Andrew Yang Draws Backlash from Asian Americans After Washington Post Op-Ed
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is facing backlash from Asian Americans for his op-ed on The Washington Post regarding the racism linked to COVID-19.
In the opinion piece, published on April 2, the 45-year-old American political commentator spoke about an encounter while he was out getting groceries.
“Three middle-aged men in hoodies and sweatshirts stood outside the entrance of the grocery store,” Yang wrote in his piece. “They huddled together talking. One looked up at me and frowned. There was something accusatory in his eyes. And then, for the first time in years, I felt it.”
“I felt self-conscious — even a bit ashamed — of being Asian.”
He then touched on the issue of the rising number of attacks against Asian Americans due to the COVID-19 panic in the U.S., which now has over 245,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
“The percentage of Asians who use the not-for-profit Crisis Text Line to speak with a counselor has shot up from 5 percent of callers — about in line with our share of the population — to 13 percent, an increase of 160 percent,” Yang wrote. “Some level of background disdain or alienation has grown into outright hostility and even aggression.”
Some people took offense from Yang’s comment about Japanese Americans volunteering for the military during World War II to “demonstrate that they were Americans.”
on the yang op-ed
1. AAPI, a marginalized community, should not have to prove loyalty and be forced to assimilate due to racism. this is essentially making demands of the oppressed, not the oppressor. this is letting those in power off the hook, no consequences. pic.twitter.com/Lr3SiDRiwR
2. what does americanness have to do with anything? this is divisive and makes it seem as tho our families overseas should, in fact, be the targets of hate attacks instead because they just happen to be born abroad.
3. he brings up Japanese American service in WWII while ignoring the fact that the families of those soldiers were imprisoned behind barbed wire in concentration camps. JA service did not mitigate the rampant anti-japanese sentiment in the country. that part is disrespectful
4. completely untouched in the whole piece is the role that predominantly-white decision making circles have in this. for someone who focused so much effort on criticizing the MSM, he really did not touch on what large institutions, who’ve shut POC out for years, should do.
One major failing of this piece was that it praises Japanese American military service for showing patriotism during WWII, but declines to mention that the reward for that patriotism was to be stripped of citizenship and property and incarcerated.
There’s a phrase in that book that stuck with me. It describes Japanese Americans during WWII but it could be about Asian Americans today: “…a traumatic search for an identity to fit the increasingly narrowed parameters of Americanism”
In Yang’s last two paragraphs in the op-ed piece, he wrote:
“We Asian Americans need to embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before. We need to step up, help our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations, and do everything in our power to accelerate the end of this crisis. We should show without a shadow of a doubt that we are Americans who will do our part for our country in this time of need.
Demonstrate that we are part of the solution. We are not the virus, but we can be part of the cure.”
Many Asian Americans took to Twitter to express their opinion on the matter.
andrew yang, wearing “red white and blue” isn’t going to stop people from being racist when they see me. do you think the guy who harasses me on the street cares about community work we’ve done? want us to hand out resumes while we’re being told to “go back to china”? fuck off
His advice reinforces the model minority trope: we should just work hard, don’t complain too much, etc. How has that worked out? We’ve been socially conditioned to NOT speak out about racism, minimize it, question it when it happens to us — when we should be doing the opposite.
“Asian Americans” exist so long as racism exists in American society. So when do Asian Americans become “just” Americans? When racism ends in America. Asian Americans who don’t understand that we have to be anti-racist at all times don’t understand racism. https://t.co/U42XFAjZ7r
here’s what i’m talking about. the article is behind a paywall. here’s the key screenshot. this is what andrew yang thinks is how Asian Americans should deal with anti-Asian racism during this coronavirus pandemic… pic.twitter.com/d7pKXDoBUq
I’m sorry Andrew, I have to disagree re Asian Americans having to prove their “Americanness”. Instead, maximum pressure should be put on people in leadership positions and the media to take a strong stand against racism.
“The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”
My Filipino grandfathers didn’t endure signs like this and Filipino men being lynched in California towns for their granddaughter to have to “prove” her Americanness almost 100 years after they immigrated. pic.twitter.com/PtEq7bxIOl
My grandfathers endured racist abuse, redlining, professional discrimination, and more — and they STILL built lives here. Their Asian American great-great-grandchildren are babies now. That’s American enough. pic.twitter.com/NraTrSECbR
Andrew Yang thinks the way to eliminate racism against Asian Americans is for Asian Americans to be “more American.” I’ve said it before, this man was the whitest candidate running https://t.co/Dhf6F1yn6A
stop being so hard on andrew yang he is just asking very nicely pretty please if you will stop calling him a chink he has an american flag on his lawn and lapel and tattooed on his face and chants USA USA USA every night before bed
NextShark has reached out to Andrew Yang for further comment and plans to have an interview with him next week.
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