Asian American History and Identity: An Anti-Racism Toolkit

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  • Introducing Asian American Communities
    • This course is designed to dispel false narratives and negative associations with Covid-19 by identifying the roots of Anti-Asian hate and violence in the US and by giving learners a picture of Asian American history and Identity in the US that reflects the diversity, complexity, and beauty of Asian American identity. As a project designed to counteract racist associations amplified by Covid-19 that serve as the foundations for hate speech and hateful acts of violence, this course joins a growing social movement seeking to raise awareness of Anti-Asian cultural sentiments and to give learners an anti-racist toolkit and workable historical knowledge base through which they can take an active role in making their communities safer and more inclusive for Asian Americans. This week is focused on understanding the diversity of Asian American identity and developing terminology to understand anti-racism.
  • Exploring The Contours of Asian American History
    • This week’s lessons explore some of the major themes in Asian American history. The assigned materials will introduce learners to the myriad global forces that brought Asians and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to the United States at different historical periods. Asians and Pacific Islanders were sought after by American business owners as sources of labor on plantations, farms, and railways. At the same time, they were excluded through formal and informal means from full participation in civic life. American overseas wars and imperial activities also pulled AAPIs deeper into the orbit of American influence. Still, many AAPI immigrants maintained close ties to Asia long after they had settled permanently in the US.
  • Covid-19, Media Representation, and Becoming an Active Bystander
    • In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a marked increase in Anti-Asian hate and violence in the US. Unfortunately, the linking of Asian and other immigrant groups to disease has a long history in the US, of which the COVID 19 pandemic is only the most recent example. Rather than seeing the rise of Anti-Asian hate and violence as only a result of scapegoating Asian people for the deadly disease, here we examine the ways that the pandemic exacerbated negative racial sentiments that have deep roots in American culture. From racialized figures like Dr. Fu Manchu, conjured in 20th century to express fears of Asian peoples and support ideologies of White Supremacy, to stereotypes such as the Asian “Tiger Mom” and the myth of Asians as a “Model Minority,” to the contemporary racist language of Covid 19 as the “Kung Flu,” popular culture and media have played an outsized role in representing and MIS representing Asian peoples and cultures. In this section we examine the link between racialized metaphors of contagion during Covid-19 and the rise in Anti- Asian violence. We then examine the role that popular culture and media have played in reproducing stereotypes about Asian people and the disproportionate lack of diverse, Asian-centered, non-stereotypical narratives, depictions, and roles for Asians in popular culture.
  • Course Conclusion and Evaluation
    • We will conclude the course with a video, peer review assignment, and additional information you can refer to.