With an opening prayer and a moment of silence, multiple Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as well as a few faculty members, came together to discuss events that have affected the Asian community in recent days. This gathering was a safe and loving space for people from the Asian community to gather together and voice their thoughts and ideas about the anti-Asian racism that has spread like wildfire not only across the country but also around the globe.
The current news cycle on this subject is referring to incidents of two elderly Asian Americans who were assaulted in San Francisco, earlier in March. Both assaults were seemingly unprovoked, implying that they were racially motivated. Since these and other related events, many people have been showing their support to Asian Americans by donating both to the victims and raising thousands for the cause of combating racism.
Associate Director of Residence Life Jamie Chong Brown, opened up the discussion with “Racism? Racism towards Asians has always existed. It just hasn’t been talked about. Recently it’s more prevalent since most people correlate COVID-19 with China. Negative comments are said and expressed.” Brown also personally expresses how she feels being a part of the Asian American community--like changing the way she speaks or making her accent less prominent around people so they can understand her easier. even though that is not something she needs to do. Also, anyone would feel uncomfortable with the stereotypes and sexual undertones that come along with being an Asian woman.
From a student’s perspective, Asian Culture Club President Dustin Doan (C’21) explains what it is like being a part of the Asian community and hearing racial jokes or racial slurs towards Asians. “Asian Americans are usually silent. They go along with it and don’t really say much, when in reality it hurts a lot,” she expressed.
According to Public Safety there could be several incidents on campus and people do not report them. Out of fear or thinking that nothing will come out of it, they just let it happen . Folks are encouraged to report such incidents because, as Director of Public Safety Ron Hibbard says, “There’s a very clear difference between free speech and openly using or saying racial slurs. It’s harassment and discrimination.”
As the new Director of Public Safety, Hibbard wants to work closely with students and wants everyone to know that student safety is a huge priority on campus. If anyone ever needs to reach out to Public Safety, they can do so without any hesitation.