“A litany of lament.” That’s what Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, and his colleagues saw when they launched a website for Asian Americans to report incidents of anti-Asian hate and discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeung, who founded the platform Stop Anti-Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, spoke at Northeastern University on Monday as part of a new lecture series exploring the troubling rise in anti-Asian bigotry sweeping the country. The wave of hate and xenophobia has been fueled by, among other things, rhetoric used by former president Donald Trump, and repeated by other politicians, blaming the pandemic on China, Jeung said.
But Asian American racism is not a new phenomenon. It has been present throughout our national history, Jeung said, stretching all the way back to the late 19th century when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 amid widespread paranoia that Chinese immigrants were displacing white American workers.