Letter from the Editor
“However, I didn’t know the pandemic had also exposed the social ills that were inherent in our society, such as the systemic racism against people of color.”
Dear AAC Members & Readers,
I am so pleased that we have rolled out this journal’s first issue, which has articles written by AAC members and our summer interns. It has articles that focus on Asian American issues that concern you. There is also a column for creative writing, such as a modem poem written by one of our AAC members who has just become an AAC representative. In addition, please check out our Upcoming Event column to find out what’s happening in AAC for activities you can participate. Finally, we also have a classified ad section to create a stream of revenues for our initiative. We welcome individuals, organizations, and companies to place an ad with us and your advertising dollars to support our activities.
“Furthermore, to hear the victims of these hate crimes receive insults from their attackers, “Go back to where you came from,” was appalling!”
When we first came up with the AAC initiative in 2020, I thought we would just be connecting people with resources to help them get through the pandemic and the crisis they face in their lives. However, I didn’t know the pandemic had also exposed the social ills that were inherent in our society, such as the systemic racism against people of color. The most recent and relevant one to our AAC community is the massive shooting of a massage parlor in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the eight people shot and died were Asian American women. Following that incident, there was an almost everyday occurrence of hate crimes against Asian American women and the elderly in San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles, which are known to have a diverse population in America. I had always been proud that I, too, lived in one of those cities but I was shocked to hear that’s where most of these hate crimes against Asian Americans were committed. Furthermore, to hear the victims of these hate crimes receive insults from their attackers, “Go back to where you came from,” was appalling! No wonder I see protest signs which read “We Belong” by Asian Americans on the street.
“As a Chinese American who grew up in the United States and has lived in this country for almost five decades, I didn’t doubt that I don’t belong in America.”
I didn’t doubt that we didn’t belong. As a Chinese American who grew up in the United States and has lived in this country for almost five decades, I didn’t doubt that I don’t belong in America. Yes, I have experienced discrimination and prejudice quite a few times in my professional life. Still, none was more painful than the experience I had when I was a little girl hearing a racial slur against Chinese Americans on a school playground. Why? Because I was defenseless as a child and because the racial slur came so suddenly without ample preparation, it took me by surprise, like an ambush. I am sure that’s how you feel as a teen when you encounter a classmate who called you a “virus” because the classmate heard the hostile rhetoric from the former president on TV and just repeated it without thinking too much about what they heard.
“I have to fight hate with love and peace because if I don’t, they will win.”
“I believe the best way to fight racism, hatred, and violence is by educating ourselves first and educating others about who we are… Better yet, you will educate them to discern that it’s only hateful rhetoric but has no truth in it.”
I am sure you felt isolated by the pandemic, yet having classmates blame you for it has exacerbated your distress even more. This kind of hate got to stop! I have to be restrained no matter how much I hate the former president’s speech and racist views on Asian Americans and people of color because I don’t want to spread hate. I have to fight hate with love and peace because if I don’t, they will win. I believe the best way to fight racism, hatred, and violence is by educating ourselves first and educating others about who we are. When people understand you so they will develop empathy for who you are, it’s much harder for them to repeat the hateful rhetoric they hear from conservative politicians. Better yet, you will educate them to discern that it’s only hateful rhetoric but has no truth in it. Yes, you need affirmation for being an Asian American. That’s why you joined AAC because in AAC, you will learn about Asian American cultures, and you will learn about the Asian American contribution to America’s nation-building even though it’s not in the public school curriculum. You will learn about those great Asian American heroes you never read about in your school curriculum. You will learn about Asian American artists, singers, writers, entertainers, producers, and more. Then you can advocate for yourself and fight against the racial stereotypes about Asian Americans. You will learn to speak out and to speak your mind artfully and effectively. Together, we join hands to fight the systemic racism against Asian Americans and people of color and against white supremacist ideas. It may not be easy for you to see victory at this moment, but if you are in AAC, you’ve taken a step in the right direction.
“There is nothing more powerful than the self-knowledge you have about yourself. Nobody can take that away from you.”
The best way to fight something bad is not only by not thinking about it but by replacing it with something good. That’s what you have to do. Not only are you not thinking about the stereotypes against you but replacing them with your re-writing your own narrative by speaking out, writing about the injustices you see, and developing the talents that you were born with, regardless of the racial stereotypes that say who you ought to be. There is nothing more powerful than the self-knowledge you have about yourself. Nobody can take that away from you.
“There is power to unity.”
“Please make no mistakes; we do not hate white people; we hate white supremacist ideas and practices.”
“This nation is a nation of immigrants. There is no one race superior to another. “
Our theme for this year’s AAC Journal is Uniting AAPI Community for Change. You will find our activities, classes, workshops, and conferences all align with this theme. Just because we are small in numbers in North America (not in the world) does not mean we are powerless. There is power to unity. I ask all of you who are of Asian descent, of Black and Latinx descent, as well as indigenous people, LGBTQ, and any people who have been historically marginalized, to join hands with me to fight racism, discrimination, prejudice, and hate in our initiative. Please make no mistakes; we do not hate white people; we hate white supremacist ideas and practices. My children are half white and half Asian; I want them to feel and know they have the best of both cultures in them; they have the best of both worlds in them. If you are of mixed race, whether you are half white, half black, half Asian, half Hispanic, or fully Asian, you belong! This nation is a nation of immigrants. There is no one race superior to another. People have no right to judge you for how you look. You are beautiful for how you were born! They have to learn to appreciate your mixed races and your mixed cultures. If you are fully Asian, you are beautiful too! Educate them about who you are. Education is our best weapon in this fight. So, stay tuned to all the classes, workshops, and conferences we have this year, along with the fun and games that come with them.
My email address is listed on our website; please feel free to email me if you need a sounding board to express the bullying you experience at school when you think there are no other adults there to listen to you. We also have college and high school interns who can be your peer support group. Please reach out. If you haven’t joined AAC yet, please go to our website to find the link to sign up. You will be on the list to receive my newsletter.
Lastly, but not least, I want to thank all my interns, high school and college students, who decided to join this internship last summer and spring and threw themselves into the ring for taking on this fight against racism, discrimination, and prejudice by contributing their talents in research and writing and helping to get our initiative off the ground. We are off the ground now and running. We will be more vocal in the community in the upcoming months. We’ve just begun!
I look forward to hearing from our AAC members, current and future members, about your ideas. I look forward to sharing the adventure with you as we take this initiative to the next level!
All my best and warmest regards,
Director and Editor for this Issue