It’s been 100 years since the Tulsa race massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in US history. Commemorations honoring the victims have not only brought more attention to the atrocity; they have also revealed a deep national divide over what justice looks like, and whether reparations should be part of it.
Social media users are calling for the removal of Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief after her anti-Asian tweets from as early as 2011 resurfaced.
Alexi McCammond, who was most recently a reporter for Axios, will take on the editorial role from March 24, according to publisher Condé Nast.
“Alexi has the powerful curiosity and confidence that embodies the best of our next generation of leaders,” Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast, said in a news release on Thursday.
“Her interest in fashion, wellness and important issues in the lives of the Teen Vogue audience and broad knowledge of business leaders, elected officials, influencers, photographers and filmmakers is unrivaled, and I’m so very pleased that she will be bringing her expertise and talents to our team.”
Following the announcement, several Instagram users brought up some of McCammond’s racist tweets from 2011 and 2012.
“Outdone by Asian,” she wrote in one tweet, adding the hashtag “#whatsnew.”
Diana Tsui, editorial director of restaurant guide The Infatuation, described McCammond as a “questionable hire” in an Instagram post. She mentioned that Condé Nast should have addressed McCammond’s problematic past, especially since her appointment comes amid a rise in anti-Asian violence across the country.
“Maybe we can give her some benefit of the doubt as these were done when she was still a student,” Tsui wrote. “But her ‘apology,’ which was only after people caught them in 2019, referred to them as ‘deeply insensitive.’ They are insensitive, they are racist.”
“Teen Vogue has positioned itself as a champion of inclusiveness and empowerment.Is this truly a leader who also embodies these beliefs?” Tsui asks. “Would a leader pre-emptively acknowledge the hurt caused by past actions with a future plan of action, or would a leader just ignore it and hope no one does a Google search?”
Stephen Alain Ko, a cosmetic and skincare formulator who has featured Teen Vogue articles in his website’s #BeautyRecap series, also criticized McCammond’s appointment on Instagram: “Condé Nast, this is not the fashion, beauty or political leadership we deserve… In 2021, I would be disappointed in a magazine that I contributed free labour to — for making a decision that pushed me back into the margins.”
Writer Arabelle Sicardi also took a jab at Condé Nast. “It’s like they want to fail into obsolescence,” she wrote in an Instagram Story.
Sicardi, who has contributed to Teen Vogue, went on to highlight the prevalence of anti-Asian sentiment in the fashion and media industry. She described McCammond’s hiring as “an affirmation of white supremacy.”
“It is a distinct lack of care for the Asian employees and other people of color that will have to work under new management.”
When one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, a vital revision is presented.
But this exhibition takes a different tack, tracing the forgotten Chinese workers who built the western leg of the railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains, connecting the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad in 1869.
“Historians have always known and written about the Chinese workers, but it’s forgotten by society,” said Peter Liebhold, who co-curated the exhibit with Sam Vong. “We’ve forgotten the contribution of these workers, and in fact, we forget the contribution of all workers. We tend to focus on the achievement of the few and not the stories of the average everyday person.”
Ittells the story of Chinese workers through old maps, detailing where they worked, their labor materials – from conical hats to miner’s picks – and photos, showing the tents they lived in, their working conditions and their nomadic lifestyle.
“The artifacts on view are meant to help visitors understand how forgotten workers had to endure hazardous, unfair conditions, in addition to backbreaking labor,” said Leibhold. “The 150th anniversary is not just about completing a railroad, but the workers involved.”
Chinese workers made up most of the workforce between roughly 700 miles of train tracks between Sacramento, California, and Promontory, Utah. During the 19th century, more than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the railroad’s completion.
The work was tiresome, as the railroad was built entirely by manual laborers who used to shovel 20 pounds of rock over 400 times a day. They had to face dangerous work conditions – accidental explosions, snow and rock avalanches, which killed hundreds of workers, not to mention frigid weather.
“All workers on the railroad were ‘other’,” said Liebhold. “On the west, there were Chinese workers, out east were Irish and Mormon workers were in the center. All these groups are outside the classical American mainstream.”
