Anti-Asian discrimination has a long history in the United States deeply rooted in Orientalist and Yellow Peril rhetoric that has repeatedly contributed to the exploitation and exclusion of Asians/Asian Americans. Racism directed at Asian/Asian American women has an even more troubled history. The United States’ first anti-immigration legislation, the Page Act of 1875, directly targeted and prohibited the entry of Chinese women. Furthermore, Asian and Asian American women have been consistently dehumanized, sexualized, and depicted as subservient objects of male fantasy and violence in American popular culture and public discourse.
We also condemn statements that suggest that recent anti-Asian violence in the United States is primarily a symptom of conflict between and among communities of color. To focus on these supposed “conflicts” dismisses the ways in which white supremacy has and continues to situate communities of color in dire and untenable positions. To focus on “conflicts” also denies the very real connections that communities of color have forged throughout this country’s history to fight against their racial oppression.
As members of a multi-racial nation built on a foundation of racial domination, we are all obligated to take seriously how the history of anti-Asian discrimination and white supremacy drives these recent events. To that end, we urge people to actively engage in and disseminate resources that shed light on this history, such as StopAAPIHate and the Treating Yellow Peril syllabus. It is only through continued education and cross-coalition action that we can work to deconstruct and dismantle these systems.
UCCS Department of Sociology
UCCS Women’s and Ethnic Studies Program
UCCS Department of Anthropology
UCCS Department of History