Dear YC Community:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic murder of eight people in Atlanta last week. It is heartbreaking that six of the victims were women of Asian descent. We extend our support to the Asian American community during this painful time.
While last week’s attacks were disturbing, violence against the Asian American community is not new, and has long historical roots in this country. In fact, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Asian Americans have been affected by increased aggression due to rising xenophobia. And anti-Asian bias is often overlooked in discussions about racial discrimination. Disrupting stereotypes, such as the model minority myth, is critical to understanding the complex ways in which systemic racism impacts the Asian American community.
For all of us at Youth Communication, this moment is a stark reminder of our mission to serve as a megaphone for young people—to ensure their voices are heard through their stories.
To that end, I’d like to re-share Christina Li’s powerful story, “From Feeling Safe to Feeling Like a Stereotype.” We hope that stories like Christina’s lead to constructive dialogue about how Asian Americans experience racism, and help educators provide a safe space for everyone.
After believing I was unseen for most of my life, I’m in an unwanted spotlight
By Christina Li
In early March 2020, people at school started talking about COVID-19. Despite the rise in fear and anxiety, public schools had remained open and I still attended my classes. On my train ride to school just two hours before, I had watched videos on my phone of assaults on Asian Americans. They showed up all over my Instagram feed, with language like “Asian people deserve this,” and “Who told Chinese people to go around eating bats? Now there’s a virus going around and it’s all their fault.”
I put my phone away, wanting a break from the racism. Then I noticed the man sitting next to me shifting uncomfortably in his seat. When I looked at him, he quickly got up and walked to the other end of the car.