How to be an ally against anti-Asian hate

APIA and SASA members discuss allyship and the fight against anti-Asian hate. Photo courtesy of @APIAbutler and @ButlerSASA.  

EMMA QUASNY | ASSISTANT CULTURE EDITOR | equasny@butler.edu

In the past year, anti-Asian hate has increased exponentially — spiking 150% in the United States. Despite the recent rise in anti-Asian sentiments, brought on by hate crime after hate crime, this hate is not new. Now, the senseless violence has led to a general awareness from the public by hosting rallies and protests to help educate those who are not as attentive to what is happening. 

APIA and SASA response

Butler student organizations like Asian & Pacific Islander Alliance, APIA, and Southern Asian Student Association, SASA, aim to educate the Butler community on Asian and South Asian cultures. In light of the recent anti-Asian hate crimes, these organizations are bringing awareness to Asian hate throughout the Butler community. 

Lauren Glenn, a junior strategic communication major and the president for APIA, said she feels frustrated that it took so long for people to recognize the violence and hate against Asian cultures. 

“It’s been very upsetting,” Glenn said. “The unfortunate piece of it I think is that many of us in the APIA community saw it coming, and we’ve been talking about it for a while before it becomes mainstream news… I remember at the beginning of the semester or even at the beginning of COVID, we were putting out statements and doing a little bit of more research and I guess it’s not surprising, it’s just sad that it took this national tragedy for it to become talked about.”

Members from both APIA and SASA agree that it is disheartening to see hate received by Asian people, because of the blaming of Asian people for COVID-19, and due to larger-scale cultural differences.

Targeted crime

In the recent anti-Asian hate crimes that have been happening over the last several weeks, many have been targeted towards elders and women, who are typically selfless caregivers in Asian culture, according to Glenn. 

“It’s really important to talk about [Asian hate], especially since the people being targeted are mainly our elders and women who in our culture, for many of us, are the ones that make themselves smaller to accommodate other people,” Glenn said. “That felt especially pointed because these people lived to help others and accommodate others… and so the silence surrounding felt especially loud because that’s how a lot of East Asian, Southeast Asian cultures handle issues — we don’t talk about it — so I guess that’s how I’ve responded to it by talking about it.”

Aubrie Chiu, a senior health science major and one of the presidents of SASA, said there is a lot of misunderstanding between white and Asian cultures, which she believes sparks hate crimes. 

Similar to the term “glass ceiling” for women and other historically oppressed groups, Chiu said there is the term “bamboo ceiling” that refers to the barriers that serve to exclude Asians and Asian-Americans from certain privileged other minority groups. Furthermore, Glenn said it is crucial to pay attention to who specifically these anti-Asian hate crimes are being geared towards.

“I feel like historically Asian people have kinda kept to ourselves so that’s why we didn’t really cause any issues,” Chiu said. “[My dad and I] talked about maybe the issue was that we stayed to ourself [too much]; we never really assimilated, and then because we never really intermingled there’s all these issues and a lack of understanding between all these groups and with white supremacy. [I think] that’s important to think about.” 

Become an ally

SASA works closely with APIA to raise awareness to the Butler community about these issues by promoting and collaborating with their events. 

Emma Weigand, a first-year marketing major who is the co-first year chair of APIA, said Butler students and the general public can become allies against Asian hate and white supremacy by speaking up rather than being a bystander. 

“If you hear any sort of anti-Asian sentiment you need to definitely speak up,” Weigand said. “That’s the one big issue, that no one is willing to speak up… if they hear anything, they most likely won’t [speak up] out of fear that they are going to be criticized.”

On March 27, a rally was held in Indianapolis at Monument Circle in order to raise awareness against anti-Asian violence. Weigand said protests are a good way to get the general public educated, recognize these issues happening all around us and advocate for change. 

Glenn agreed that the best way to become an ally against Asian hate is by speaking out and showing your support for the Asian communities. 

“It’s really important to listen to what that community is saying first and amplify their message,” Glenn said. “If you see someone saying something off-color that’s being inappropriate if you see someone acting in a way that is perpetuating anti-Asian sentiments or hate, it’s always great to step in whatever way you can. The biggest issue that has been happening with the rise in Anti-Asian hate attacks is the most hurtful part, [that] a lot of people will just watch it and not help who’s being attacked, which is painful to the community as well.” 

 To learn more about these Asian organizations on campus, visit them on Instagram @apia_butler and @butlersasa.

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