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Anti-racism Resources

This guide is a starting point for members of the Fitchburg State University community seeking information and resources to learn about anti-racism, white privilege, and inclusion.

Statement of Support & Solidarity

To our Asian and Asian-American students, faculty, staff, and community members,

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened a long history of anti-Asian racism in this country. We seek to shine a light on this longstanding history of racism and race-based violence enacted towards the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities nationally and globally.

As we remember the lives of those taken in Atlanta, know that we recognize your pain and fear from this and the many other targeted acts of violence. The murders of eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent, is horrific and yet not an isolated hate crime. 

We strongly condemn the perpetuation of racist, xenophobic, and sexist stereotypes. We stand in solidarity with you against the rise of hate speech and crimes. We are commited to battling discrimination, xenophobia, and white supremacy, while working to ensure the Library is a welcoming, safe space for all. 

If you need support please reach out to Fitchburg State Counseling Services by calling 978-665-3152, or by sending an email to counselingscheduler@fitchburgstate.edu. 

To learn more about Asian-American experiences, stereotyping and xenophobia, go to the library’s Anti-Asian Violence guide. 

The Staff of the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library

COVID-19 Pandemic Related Violence

     

Xenophobia

Defined as a fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign (Merriam-Webster, 2021), xenophobia describes attitudes, prejudices and behavior that reject, exclude and often vilify persons, based on the perception that they are outsiders or foreigners to the community, society or national identity (International Labour Office, 2001)

Pandemics & Xenophobia

Disease and Virus Naming Conventions

In 2015 the World Health Organization issued disease naming conventions that focus on descriptive terms, based on the symptoms that the disease causes (e.g. respiratory disease), as well as any more specific descriptive terms, such as age of onset (e.g. juvenile), how it manifests (e.g. progressive, acute, etc.) and the pathogen (e.g. influenza virus, coronavirus, etc.).  Descriptive terms that should be avoided are those that specify geographic location (e.g. Spanish Flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, etc.), as well as racial, ethnic, national, or cultural references (ex: Wuhan or Chinese Coronavirus). 

Coronavirus and the Racist History of Pandemics

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News Sources: Anti-Asian Sentiment & COVID-19

Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters

History of Anti-Asian Violence

History of Anti-AAPI Violence and Discrimination

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Web Resources: 

Library Books & Book Chapters: 

Kurashige, L. (2016). Chronology. In Two Faces of Exclusion: The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States (pp. Xix-Xxii). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

The end of open borders in the United states started with the first immigration laws in the late 19th Century that focused on limiting and prohibiting the entry of Chinese immigrants.

Page Act of 1875 

Passed March 3, 1875, the Page Act was named after its sponsor, California Representative Horace F. Page (R), who introduced the bill in order to "end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women". The law technically barred immigrants considered "undesirable," defining this as a person from East Asia who was coming to the United States to be a forced laborer, any East Asian woman who would engage in prostitution, and all people considered to be convicts in their own country. 

Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed on  May 6, 1882, was the only U.S. federal law prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. Building on the earlier Page Act of 1875 which banned Chinese women from immigrating to the United States, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first, and remains the only law to have been implemented, to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the United States.

Chinese Couplets: A Family's Journey Though Chinese Exclusion (56 min)

Note: Kanopy Film - FSU login required

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Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters

 

The Chinese Massacre: One of Los Angeles' Worst Atrocities

Vincent Who? The Murder of a Chinese-American Man (41 min)

Note: Kanopy Film - FSU login required

In 1982, at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments arising from massive layoffs in the auto industry, a Chinese-American named Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers. Chin's killers, however, got off with a $3,000 fine and 3 years probation, but no jail time. Outraged by this injustice, Asian Americans around the country united for the first time across ethnic and socioeconomic lines to form a pan-Asian identity and civil rights movement.

Among its significant outcomes, the movement led to the historic broadening of federal civil rights protection to include all people in America regardless of immigrant status or ethnicity.

