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China Daily: Black hostility towards Asians in the US persists

NAACP and Nation of Islam members protest in front of an Asian owned business in Dallas. The owner shot a black male in self-defense.

The English language section of China Daily, one of the biggest websites in China, writes about racial tension in the US between blacks and Asians.

From China Daily…

Seemingly opposite stereotypes about Asian Americans and African Americans have sometimes served to pit the groups against each other, as evidenced by a recent social media exchange about “Asian privilege”, reports Kelly Chung Dawson in New York.

In photos of the moments after Malcolm X was fatally shot at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom in 1965, a bespectacled Asian woman cradles his head. That woman was Yuri Kochiyama, an ally and one of the godparents of the Asian-American activism movement. Like other Asian Americans who had previously joined the Black Panthers, she drew inspiration and support from the rise of civil rights activism among African Americans.

That same year, a change in US immigration policy radically changed the demography of Asian America, attracting large numbers of educated, skilled Chinese workers that set the stage for a 1966 US News & World Report article that heralded the achievements of a “model minority,” pitting Asian-American success against the continued agitating of African Americans.

“At a time when it is being proposed that hundreds of billions be spent to uplift Negroes and other minorities, the nation’s 300,000 Chinese Americans are moving ahead on their own,” the article charged.

In the years since, the conception of a model minority has insidiously driven a wedge between the African-American and Asian-American communities, as evidenced most recently in the backlash against Asian-American activist Suey Park’s efforts to promote a Twitter discussion about discrimination against Asian-American women in December.

In response to Park’s #NotYourAsianSidekick-tagged tweets, which spurred a conversation of more than 60,000 participants, a counter-hashtag labeled #AsianPrivilege gained momentum among black Twitter users.

“#AsianPrivilege means being overrepresented at universities then changing the narrative to make it like you [sic] oppressed,” tweeted NayNayCantStop. Close Gitmo wrote: “#AsianPrivilege is Indians in an African country like Uganda controlling the entire nation’s economy while majority blacks were in poverty.” Others argued that as a large percentage of the global population, Asian Americans shouldn’t claim to understand the minority experience.

Park created an offshoot discussion tagged #BlackPowerYellowPeril, in hopes of spotlighting areas of tension between the two communities. The tag garnered almost 12,000 tweets, inspiring users like Zellie to write: “#BlackPowerYellowPeril because as much as we want more black representation on television and film, Asian-American Pacific Islanders represent even less.” Bessie wrote, “When America writes off black success as a result of affirmative action and Asian success as just being model minority.”

For Monica Christoffels, the thread was empowering. “For too long we have been told to not talk to/work with each other,” she wrote. “#BlackPowerYellowPeril because white supremacy pits us against each other for its own benefit.”

The discussion is long overdue, Park told China Daily.

“Asian Americans and African Americans have often internalized the idea of limited resources, particularly among low-income and older generations,” she said. “Fighting for your seat at the table can be a survival tactic among minorities. The question now is, how can we create a space for both Asian Americans and black Americans to talk without shaming each other of being unknowledgeable about the other’s experiences? Everyone is most knowledgeable about their own experience, and a discussion in which African Americans raise questions about whether Asian privilege exists is important too.”