Professor Hae Yeon Choo has been active in bringing awareness to anti-Asian violence in the academic community. Professor Choo recently co-authored an op-ed on Inside Higher Ed entitled ‘Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in the University’, co-organized and moderated the community roundtable ‘Anti-Asian Racism and Intersectional Violence’, an event sponsored by UofT Women & Gender Studies Institute, and participated in ‘Combatting Anti-Asian Violence’, a panel discussion at the University of Chicago.
Professor Choo and Professor Robert Diaz’ (Women and Gender Studies Institute, UofT) co-authored op-ed ‘Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in the University’ recognizes that anti-Asian racism has long been an issue at many North American institutions and recent statements condemning anti-Asian racism is not enough to combat the deeply engrained racism within these institutions. The article provides key steps that Universities need to take in order to truly combat anti-Asian racism.
We’ve included an excerpt of the op-ed below. Read the full article on Inside Higher Ed here.
Professor Choo recently co-organized the community roundtable ‘Anti-Asian Racism and Intersectional Violence’ at the University of Toronto. Video of this event can be found here.
The College of Global Studies at the University of Chicago recently held a panel discussion on ‘Combatting Anti-Asian Violence’. Professor Choo participated on this panel. Video of this discussion can be found here.
Except from on Inside Higher Ed.
Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in the University
Official statements condemning it ring hollow if they don’t, in fact, stop the anti-Asian racism that already exists within many of these institutions, argue Robert Diaz and Hae Yeon Choo.
In light of the recent shootings in Atlanta that targeted Asian women, and the rise of xenophobic racism against Asian Americans and Asian Canadians during COVID, universities have released statements condemning anti-Asian racism. As immigrants who grew up in South Korea and the Philippines, the Atlanta shootings remind us of how Asian marginalization within and beyond North America shares intersecting histories.
Those histories include depictions of Asian Americans and Asian Canadians as “perpetual foreigners” or “model minorities” in order to conveniently gloss over complex practices of belonging and our diversity as a group. They also include the effects of colonialism and militarism on our respective countries, where white supremacy takes on different but equally dehumanizing forms. When understood through such histories, the Atlanta tragedy not only exposes the classed, gendered and sexualized violence that placed Asian women in harm’s way, but it also points to structural conditions that dictate the pathways that economically precarious immigrants must negotiate as they perform low-wage labor into their later years.
Mindful of those intersections, we see official university statements condemning anti-Asian racism as ringing hollow if they don’t, in fact, stop the anti-Asian racism that already exists, from its most mundane to its most systemic forms, within many of these same institutions. Anti-Asian racism can only be countered when the university values the diverse knowledges, histories and lived experiences that Asian community members bring. While the microaggressions and structural issues we point out pale in comparison to the violence wrought in Atlanta, we nonetheless see the crucial role that universities play in producing social transformation. With that goal in mind, we offer a list of suggestions to counter anti-Asian racism.