By Brian Batugo | Asian American history must be included in the broader context of US history, especially given the increase in hate crimes and incidents resulting from xenophobic and racist rhetoric that falsely blamed the Asian American community for the coronavirus. Catherine Ceniza Choy’s “Asian American Histories of the United States” offers a significant counter-narrative that celebrates and highlights the historical support and collaboration between Black and Asian Americans, challenging the media’s portrayal of hostility between these racialized groups.
By Catherine Ceniza Choy | November 6, 1968, at San Francisco State College was a watershed moment in United States history. It marked the beginning of the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) student strike, an action that would last five months and become the longest college strike in US history. The TWLF was a multiracial alliance of Black, Asian American, Latino, and American Indian students who demanded institutional change. Its constituent organizations included the Black Student Union, Latin American Student Organization, Mexican American Student Coalition, Philippine American Collegiate Endeavor, Asian American Political Alliance, and Intercollegiate Chinese for Social Action. Their activism led to the establishment of the College of Ethnic Studies.
By Catherine Ceniza Choy | Since 2020, Asian Americans in the United States have experienced dual existential crises: anti-Asian violence and COVID-19. According to Stop AAPI Hate, nearly 11,500 hate incidents were reported to its organization between March 19, 2020 and March 31, 2022. While the uptick in this violence has been connected to present-day coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia, anti-Asian violence and the association of Asian bodies with disease are not new.
Still kicking two years in, COVID brought out the worst from the nation’s populace: racist brutality against marginalized communities. This year’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month commemorates the victims of the 2021 spa shootings as well as all other Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders lost to anti-Asian violence during the pandemic and throughout history. This violence is a form of erasure. As historian Catherine Ceniza Choy writes in her forthcoming addition to Beacon Press’s ReVisioning History series, “This positioning of Asians in opposition to American identity and experience is perhaps most powerfully expressed through the erasure of their long-standing presence in the United States and their contributions to its various industries.”