Black Lives Matter ignites Asian American activism


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Peter Chan saw a video showing George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis almost a dozen times. He later watched a video of a conflict between a white woman and a black birdwatcher in New York City.

That’s all when it clicks for him.

For years, Great Neck residents have been aware of the Black Lives Matter movement. But Zhang didn’t pay much attention — a white policeman pinning his knees to Floyd’s neck in May and a black man after asking him to lead a dog in Central Park. Until you see the video of the calling woman.To video, 911 Operators heard a woman saying she was “threatening” by an African-American man.

“Within a few months after the movement intensified, I changed my mind,” said 61-year-old Zhang, who emigrated from China to the United States decades ago. “I think we need to speak out so that we can hear that everyone is part of us. We are not absent.”

With that realization, Zhang 200,000 Asians He lived in Long Island and participated in a June protest at the Great Neck, where hundreds of people marched.

Nationally, Zhang appears to be one of the rises in Asian Americans whose summer attitudes have changed in favor of the Black Life Matter Movement, which was supported by the Pew Research Center last week. May be depressed, as reported to have positive support Decreased from June to September..

At the beginning of July, three of the four Asians surveyed Gallup voting They said the protests changed their view of racial justice.

Demonstrations declined on Long Island, but a grand jury in Kentucky Do not prosecute officers The death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot dead by Louisville police in March. A police officer was charged with shooting at a nearby apartment.

Frank Wu, president of Queens’ College and author of “Yellow: American Competition Beyond Black and White,” is not surprised at the change in mind.

“Asian Americans generally tend to be a generation or so liberal,” Wu said. “Many Asian Americans see similarities between the hatred they feel while walking down the street for COVID-19 and what African Americans are talking about. ” Repulsion Asian Americans are facing a pandemic of the coronavirus that has occurred in China.

Wu said he wondered where many Asians would fit in as a result of discussions about race, which has traditionally been taken up as a black-and-white issue.

“Are they prestigious whites? Are they color people?” Said Wu of Chinese descent. “Asian Americans are vague and vague. Some Asian Americans don’t know their feelings. It’s starting to change.”

Change of attitude

Tarashes, a 15-year-old Indian-American, has been shifted by his mother, Sonia Marcani. Sonia Marcani has believed in the term All Lives Matter until the last few months.

Like Zhang, Marcani’s attitude changed after she watched a video of Floyd’s last moment and heard about Taylor’s early news.

“This is totally wrong,” Marcani recalled. “Then my daughter said:” Yes, it’s wrong. But it’s been wrong for a long time. It’s Black Lives Matter for change. “… It enlightened me. “

When Marcani went to a march organized in Hicksville by her daughter and fellow Syosset High School student Sophia Chaudori (also an Indian-American), she hit a diverse crowd and numerous speakers there. He said he was struck.

One of them, 21-year-old Judir, used a loudspeaker to share with the crowd his experience growing up as a black and Vietnamese-American in Farmingville. She said she saw how her brother, who had a darker skin than her, was treated differently.

“That’s not good,” she told the group.

Le partially motivated her to act on an elderly Asian relative who racist against her brother just a month before the protests for Floyd’s death on Long Island began. He said he had heard his opinion.

“I knew that educating them and changing their minds was very challenging for that particular person,” said a senior at Stony Brook University. “If I can’t reach this one, I thought I could reach the rest of the community or the people I wanted to learn.”

Zhang, on the other hand, felt that it was best for him and the people around him to start changing.

After the Great Neck march, Zhang noticed a discussion with Asian family and friends. He avoids this problem at the supper and tries to ruin his long-term friendship with intense debate. However, he said there was some softening.

“They haven’t 100% agreed with me yet,” he said, adding that he understood the division between Asian-American communities. “But they’re starting to take a different approach, rather than saying I’m wrong, I’m brainwashed, or I’m some leftist.”

Division and solidarity

According to Wu, the division of Asian Americans can occur within a single family and can be based on ethnicity, generation, homeland politics, US partisan politics, or other factors. ..

An example of the disparity is the indictment of NYPD officer Peter Liang and his reaction to subsequent trials. Chinese Liang was convicted in 2016 of shooting a 28-year-old black man, Akai Girly, in a public housing in Brooklyn. Liang was dismissed by the police after being convicted of manslaughter, but did not provide time behind the prison. He was sentenced to five years of probation and 800 hours of community service.

To Rally following Liang’s belief, A group of predominantly Chinese-American protesters blamed Liang’s prosecution, while another mixed-race group, including Asian-Americans, labeled “Black Lives Matter” in both English and Chinese. Retained.

David Chen of Manhasset recalled attending a rally in Brooklyn to assist new executives.

“We didn’t want him to be mistreated, but the BLM move felt that the Chinese only care about police officers and not the blacks being shot,” said 51 Chinese-Americans. Said Chen, aged. “It caused a lot of friction.”

More recently in May, when Derek Shobin put his knees on Floyd as a symbol of conspiracy silence towards the struggle for racial justice of African Americans by the Asian-American community. Some have seen Tutao, a Hmong police officer who seized bystanders. Tao and two other police officers on the scene have been charged with supporting and accusing him of a second murder and manslaughter.

“Tensions remain to this day, and it will be difficult to eradicate them because they are rooted in anti-blackness,” said Jaslin Kaul, 24, an Indian descent activist at Floral Park. “This is clearly an important turning point … to reflect not only what happened to the Asian community, but also how Asian police officers are involved in it.”

Emerging activities

Despite the division, scholars and activists refer to interracial coalitions and prominent figures. For example, Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese-American who was housed in a camp during World War II and a civil rights advocate who made friends with Malcolm X.

“The fight against racism is not a problem for blacks, it is for everyone,” said Kiana Abadi, 27, a black activist from Freeport. “Everyone plays an important role [Trump] There is no limit to the government’s xenophobia. “

After the 9/11 attack, Taunya Robert Banks, a professor of law at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, recalled the reaction of Japanese Americans to anti-Islamic rhetoric.

“They are still suffering from camp pain and memory,” Banks said. “Many members of Japanese-American society soon came to help the Islamic community, which was accused and characterized as a terrorist.”

Understanding race is easy for Chess, who is rooted in her experience growing up in Syosset as an Indian-American.

At school, teenagers said other students “joked” to her that she didn’t smell like spices, and asked Latin students if they were illegal immigrants. “They play that kind of insult as a joke,” she said. “There are many fully normalized microaggressions and racism in our school.”

A few weeks before the school began, we set up a local chapter in the California-based initiative #DiversifyOurNarrative to encourage school districts to include racially diverse textbooks in their curriculum. Summer protest.

“It was very eye-opening and impactful to me,” she said. “I was really inspired.”


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