the wrong answer; in particular, Kim and Lee’s so-called bounties were perceived to undermine the efforts of Asian-American organizers already working toward community-oriented solutions to public safety. Villainizing the suspects, at least two of whom were Black, seemed to play into racist narratives of inner-city crime. Some felt dismayed that Black and brown community leaders had not rushed to the defense of Asian Americans; others claimed that such standards construed the fight for justice as quid pro quo. Calls to center and protect Asian “elders” drew criticism for playing into a respectability politics that casts a kindly grandma or grandpa as a sympathetic, innocent victim. I saw someone on Instagram acerbically wonder whether these were the same elders whom we had recently been urged to lecture about their racism?

Visibility matters. Yet obsessing over it sometimes obscures the long-standing challenges of organizing Asian Americans around a single, shared story. It’s difficult to describe anti-Asian racism when society lacks a coherent, historical account of what that racism actually looks like. The parameters of activism often get defined by hashtags—#StopAAPIHate, #ProtectOurElders, #NotYourModelMinority—rather than a sense of history. In the age of Black Lives Matter, the desire to carve out a crisp, pithy position is greater than ever. But the past weeks’ conversations have illustrated how the Asian-American experience doesn’t always fit neatly into conventional understandings of victimhood.

For decades, Asian people in America tended to identify more with their own nationality and ethnicity than with a broad Asian-American community. But, in the sixties and seventies, a more inclusive sense of Asian-American identity grew out of a desire for political solidarity. This new identity assumed a kind of cross-generational ethos, as younger people forged connections with older immigrants, helping them to navigate social services and to understand their rights. And it found clarity through collective struggle, as when, in 1977, in San Francisco, Asian-American community organizers, aided by a multiracial coalition of allies, came to the defense of a group of elderly Asians, mostly Filipino men, who were being evicted from their longtime homes in the I-Hotel. But the real turning point came in 1982, when two white men, one of whom had been laid off from his job as an autoworker, followed Vincent Chin, a young Chinese-American draftsman, from a Detroit bar to a nearby McDonald’s and beat him to death. Witnesses said that the three had initially fought at the bar, and that during the altercation the men had allegedly mistaken Chin for Japanese and blamed him for the American auto industry’s decline. The men later claimed that it was a fight that had gotten out of hand, and that they were not motivated by Chin’s race. They were given probation and fined. The lenient sentencing sparked a national campaign against anti-Asian racism and inspired an Oscar-nominated documentary, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”

In contrast to racism against other groups, anti-Asian racism has rarely been as gruesome and blatant as it was in the Chin killing. There have of course been other violent incidents, like the “Chinese massacre” that occurred in Los Angeles, in 1871, or the Sikh-temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2012. But the history of Asian victimhood in America is varied and muddled. A presumption of foreignness might link exclusionary immigration policies of the nineteenth century to the internment of the Japanese during the Second World War; the paranoia around Asian-American scientists, which resulted in the mistreatment of a Taiwanese-American nuclear scientist named Wen Ho Lee, in the nineteen-nineties; and post-9/11 Islamophobia. Yet even the effects of these broad patterns of discrimination aren’t uniformly felt. And the needs and disadvantages of refugee communities and poor Asian Americans have been obscured as much by the myth of Asians as the “model minority” as by the movements, particularly among the professional class, to resist this myth.

The current moment underscores the in-between space that Asian Americans inhabit. It’s hard to prove bias in a hate crime, and it’s typically done by showing how a particular crime draws on recognizable histories of violence or neglect. This becomes difficult when people are mystified by the idea of anti-Asian racism. In Chin’s case, the culprits were white men who espoused racist ideas, which made it easier to recognize the assault as a hate crime and to organize the community around it. Some recent attacks also make legible the ways in which systemic injustices afflict Asian Americans. In late December, police officers killed a Chinese-American named Christian Hall in Monroe County, Pennsylvania; soon after, a Filipino-American man named Angelo Quinto died, after a police officer choked him by kneeling on his neck in Antioch, California. Both Hall and Quinto were suffering from mental-health episodes at the time. Officers claimed that Hall, who was standing on an overpass, pointed a gun in their direction. Quinto died as his family, who had called the police out of concern, looked on. Campaigns fighting for the officers to be held accountable fluidly align with the movement for Black lives, and the criticism of the criminal-justice system’s overreach and potential for brutality.

