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Reflection: Asian Americans in a Multi-Racial/Multi-Religious Democracy

Open Classroom Picture

Fall 2021 Myra Kraft Open Classroom theme "Repairing a Divided America: Race, Hate Crimes, and Reconciliation" this session of the series was co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program as part of the Ruderman Lecture Series.

10/20/2021 | Student Reflection

The Myra Kraft Open Classroom supported in part co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program as part of the Ruderman Lecture Series, with the generous support of the Ruderman Family Foundation featured four speakers: Rabbi Mira Rivera, Professor Philip Thai, Professor Matt Lee, and Professor Lily Song.

The speakers examine racial inequities present in America with a focus on the subjugation of Asian Americans. The speakers highlighted how the issue of racial discrimination is rooted in the history of the education system, economics, immigration policy, internment camps and other gross injustices that are exemplified in the present day, where the spread of covid-19 has led to the increase in hate crimes towards Asian Americans. They tie discriminations towards Asian Americans with the subjugation of other racial and ethnic minorities living in the US. Each speaker shares their personal accounts with identity related grievances living in a racial hegemonic society. The speakers delve into the idea of how Asian Americans have been idealized as the “model minority” which undermines a history of systematic oppression and over-generalizes a population that has a vast array of origins. Identity related grievances are also examined through religion where Rabbi Mira Rivera illustrates her struggles with her two identities, her Asian heritage, and her religious studies of Judaism. A strong thread and call to action that came up with all the speakers was a concentrated effort in forming more intentional Black and Asian and interracial alliances against racism.

Open Classroom Group Picture
Open Classroom Group Picture by Jenna Ory, Jewish Studies Program

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