The exhibition features a century-old pair of chopsticks, as well as canisters for tea and soy sauce. The railroad company provided room and board to white workers, but Chinese workers had to find their own meals, which were often brought to them from local merchants.
There are also miner’s picks and shovels, conical hats, as well as photos of the camp sites where the workers lived in Nevada in 1869. There are photos, as well, of the Native Americans, many of whom protested against the building of the railway in 1869, which displaced the Lakota, Shoshone, Cheyenne and other communities.
The Chinese workers were educated and organized; 3,000 laborers went on strike in 1867 to demand equal wages, as the white workers were paid double.
“They were unsuccessful because they were out in the middle of nowhere,” said Liebhold. “The railroad stopped them from getting food. That’s one way it failed.”
One telling photo on view is a shot of the Union Pacific board members sitting in a business class train car from 1869. By paying laborers a low wage, they were able to skim millions from the construction and get rich.
“Building railroads is often profitable but operating them isn’t necessarily, if you look at the history of railroads in the US,” said Liebhold. “To totally condemn the businessmen is challenging because they took huge risks raising money to build a railroad that was astronomically difficult. Many people didn’t think it was possible.”
There is one photo from 1869 that shows how the company commemorated the last hammered spike to complete the railroad, however, only one Chinese worker is in the photo. Many of the actual workers were left out.
This story could still be one which resonates with today’s America. “There’s no question this is a story about migrant labor,” he said. “Chinese workers were not citizens, weren’t allowed to become citizens. From the 1850s to 1882, they were tolerated in the US, but not accepted as peers.
“Then, there was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred immigrants from coming into US, unless you were a diplomat or a businessperson,” said Liebhold. “You’re always welcome if you’re affluent, then you’re allowed to come in.”
A woman shopping in Orange County, California has become the latest target of anti-Asian racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incident, which was caught on video, reportedly occurred outside a Sephora store at The Market Place in Tustin and Irvine.
In the video posted on Instagram and Reddit, a man can be seen hurling anti-Asian racial slurs while a female companion sarcastically says “bye” to the camera.
The man has since reportedly been identified as Brian Kranz, a fitness instructor in Irvine, California who runs Red Fitness. His female partner—who is seen smirking throughout the incident and even smugly taunts the victim with a “bye”—has been identified as Janelle Hinshaw.
The Asian woman reportedly recalled how the incident started inside the store after the staff asked the pair to wear face masks.
“These people were standing after me in the line at Sephora. They didn’t have masks on before the staff requested so. But then [they] refused to keep social distancing from me. Sephora staff was doing a good job directing me to stand in another line,” a Nextdoor user, who claims to be the woman behind the camera, wrote.
The woman eventually finished shopping and returned to her car. That’s when Kranz followed and began making racist remarks.
“Why don’t you stay at home? Are you that dumb? You want to photograph me?” he says before charging toward the woman, who then retreats in her car.
“Exactly! Get in your car, stupid g**k. Go back to f**king [unintelligible].”
Brian Kranz returns to his Jeep and continues his tirade before driving away.
“Are you really that stupid? You know that recording doesn’t do anything,” he tells the woman. “Stay home. And thanks for giving my country COVID. Have a great day.”
Kranz is a trainer licensed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and many on social media called for his license to be revoked. Many also tagged Hinshaw’s current masters’ program at Azusa Pacific University to revoke her license as a psychologist working with teens.
Given both Kranz and Hinshaw’s work requires working with the public at large, it was of concern to many how they would treat their clients of Asian descent.
The backlash has been immense. After reportedly deactivating their LinkedIn and Instagram pages, they faced backlash on other platforms.
When the church doors open, only white people will be allowed inside.
That’s the message the Asatru Folk Assembly in Murdock, Minnesota, is sending after being granted a conditional use permit to open a church there and practice its pre-Christian religion that originated in northern Europe.
Despite a council vote officially approving the permit this month, residents are pushing back against the decision.
Opponents have collected about 50,000 signatures on an online petition to stop the all-white church from making its home in the farming town of 280 people.
“I think they thought they could fly under the radar in a small town like this, but we’d like to keep the pressure on them,” said Peter Kennedy, a longtime Murdock resident. “Racism is not welcome here.”
