A Statement from the Asian Studies Advisory Committee

by kwheele4 on April 15, 2021


A Statement from the Asian Studies Advisory Committee

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

Over the past year, acts of harassment and violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have risen at an alarming rate. According to the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, there have been nearly 3,800 bias incidents in the past year, ranging from verbal abuse and shunning to assault and murder. In San Francisco, Vicha Ratanapakdee was slammed to the ground by a random assailant; he later died of his injuries. Just this weekend, five AAPI New Yorkers were assaulted in separate incidents, including a 54-year-old woman who was struck in the face with a metal pipe. And last Tuesday in Georgia, Robert Aaron Long murdered eight people: Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Daoyou Feng, Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, and Suncha Kim. Six of the eight victims are women of Asian descent. So are two-thirds of the victims of this year’s bias incidents.

Sadly, anti-Asian bigotry in the United States has a long history. That history has included state-sponsored racism, such as the Page Act (1875), Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), the Gentlemen’s Agreement (1907), and Japanese-American Incarceration (1942-1946). It has also included racist propaganda and outright violence, especially during times of conflict like the Philippine-American War, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. During the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders who were in the position to advocate for national unity chose instead to sow division, with little care for whether mocking phrases like “Kung Flu” might pour gasoline on an already-raging fire.

The Asian studies program at Providence College condemns in the strongest possible terms this recent surge in acts of harassment and violence against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders. As a college—and as a country—we must stand together against racism and support the AAPI members of our community. As an institution of higher education, PC needs to combat anti-Asian racism through education. We must work harder to incorporate not only Asian, but also Asian-American perspectives into our curriculum. This includes our own program. Asian studies will be adding courses in Asian-American literature and history, with a view towards becoming a program that encompasses Asia and the Asian diaspora.

Racism is a menace, and the struggle against it has more than one front. We cannot Stop Asian Hate unless we are also willing to affirm that Black Lives Matter. We must work—both domestically and around the world—in solidarity with communities that face racialized and gendered violence and are organizing against it. The violence in Georgia and the hate crimes experienced by Asian-American women can only be understood if misogyny and patriarchy are named along with racism and xenophobia. The Asian studies program looks forward to working with the Asian American Association and other campus partners to educate ourselves and work towards dismantling the ignorance and hate that perpetrate anti-Asian bigotry.

The Asian Studies Advisory Committee:

D. Colin Jaundrill, History & Classics (Director) 

Fang Dong, Economics

Susan McCarthy, Political Science

Eric Sung, Art & Art History

Trina Vithayathil, Global Studies 

Chun Ye, English

Bing Huang, Art & Art History

Alex Orquiza, History & Classics

Special thanks to Alex Orquiza for his help with the statement and list of resources.


For Recent Anti-Asian Violence and Harassment:

On the History of Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S.:

For the PC Campus: