Blacks and Asians should be allies against racism. Here’s why many of us are not
I had watched the former president blame China for the virus that has killed over 500,000 Americans. He gave it names like the China flu, and the China virus, and Kung Flu. I saw his followers adopt that language, and as businesses closed and jobs disappeared, some sought to blame Asians, and violence against them increased.
There were 3800 anti-Asian hate incidents in the year since the pandemic began. And this is not the first time Asians have been targeted in America. The Chinese exclusion act sought to keep them from immigrating to the U.S. And Japanese Americans were held in prison camps during World War II. Just as those things were wrong, the current targeting of Asians is wrong.
As always, there is an expectation that Black people should come to the aid of any group facing discrimination, because we understand racism better than most. But that’s complicated, because some of us have anti-Asian bias, and sometimes Blacks are discriminated against by Asians.
Blacks watched as Asians worked with white conservatives in a bid to dismantle affirmative action at Harvard. We watched Asian hair suppliers systematically freeze Black people out of the Black haircare industry. We are sometimes insulted, demeaned and followed while shopping in Asian stores.