On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, eight people were fatally shot in Georgia, including six Asian women who were targeted because of their race, ethnicity, and gender. The Executive Committee of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing bears witness to the white terrorism1 and anti-Asian racism and misogyny that led to the senseless mass murders of Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun, and Yong Ae Yue. We invoke their names as an acknowledgment of their lives and legacies.
These deaths came on the same day that Stop AAPI Hate2 released its 2020-2021 report3 that covers 3,795 incidents of hate received by the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center. Though the number of hate incidents against the Asian community is underreported, this and other studies show a steep incline. According to California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, data reveals an increase of 149% in hate crimes against Asian Americans in 2020 compared to 2019, with Asian American women twice as likely to be targeted.
Despite this spike, Anti-Asian racism is not new in the U.S., nor is the trauma that results. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, forced displacement and migration due to U.S.-led military conflicts in Asia, post-9/11 U.S. surveillance targeting Muslim and South East Asian communities, ICE raids on Asian-owned businesses, and more have influenced present-day anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes. A lack of awareness about the historical and contemporary oppression against Asian communities only contributes to the intergenerational trauma Asians experience and the anti-Asian rhetoric others are taught and reproduce.
Make no mistake: language matters, and how we talk about people matters. We condemn anti-Asian racism. It puts our colleagues, our students, our friends, and our families at risk. Non-Asians have a duty to redress anti-Asian racism in our organizations, institutions, and communities. ATTW is committed to this work, and we understand that countering anti-Asian racism requires coalitional action and active, collective dismantling of the white supremacist structures and values that uphold and sponsor the hate that has been directed at Asian communities across our nation and across the globe.
We call on ourselves, members, colleagues, and friends to:
- Learn more about the history of and ongoing racism and oppression perpetuated against Asian communities
- Learn more about the history of U.S.-Asia relations and how the U.S.’s role in global conflicts has affected Asian migration and displacement
- Learn more about U.S. e-waste management practices and how they impact the health of global Asian communities
- Recognize that Anti-Asian discrimination and violence disproportionately affects women, elders, non-binary, transgender, and gender non-conforming people
- Support Asian-led organizations in their endeavors to fight white supremacy and advance justice
- Donate to and volunteer for organizations that are working with and for Asian communities
- Learn and practice how to pronounce Asian names accurately
- Participate in bystander trainings that are localized to intervening in Anti-Asian racism
- Advocate for and practice inclusion of Asian-centric histories and rhetorics in educational contexts.
This list of pro-Asian tasks isn’t exhaustive. We invite those who desire to be considered allies and accomplices to Asian people and communities to do more research and acquire cultural literacies that will better position us to redress anti-Asian racism in our spheres of influence.
Angela Haas, President
Natasha Jones, Vice President
Michelle Eble, Past President, Interim Treasurer
Laura Gonzales, Member at Large, ATTW 2021 Conference Program Co-chair
Ann Shivers-McNair, ATTW 2021 Conference Program Co-chair
Ann Blakeslee, ATTW Fellow, Past Treasurer
Michele Simmons, Past President
Han Yu, Member at Large
Kristen Moore, Member at Large
Bill Hart-Davidson, Secretary
Rebecca Walton, Technical Communication Quarterly Editor
Tharon Howard, ATTW Book Series Editor
1. White terrorism is white supremacy that manifests as acts of terrorism against racial and ethnic minorities. Though often perpetrated by white people, these acts of hate can be committed by anyone who targets racial and ethnic minorities and their communities in white-dominated cultures.
2. Stop AAPI Hate is a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic. It was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department.
3. Jeung, Yellow Horse, Popovic, & Lim. (2021). Stop AAPI Hate National Report, 3/19/20-2/28/21.