The videos circulating now are more difficult to parse. In the case of the ninety-one-year-old who was injured in Oakland, the culprit was a man with what a judge called “significant mental-health issues” who seemed to target people indiscriminately. Local community leaders in the Bay Area warned against drawing overly simplistic conclusions from these incidents. “These crimes and violent situations that happen in Chinatown have been happening for a while,” Alvina Wong, a director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, explained to the Oaklandside. The attack captured on video was one of more than twenty tallied by the president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in a two-week span. We might instead read these videos as part of a larger set of stories. The gutting of local reporting and newspapers has made it harder for communities to stay informed about city politics and the conditions driving local crime. Economic policies that once extracted resources from cities have now caused them to gentrify and crowd out the poor, making enemies of neighboring communities. Mayors and politicians who don’t at all fear losing the support of their Asian constituency rarely feel the need to proactively work on their behalf. Meanwhile, a tattered social safety net does little to help those struggling with mental health.

Source: The New Yorker

Godfrey: Blacks Need Unity Like Jews; ‘Your Sense Of Self Is Complete, We Are Incomplete People… Yet We Have The Strongest Culture That Everybody’s Benefited From’

In this clip, Vlad explains to Godfrey why Jewish people have historically held jobs like lawyers and doctors throughout history and across regions. Later, Godfrey tells why he thinks Nick Cannon did the right thing by apologizing for his antisemitic comments and how the black community ultimately needs to establish self-sustaining communities like the Jews.

Elderly Asian Airbnb Owner Slapped After Telling Group To Leave In Chicago

A video showing an elderly Asian man being slapped across the face as he hands some money back to a young man and his friends staying at his Airbnb in Chicago has been circulating on social media.

The footage, first posted on Dec. 7 at 10 p.m., shows an elderly Asian man handing some cash back to a group of friends before being slapped by one of them.

The elderly man was visibly taken aback by the assault.

Social media users initially believed the location of the incident to be a store in Chicago after the original uploader of the video, “Slick Getem,” wrote in the caption, “Somebody said Made his ass think abt the cat he put innat Chinese food.”

One of the people who claimed to be in the group involved in the incident told NextShark that the man was the owner of the Airbnb they were staying at in Chicago.

They claim the elderly man hit their friend and that the video was blown out of proportion. They added that they can’t make their page public after receiving hate and threats. The Facebook user has since deleted their page. The user who originally uploaded the video also changed his name to “Sli Ck.”

Comments on a Facebook post criticizing the group claimed they were kicked out of the rented Airbnb for being “loud and smoking.”

TikTok user KarmaChibana, who has more than 800,000 followers on the platform, caught wind of the video and reacted to it.

“That is not an excuse to use racial stereotypes against him and slap him in the face,” Karma starts off.

“Just like how the Asian and other communities were there for our movement, why can’t we do the same for them? To my Black brothers and sisters, we have to do better. We need to stand up for our Asian brothers and sisters. I know there’s anti-Black within their community, but we shouldn’t generalize.”

NextShark reached out to the Chicago Police Department which could not verify the location of the incident.

Source: NextShark

Reddit Acquires TikTok/Triller Rival Dubsmash

Reddit has acquired Dubsmash, the lipsyncing video app which launched in 2014 and was largely supplanted when TikTok showed up. 

Announced via Reddit’s blog on Sunday, the annexing of Dubsmash’s 12-person team to Reddit’s 700-strong horde is the popular website’s first major acquisition in its 15-year history.

While the financial terms of the agreement haven’t been disclosed, Dubsmash will be keeping its own platform and separate branding. Dubsmash’s Android and Apple apps will continue to operate as normal, with its video creation tools simply integrated into Reddit’s infrastructure. 

Reddit currently allows users to upload and livestream videos, however its editing capabilities are somewhat lacklustre — a problem this acquisition hopes to address.

“The transition to video will be bigger than the transition to mobile,” Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman said, speaking via the Wall Street JournalWhich sounds fake, but okay. Pivots to video historically haven’t worked out well, but perhaps the distinction between editorial and user-created content will yield better results.

Dubsmash went through a slow decline in the wake of its 2015 popularity boom, before revamping itself in 2017 to stage an unlikely comeback. While still not as successful as TikTok, the short-form video app established a significant audience by focusing on the one demographic still using it — Black teenagers in the U.S

As such, both Reddit and Dubsmash’s acquisition announcements heavily emphasised the diverse, underrepresented creators who use the app. According to Reddit, a quarter of Black teens in the U.S. use Dubsmash, while 70 percent of users are women or girls.

