Solidarity with Asian Americans: Words Are Not Enough
On March 16, 2021, a 21-year-old white man murdered eight people at three Atlanta-area massage parlors, six of whom were Asian immigrant women: Daoyou Feng, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim, Soon C. Park, Xiaojie Tan, and Yong A. Yue. AAUP-Penn condemns anti-Asian violence and all forms of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, and it stands in solidarity with Asian and Asian American communities at Penn and everywhere. The white supremacist rhetoric and policies of the former Trump administration have incited a torrent of intimidation, bullying, assault, and murder of countless Asian American women and men. At the same time, these attacks are grounded in long histories of anti-immigration discrimination, scapegoating, and hate. To make things worse, racial violence against Asian Americans is systematically rendered invisible: mainstream society consistently refuses to acknowledge racism against Asian Americans even when it is in plain sight to see.
We mourn the tragic loss of Asian American lives in Atlanta, even as we celebrate our Asian American activists and leaders who have been at the forefront of anti-racist and revolutionary action. We demand that the Penn Administration support Asian American and ethnic studies through the programmatic hiring of many more faculty and staff in these critical areas of thought. We demand that the Penn administration increase the scarce course offerings in Asian American and ethnic studies at the University at least to match those of our peer institutions. While we appreciate the Administration’s recent statement about being “proud of the myriad contributions of our Asian community” at Penn, words are not enough. Unless the University commits material resources to an anti-racist pedagogy, and unless it offers an equitable curriculum to its underserved Asian American and BIPOC communities, long histories of white supremacy and racism cannot be fully recognized, let alone undone.