Many locals said they support the growing population of Latinos, who have moved to the area in the past decade because of job opportunities, over the church.
“Just because the council gave them a conditional permit does not mean that the town and people in the area surrounding will not be vigilant in watching and protecting our area,” Jean Lesteberg, who lives in the neighboring town of De Graff, wrote on the city’s Facebook page.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Asatru Folk Assembly as a “neo-Volkisch hate group” that couches “their bigotry in baseless claims of bloodlines grounding the superiority of one’s white identity.”
Many residents call them a white supremacist or white separatist group, but church members deny it.
“We’re not. It’s just simply not true,” said Allen Turnage, a folk assembly board member. “Just because we respect our own culture, that doesn’t mean we are denigrating someone else’s.”
The group, based in Brownsville, California, says teachings and membership are for those of strictly European bloodlines.
The church was looking for a new church in the eastern North Dakota region when they came across Murdock. It’s unknown how many members they have worldwide or how many people will attend the new church.
“We do not need salvation. All we need is freedom to face our destiny with courage and honor,” the group wrote on its website about their beliefs. “We honor the Gods under the names given to them by our Germanic/Norse ancestors.”
Their forefathers, according to the website, were “Angels and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings, and, as sons and daughters of these people, they are united by ties of blood and culture undimmed by centuries.”
“We respect the ways our ancestors viewed the world and approached the universe a thousand years ago,” Turnage said.
Murdock council members said they do not support the church but were legally obligated to approve the permit, which they did in a 3-1 decision.
“We were highly advised by our attorney to pass this permit for legal reasons to protect the First Amendment rights,” Mayor Craig Kavanagh said. “We knew that if this was going to be denied, we were going to have a legal battle on our hands that could be pretty expensive.”
City Attorney Don Wilcox said it came down to free speech and freedom of religion.
“I think there’s a great deal of sentiment in the town that they don’t want that group there,” he said. “You can’t just bar people from practicing whatever religion they want or saying anything they want as long as it doesn’t incite violence.”
The farming town about a 115-mile drive west of Minneapolis is known for producing corn and soybeans, which are shipped across the country. Latinos make up about 20 percent of Murdock’s small population. Many are day laborers from Mexico and Central America, city officials said.
“We’re a welcoming community,” Kennedy said, rejecting the Asatru Folk Assembly’s exclusionary beliefs. “That’s not at all what the people of Murdock feel. Nobody had a problem with the Hispanics here.”
The AFA purchased its building this year on property in a residential zone. Constructed as a Lutheran church before the zoning was changed, it was later converted to a private residence. The folk assembly needed the permit to convert the residence back to a church.
“It’s ironic the city council didn’t want to commit discrimination against the church, but the church is discriminating against Blacks,” said Abigail Suiter, 33, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It’s very telling of where the priority is and whose lives matter.”
Prominent lawyers disagree on the council’s options heading into the vote. Some of the debate centered on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which protects religious institutions and churches from unduly burdens and discriminatory land-use regulations.
Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said the council might have been able to prevent the private sale of the property, had it known about it, through laws focused on forbidding racial discrimination in property transactions.
“No institution that proposes to exclude people on account of race is allowed to run an operation in the state of Minnesota,” Tribe said.
Kavanagh said he stands by the council vote “for legal reasons only.”
“The biggest thing people don’t understand is, because we’ve approved this permit, all of a sudden everyone feels this town is racist, and that isn’t the case,” he said. “Just because we voted yes doesn’t mean we’re racist.”
Chinese-Canadian NCAA division one basketball prospect Ben Li has received all the Asian-related racist jibes under the sun.
“I’ve heard all the names right when I step onto the court. From the players it’d be all comparisons to any Asian thing – soy sauce, Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, small eyes. Like I’d be shooting free throws and another team would be standing right there saying ‘can you even see the rim?’ and all that,” the 19-year-old Lehigh University, Pennsylvania first-year said.
Born in Toronto to native Chinese parents, Li defied the odds, stereotypes and stigma to make history as the first ethnic-Chinese player to make the All-Canadian game last year. It is but only the beginning of the forward’s mission to reach the NBA and the Chinese national team.
