WORLD / AMERICAS
Overseas Chinese might have been divided but now share the same name
Asians with Attitudes
Published: Apr 13, 2021 07:28 PM
From the end of 2020, there has been a massive escalation in attacks, both physical and property, toward Asians living in the San Francisco Bay Area, sparking massive protests and a public outcry by the Asian community in the US for protection against Anti-Asian hate. 

Escalation 

People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence on April 4 in New York City, the US. Photo: VCG

People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence on April 4 in New York City, the US. Photo: VCG

From the beginning, gangsters robbed shops and passersby in Chinatown. At the end of January, an African-American youth suddenly began to push over innocent Asians in San Francisco and Oakland. 

March was a dark month for Asians in the Bay Area and even across the US. 

On March 14, a white woman insulted a Korean fashion blogger in Midtown Manhattan and told him to "Get the f**k back to China."

On March 16, three massage parlors in Atlanta were shot up, resulting in the deaths of eight Asians. 

On March 17, an elderly lady, surnamed Xie, was attacked for no apparent reason by a white middle-aged male while setting up a street stall at a bustling intersection in San Francisco. Her eyes were swollen and bleeding. The victim proceeded to take a wooden stick and strike back. 

This series of frequent, racially, and targeted vicious incidents made the Asian community concerned. 

Finally, on March 27, a large-scale demonstration to stop Asian discrimination broke out in Union Square in downtown San Francisco. 

Over the next few days, people in many other cities in the Bay Area also organized anti-Asian discrimination demonstrations.

According to a report on March 28 by Sing Tao Daily, some citizens were dissatisfied with not seeing any publicized reports about the protest on TV the day before the San Francisco protest, saying that TV stations should do their utmost to promote such an important event. 

In the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce's (OCCC) WeChat group, there are also business owners sharing photos of local protests against racial discrimination, along with messages asking why so many Chinese residents in Auckland are hiding at home and not coming out to increase the momentum of the activity.

People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence on April 4 in New York City, the US. Photo: VCG

People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence on April 4 in New York City, the US. Photo: VCG

Key factors

Chino Yang, one of the three North Americans who gained fame with the 2018 "New Rap in China" program, and the vice president of FJ in the Bay, is one of the initiators of anti-Asian discrimination activities. 

He began writing songs to fight back since former US president Donald Trump called the coronavirus "China virus" or "Kung flu" in 2020. 

Recently, a new song titled "Stand Up and Speak Up" was released after the anti-discrimination Asian demonstrations broke out across the US, encouraging Asians to unite and denounce racism. 

In an interview with the Global Times, he said that he has observed that Chinese people have been vulnerable to discrimination in the US for the past 20 years. There are main reasons why they are susceptible to discrimination. 

The Chinese have a high income in the US, but they are indifferent to other things except for education and making money, and do not get the respect of other races. The Chinese community is too scattered. Basically, no one pays attention to anyone. The Chinese are labeled as "the model minority" by the white majority, thus dividing and conquering, making the Chinese unpopular. Overseas Chinese are used to living in divided communities based on geographical factors. It is difficult to unite. 

Asians on the move

Yang admires the performance of "Asians with attitudes," a nonprofit organization with a background in Southeast Asia, in its anti-discrimination activities.

"They actively participate in protests and rallies and send members from various cities to San Francisco and Oakland's Chinatowns every day. They also organize patrols to protect local shops and pedestrians," Yang noted.

"Most members of 'Asians with attitudes' come from Laos, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, and other Southeast Asian countries. Many members have criminal records, but they turned over a new leaf, reformed themselves, and have their own occupations," he said.

When they saw that the outside world had become less "orderly" than the prison, they spontaneously set up this organization, with 10 chapters across the country. 

Yang pointed out that they do not have any

 political inclinations or interests, but are purely contributing to the community, and the average age of their members is under 40, showing an energetic spirit. 

He said he hopes that the older generation of Asian leaders from all walks of life will also be able to seed some ground. Cultivating young people, so that the younger generation with the same educational background and frames of reference can gradually be able to handle such problems by themselves. Abandon geographical restrictions regardless of previous suspicions, and unite to fight against racial discrimination. 

On April 8, local time, the Burma Love and Superstars Restaurants held a press conference with the OCCC and the San Francisco Police Officers Association to announce the establishment of the Crimes Against Asians Reward Fund. Photo: Summer Li/GT

On April 8, local time, the Burma Love and Superstars Restaurants held a press conference with the OCCC and the San Francisco Police Officers Association to announce the establishment of the Crimes Against Asians Reward Fund. Photo: Summer Li/GT

On April 8, local time, the Burma Love and Superstars Restaurants which has served in the Bay Area for more than 20 years held a press conference with the OCCC and the San Francisco Police Officers Association to announce the establishment of the Crimes Against Asians Reward Fund (CAARF) to fight racial injustice and crimes committed against Asian Americans and the Pacific Islander community in the Bay Area. 

Carl Chen, president of the OCCC, said that this is a major shift from fragmentation to unity in the Asian community. 

This time everyone came out with people and donated toward the cause, Chen pointed out.

Those who are not from the same hometown or do not speak the same language tend to ignore each other, but they have experienced racial discrimination and violence in the past year. 

After these hate crimes, everyone began to consciously reject Asian subdivision, and refuse to answer to questions about their respective ethnic identities, because everyone began to realize that we all have the same face, and name - "Asian."
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