Some Americans live comfortably and unconsciously understanding that their behaviors, attitudes and utterances are supported by systems that will judge and treat them fairly. These individuals do not fear that their existence threatens other individuals and communities. They do not fear that their appearance and intentions will ever be questioned. They do not need to. The institutions and structures of the society have been designed for their use and comfort. They do not have to be aware of the systems in which they exist.
In contrast to this, people from Asia and the Pacific Rim have been the target of racial discrimination in this country for more than 170 years. Beginning in the mid-19th century, their arrival was termed an ‘Asian Invasion,’ provoking hundreds of documented hate crimes against Asians. Included in the hate campaign was the portrayal of Asian women, especially Chinese women, as prostitutes. As Yasmin Tayag points out in her March 28, 2021 article in Medium, “White American officials believed that Chinese women had to be vetted before immigrating to the US because they ‘tended to be prostitutes.’” As a result, in 1875, Congress passed the Page Act to prevent “any subject of China, Japan, or any Oriental country” from entering the United States “for lewd and immoral purposes.” Even worse, seven years later, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act that banned immigration by all Chinese people. It was the first federal law governing immigration and it was entirely race-based. After that, the Immigration Act of 1917 banned immigration from all countries in or near Asia and the Middle East.
The legacy of this shameful history lives on today. It is seen when some Americans, following the example set by powerful and influential leaders, physically and verbally attack Asians they presume to be Chinese, who they falsely blame for the Covid-19 pandemic. Most recently, it is seen in the murders of six Asian women in Atlanta. The Anti-Racism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey condemns these acts. Our mission is to advocate for and assist people and communities who are failed by the racist systems and institutions that target them instead of supporting and protecting them.
The New Jersey Episcopal Diocese anti-racists stand in solidarity with our Asian siblings and against individuals and groups who threaten and mistreat any of us. Our goal is to achieve just and fair systems and institutions. Join us as we teach the history of racism, expose continued unequal treatment and share stories about the everyday impact of racist systems and institutions.
Stop Asian Hate.