Already touted as the “Chinese Zion Williamson” by adoring media, Li hoped his unconventionally large physical presence on the court would help rid the arena of any prejudices. Otherwise he will have to take into his own hands.
“It’s definitely annoying but over time, their words didn’t matter to me. Most of the time they were trash-talking and all that, they were usually down. So any time they’d say anything, most of the time I don’t say anything back and just point at the scoreboard,” said Li, all 1.98m, 105kg of him.
“It’s actually pretty fun to get to prove people wrong or when they expect me to not really do anything. Then I showcase my game. Sometimes they start talking trash and I’d get my stuff going and dominate the game. That’s pretty fun sometimes.”
Li regularly seeks advice – be it basketball or identity related, or both – from hero-turned-friend Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American who famously graced the NBA with the “Linsanity” era of 2012. That he is now exchanging texts with the man he watched on TV is another “pinch me” moment in his fledgling career so far.
“I definitely want to shout out Jeremy Lin,” said Li, who he featured alongside on a Chinese basketball TV show in 2019.
“This year, he gave me his number and offered me an outlet to ask questions if I’m struggling or need any advice. I look up to him like a bigger bro. That’s kind of surreal to me because he was my role model.”
“When I first met him, I told him I was just trying to get scholarships and play division one basketball so my parents wouldn’t need to pay a cent for me at university. I think that’s where it kicked off because he could relate to me and had to go through a lot of things. He’s even been kind enough to offer to get a workout in together. That’s surreal. That person you watched, that got you into the sport I’m in now. Now I can just to talk to him. It’s just crazy.”
No racial slur is justifiable, but the ignorance may be partly to do with the lack of Asian faces in the game. That applies throughout all age groups, from little leagues to the NBA, where you could count the number of Asian players on your fingers.
Li’s athletic talent had grown to the point that he would need to head south from his native Canada. The path to a division one scholarship offer was meticulously planned and it was only a matter of time before calls came flooding in.
“I had to do what was best for me and expose myself to more schools and coaches. When I got to Virginia, my coach started calling schools in to come watch. Over time, my stock grew and my coach even told me that people were calling asking ‘is the big Asian guy still available? Can I come watch him work out?’” he said.
“I do this for the younger generation looking for knowledge from anyone in my situation. They’ll read this as the next Asian guy who wants to play division one basketball. My goal on top of playing in the NBA and the national team is to inspire the next generation of Asians to break out of their comfort zones.”
“I feel like there’s a stigma that we’re less than other people in a sport just because of the colour of our skin – and I think that’s kind of bulls***. If you just put in the work and screw what other people think, you can go wherever you want to go in your sport. I don’t want other people thinking they can’t get past something if they’re Asian.”
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.
A foreign student studying abroad in Singapore faced massive backlash this past weekend after a photograph that she posted on Instagram for Chinese New Year earlier in 2020 went viral for all the wrong reasons.
The student, Louise, has since issued an apology on her now-private Instagram account, and Essec Business School, where she studies, has said that they are “looking into the situation”.
On Friday (Dec. 4), Instagram user @beforeik.o posted a screenshot of an Instagram story she had made of Louise’s post, which showed the French student pulling back her eyes with her fingers into a slit shape while wearing a cheongsam.
@beforeik.o’s Instagram post also included a screenshot of another photo posted by Louise for Chinese New Year, which included the words “ching chong” in the caption.
A person also commented, “So chong!! So coronavirus!!”
In her Instagram post, @beforeik.o also shared several screenshots of direct messages (DMs) in which Louise claimed that she was “clearly not racist” and that the photo was “just for fun”.
Louise pointed to the fact that Chinese people may get surgery on their eyes to have more “European” features, and asked whether that would be considered racism.
@beforeik.o replied that Louise should educate herself, remove the post, and apologise “before this whole thing blows up”.
Louise, however, doubled down and claimed to have a master’s degree, as well as a diploma from Harvard University about ethnicity in the workplace.
On Saturday (Dec. 5), the official Instagram page of Essec Business School commented on @beforeik.o’s Instagram post, writing that they are “looking into the situation and will take appropriate action”.