Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Stands in Solidarity with Asian American Pacific Islander Communities

Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Stands in Solidarity with Asian American Pacific Islander Communities

The Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies stands in solidarity with Asian American Pacific Islander communities in denouncing and resisting the recent acts of hate and violence waged across the United States. We are grief-stricken by murders in the Atlanta area, where a white man killed eight people. Of the seven women whose lives he stole, six were Asian American. We are outraged by the words of the sheriff’s captain, that the killer was “having a really bad day,” to justify a deadly expression of white supremacist misogyny and focus on the murderer rather than his victims. We hold to the light the loves and labors of each life taken and recognize current violence as rooted in long, intertwined histories of sexism, racism, and imperialism at home and abroad—not as the isolated actions of a white man having a bad day.

Anti-Asian violence runs deep beneath the veneer of the “model minority myth” here in the Pacific Northwest, from the white mob organized by the Knights of Labor that drove Chinese workers from Seattle in 1886 to the attack last month on a Japanese American high school teacher in Seattle’s International District, from the WWII dispossession and incarceration of Japanese Americans who made the International District, Bainbridge Island, and surrounding agricultural lands their home to the recent anti-Asian vandalism targeting a North Seattle church whose daycare center employs immigrant teachers from China. These are also not isolated incidents.

The misogynist targeting of Asian Americans, immigrants, and low-wage and sex workers in Georgia cannot be separated from the first restrictive federal immigration law in the United States, the Page Act of 1875, which denounced the “danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women.” Orientalist fear and fantasy persistently cast Asian women as sexualized, exotic, and docile, while racist policing and labor practices propel ongoing white masculinist violence. Anti-sex-work assaults and raids have continued over almost two centuries to target Asian women even as their labor has been exploited and marginalized. Neither can the current violence be separated from the anti-Asian vitriol of the previous presidential administration that called COVID-19 a Chinese export. This dog whistle relied on longstanding racist rhetoric about immigrant communities, and people of Asian descent specifically, as harboring and spreading disease.

Asians for Black Lives, BIPOC, feminist, and queer movements for solidarity across lines of social difference constructed to keep us apart are committed to dismantling imperialist, white-supremacist, capitalist patriarchy at all levels. We stand in solidarity with those protesting longstanding unaddressed injustices here, across the country, and around the world.