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Anti-Asian Racism: 2021 Edition

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In a recent mass shooting in Atlanta, eight people were killed. Among them were six women of Asian descent, leading many to suspect racism was a factor. The suspect claimed that he was motivated by his sexual addiction and acted to eliminate his temptations.  The fact that the suspect did not explicitly claim a racist motivation allows for some to claim that despite the clear targeting of Asians, this was not an act of racism. In terms of the impact of the killings, having epistemic certainty regarding the suspect’s motives is irrelevant: eight people are dead, and the choice of targets provides reasonable evidence that Asians were targeted because they are Asians. But even if it becomes utterly clear that the suspect was not motivated by racism, there is still significant anti-Asian prejudice in the United States. Racism against Asians is baked into America. One early examples is the  1882  Chinese Exclusion Act. The most famous act of large-scale anti-Asian racism was, of course, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two. When the subject of anti-Asian racism is brought up, a common counter is to use what is known as the “Model Minority Myth.” The gist of the reasoning is that the prosperity of (some) Asian Americans is evidence against claims of white racism. The explanation given for the prosperity is that Asians have exemplified traditional values (hard work, two-parent families, and so on). This is then used as a weapon against claims about racism against blacks: since Asian success “proves” racism is either not a factor or can be overcome with hard work, then the social and economic ills Black Americans face must be their own fault. As would be expected, although the myth has been refuted countless times, it remains a popular tool on the right. While this oversimplified matters, the key fact that debunks the myth is that it willfully ignores “…the role that selective recruitment of highly educated Asian immigrants has played in Asian American. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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