Silence is Consent: Opposing Anti-Asian Racism & Violence

The Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security condemns all acts of Anti-Asian violence and discrimination, as it does all manifestations of racism.  We are horrified by the March 16, 2021 killing of eight people in Georgia, six of whom were Asian-American women.  We are pained and outraged that the racism directed against Asian-Americans, exacerbated by President Trump, as well unfortunately by President Biden, as they launched the new Cold War with China. It has forced many Asian-American to live in fear. Tragically, this is the latest in a long and unacceptable history of racist and misogynist violence inflicted against Asian-Americans and other minorities.

All people share humanity’s essence. The dignity, security and rights of each person must be respected.

Silence is consent. Anti-Asian racism must end. Solidarity with our Asian-American neighbors, friends and colleagues is an urgent necessity.

Over the past year, Stop AAPI Hate logged 4,000 incidents of hate incidents directed against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.[i] A recent University of California study confirms what our friends tell us and what we read in the media: during the past year hate crimes directed against Asian-Americans have increased by 150%[ii].  This in a nation whose Declaration of Independence affirms the equality, rights, and dignity of all people!

The rise in Anti-Asian violence and incidents is the predictable consequence of the new, unnecessary, and dangerous Cold War against China. It is being fanned by Trump’s and others’ continuing hateful Cold War rhetoric, designed to mobilize public opinion against China and to distract public attention from our own government’s failures and policy shortcomings.

Unfortunately, anti-Asian racism is not a new phenomenon. It has recurred time and time again during wars, Cold Wars and periods of economic insecurity in the U.S. Filipinos termed “gooks” and “niggers’ were murdered in numerous massacres during the 1898-1903 conquest of that nation, a tradition that continued through the Korean and Indochinese Wars.  Chinese Americans were driven from their homes and communities and killed in massacres during the Gold Rush and the building of the railroads. Discriminatory immigration policies dominated the late 19th and much of the 20th centuries. 120,000 Japanese Americans with no direct relationship to the war with Japan had their property seized and were forced into internment camps. Asian-Americans once again suffered violence in the 1980s when the quality of Japan’s automotive industry cost jobs in Detroit. And, as documented by Gabriella in the Philippines and Okinawan Women Against Military Violence in Japan, sexual violence and exploitation of Asian women has long been associated with the United States empire of foreign military bases and has been condoned by the Pentagon. [iii]

Now, with China’s economy and technologies threatening to surpass those of the United States, and the two great powers contending for military and political superiority in the Western Pacific, irrational Cold War rhetoric and policies threaten catastrophic war, generate hate, scapegoating and even murder of our fellow and sister citizens.

All of this undermines the possibility of mutually beneficial collaborations between two great but flawed nations to address the existential threats of the climate crisis, pandemics, and nuclear weapons.

Anti-Asian racism and the new Cold War which drives it are unacceptable.

They must stop!

[i] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/author-viet-thanh-nguyen-on-the-deep-well-of-anti-asian-racism-in-the-u-s

[ii] https://www.csusb.edu/sites/default/files/FACT%20SHEET-%20Anti-Asian%20Hate%202020%203.2.21.pdf

[iii] https://www.carnegiecouncil.org/publications/archive/dialogue/2_10/online_exclusive/1071; https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/03/18/national/social-issues/okinawa-women-military-violence/