“By joining forces with Reddit, we expand our ability to serve the creators that represent the lifeblood of Dubsmash, helping them connect, share, and deepen their impact on culture,” wrote Dubsmash co-founders Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel and Tim Specht. The trio further reaffirmed their goal to “[create] a safe and welcoming platform for underrepresented communities.”

“Both Reddit and Dubsmash share a deep rooted respect for how communities come together,” said Huffman. “Dubsmash elevates under-represented creators, while Reddit fosters a sense of community and belonging across thousands of different topics and passions.”

Source: Mashable

Australian Children Musical Group The Wiggles Apologize After ‘Culturally Insensitive’ Song About Indian Food (Papadum) Resurfaces

Australian children musical group The Wiggles have apologized after their song about Indian cuisine resurfaced online and sparked backlash for being “insensitive.”

Back in 2014, the group was a part of the show called Ready, Steady, Wiggle!. They had performed a song called The Pappadum Song in the Lachy’s Pappadum Party episode.

The performers were seen wearing Indian garb and singing along to lyrics that mostly went by, “Pappadum, pappadum, pappa pappa pappa dum.”

At one point, Anthony Field danced with a cricket bat, while the rest of the group held the Indian flatbread behind him.

Many Twitter users weren’t pleased with the video for perpetuating the stereotypes tied to Indian culture. “My jaw hit the floor the first time I saw it. Very, very culturally insensitive, and such a stereotype,” one user wrote.

“I wrote the song, and directed the clip in 2014 (which was meant as a celebration),” Field wrote on Twitter. “It was not my intention to be culturally insensitive to the Indian community or to add value to ethnic stereotyping. Apologies.”

Source: DesignTAXI

LA County Begins Program to Combat Acts of Hate After Rise of Racism Towards Asian Americans Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Responding to what officials called increased acts of hate in recent years, most notably against Asian-Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County on Wednesday announced a campaign aimed at encouraging reporting of such incidents and responding to them.

The “L.A. vs Hate” campaign is a three-pronged effort that will include a marketing outreach campaign encouraging people to report acts of hate, improved resources for residents to report such acts through the county’s 211 hotline and a network of agencies to assist victims and develop prevention strategies.

“L.A. County is one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant communities in the world,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said. “Despite our diversity, these past few years have seen a steady rise in reported hate acts in our county. We also know that as a result of COVID-19, there has been an ugly backlash toward our Asian-Pacific Islander community. Spikes in calls to the 211 hotline reflect that racism.”

Source: NBC LA

Nickelodeon pulls ‘Made By Maddie’ after social media users questioned the animated show’s similarities to Matthew A. Cherry’s Oscar-winning short ‘Hair Love’

Nickelodeon is pulling animated show Made by Maddie off its schedule in response to a controversy about similarities between its characters and those in the Oscar-winning short Hair Love.

The show had been set to premiere Sept. 13 on Nick Jr., the ViacomCBS network’s preschool channel. After Nickelodeon released a teaser for the show earlier in the week, the show drew criticism on social media for its characters’ resemblance to those in Hair Love, the short written and co-directed by Matthew A. Cherry that won the Oscar for best animated short earlier this year.

“Made by Maddie is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media, a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series. Since announcing the show’s premiere date this week, we have been listening closely to the commentary, criticism and concern coming from both viewers and members of the creative community,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.

“In response, and out of respect to all voices in the conversation, we are removing the show from our schedule as we garner further insight into the creative journey of the show. We are grateful to Silvergate Media for all of their work. And we hold Matthew A. Cherry and the wonderful and inspiring Hair Love in the highest regard.”

Made by Maddie centers on an 8-year-old Black girl who uses her fashion sense and design skills to solve problems, along with the help of some friends and her parents, Dee and Rashad. Maddie frequently wears a pink headband in her hair, while Dee is depicted with natural hair and Rashad with locs. The families in both projects also have pet cats.

The mom and dad in Hair Love also have natural hair and locs, respectively, and the little girl, Zuri, also wears a pink headband. The similarities sparked a wave of criticism on social media, with users accusing Silvergate Media and Nickelodeon of copying Cherry’s work. Cherry hasn’t spoken on the matter but did retweet or reply to several posts calling out the resemblance, including the one below.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter