The Intersection of Asian And Black American History

Solidarity between Asian and Black Americans has a long history, dating back to the civil
rights movement of the 1960s. Despite facing different forms of discrimination and oppression,
the two communities unite over shared experiences in their fight for equality and justice.

One of the earliest examples of Asian-Black solidarity can be traced back to the 1960s,
when Black civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X spoke out in
support of Asian Americans who were being targeted by discriminatory immigration policies. In
1965, the Immigration and Nationality Act was signed into law, abolishing the discriminatory
quota system that had previously favored white immigrants and severely limited immigration
from Asia. This critical legislation was due in large part to the efforts of civil rights activists,
including Black leaders who recognized the importance of standing in solidarity with other
marginalized groups.

In the decades that followed, Asian and Black Americans continued to support each other
in their struggles against racism and discrimination. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, for
example, Korean-American store owners were targeted by looters and arsonists, but many Black
residents came to their defense, recognizing the shared experience of economic and social
marginalization. Similarly, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, many Black Americans spoke out
against the xenophobic backlash that targeted Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities.
Today, Asian-Black solidarity remains an important and ongoing struggle, particularly in the face
of rising anti-Asian hate and the ongoing fight for racial justice in the United States. As the
country continues to grapple with issues of systemic racism and inequality, it is important to
remember the historical roots of this solidarity and the ongoing struggles of both communities.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need for intersectional
activism and a commitment to allyship, uniting Asian and Black Americans in the fight against
oppression and discrimination. This alliance has been particularly important in the wake of the
COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, as well as the ongoing
struggle for racial justice in the United States.

One shared experience of Asian and Black Americans is in the fight for workers’ rights
and economic justice. Both communities have long been subjected to exploitation and
discrimination in the workplace, and have fought for fair wages, better working conditions, and
the right to organize. This shared struggle was highlighted during the 2018 teacher strikes in
several states, where Asian and Black educators joined forces to demand better pay and
resources for their schools.

Another area of solidarity is in the fight against police brutality and the criminal justice
system. Both Asian and Black Americans have been subjected to racist policing and
discriminatory treatment by the criminal justice system, leading to high rates of incarceration and
over-policing in their communities. As a result, both communities have been active in
movements such as Black Lives Matter and the movement to end mass incarceration.

While there have been moments of tension between Asian and Black Americans,
particularly in urban areas where economic competition and cultural differences can lead to
conflict, there is a growing recognition of the need for solidarity and mutual support. As the
United States becomes increasingly diverse, it is important to remember the lessons of the past
and work towards a more just and equitable future for all.

About the Author:  Vicky is a college student at Brown University. She majors in Economics and Computer Science and is interning at CSEBRI