Considerations when Including Asians in your Anti- Oppression Work

It’s been painful, tiring, exhausting given all that’s happened around elder abuse within the Asian American community. On top of the hate crimes, there’s been a lot of learning, unpacking, and truths being shared about how our community has been processing. As a racial and gender equity consulting group, it would be remiss to not uplift these conversation, and framing it’s nuances in responsible ways. When including Asian Americans within your anti-racist practice — please consider the following.

  1. Understand that the model minority was designed to pit Black and Asian communities against one another. The model minority myth was designed to uphold white power.
  2. Asian Americans are not a monolith, and they have an extensive history based on their immigration here. Many have escaped war trauma, political turmoil, and much more. There’s intergroup dynamics as well — especially the conversations between East Asians and South East/ South Asians, the historical exclusion of native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander folks, and more.
  3. We are often lumped together. So when we are told that we have aligned with whiteness in many ways, coupled with the way media likes to talk about us (erasure of anti-Asian hate crimes, entertainment like Crazy Rich Asians, Bling Empire, House of Ho) the oppression that Asian Americans feel often get erased.
  4. Self racism and internalized gaslighting is real, downplaying our in experiences. We need spaces to affirm our oppression, while also holding ourselves accountability to the ways we perpetuate anti-Blackness, xenophobia, sexism, racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and more.
  5. Anti-Blackness exists within the Asian community. In response to the elder abuse happening, more calls for pro-police, anti-Black racism has also taken place. This must stop, and we must think of more holistic solutions that are not pro-police and anti-Black for our communities safety. We can be victims and also perpetuators of violence as well.
  6. All of this is rooted in white supremacy, that is the real enemy. White supremacy continues to pit communities of color against one another, while taking away the main focus. It also enforces us to think in binaries and not recognize our own nuanced, specific, and unique experience.

Being Asian American means being able to hold multiple truths and multiple spaces and it’s complicated contradictions all the time. Recognizing the Asian American experience is crucial in our anti-oppression work.

Racial equity and gender equity consulting group founded by three women of color. •Natalie Bui, Veline Mojarro, Kausar Mohammed• Visit www.shiftingculture.co.

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