Vincent Who? explores this important legacy through interviews with the key players at the time as well as a whole new generation of activists whose lives were impacted by Vincent Chin. It also looks at the case in relation to the larger narrative of Asian American history, in such events as Chinese Exclusion, Japanese American Internment in WWII, the 1992 L.A. Riots, anti-Asian hate crimes, and post-9/11 racial profiling.

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Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters

Facts & Figures (Encyclopedia Britannica) 

  • Japanese American internment was the forced relocation by the United States government of approximately 120,000 of Japanese Americans to detention camps during World War II. 
  • Japanese-American Population (at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941):
    • Continental US - ~127,000 Japanese Americans  
      • ~80,000 are Nisei  or second generation, meaning American-born Japanese with U.S. citizenship) and Sansei or third generation, meaning the children of Nisei
      • ~47,000 are Issei, or first generation, meaning immigrants who were born in Japan who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship under U.S. law.
    • Hawaiian Territory - ~200,000 Japanese immigrated to Hawaii
  • February 1942, the U.S. War Department created 12 restricted zones along the Pacific coast and established nighttime curfews for Japanese Americans within them.
  • March 18, 1942 - the federal War Relocation Authority (WRA) was established with the mission to “take all people of Japanese descent into custody, surround them with troops, prevent them from buying land, and return them to their former homes at the close of the war.”

A Bitter Legacy: The Treatment of Japanese Americans During WWI (77 min)

Note: Kanopy Film - FSU login required

This documentary examines issues before, during and after WWII, regarding the treatment of people of Japanese ancestry in America, most of them, American citizens. Many of these forces are still here and have repercussions today worldwide.

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Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters:

 

Representation & Perceptions

The Grace Lee Project: Deconstructing an Asian-American Stereotype (68 mins) 

Note: Kanopy Film - FSU login required

When award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee was growing up in Missouri, she was the only Grace Lee she knew. As an adult, however, she moved to New York and then California, where everyone she met seemed to know "another Grace Lee." But why did they assume that all Grace Lees were nice, dutiful, piano-playing bookworms?

This refreshing film reveals the intriguing contradiction of the "Grace Lee" persona--simultaneously impressive and forgettable, special and generic, an emblem of a subculture and an individual who defies categorization. With wit and charm, The Grace Lee Project challenges the cultural investments made in the idea of Grace Lee, all the while sending her a love letter.

The Slanted Screen: Hollywood’s Representation of Asian Men in Film & Television (55 min)

Note: Kanopy Film - FSU login required

From silent film star Sessue Hayakawa to Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle, The Slanted Screen explores the portrayals of Asian men in American cinema, chronicling the experiences of actors who have had to struggle against ethnic stereotyping and limiting roles. The film presents a critical examination of Hollywood's image-making machine, through a fascinating parade of 50 film clips spanning a century.

Winner of the Best Short Documentary award at the NY International Independent Film & Video film festival, The Slanted Screen envisions a new, exciting future in the entertainment industry, where the diversity of our culture and society is fully recognized and represented.

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Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters:

 

 

 

Yellow Peril

The "Yellow Peril", also called Yellow Fear, Yellow Terror and the Yellow Specter, is a racist, skin color-based metaphor that seeks to portray East Asian peoples as an existential danger to the Western world. Yellow Peril imagery cast Asians as exotic perils to white society, representing a potential economic, military, and social threat. (Cortés, 2013)

“Yellow Peril” and Anti-Asian Prejudice in the Shadow of Coronavirus

Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters:

Racial Fetishization as taking a sexual desire towards someone for their ‘exotic’ physical and cultural attributes they possess, specific to their race group. For example, skin, physical features, cultural practices and so on (Vera, n.d.).

Yellow Fever is the derogatory term used to describe an fetish for Asian, in particular Asian women, which is rooted in the stereotypes of Asian women being subservient, passive, and quiet, while also exotic and seductive (Chang, 2006), creating a trope of the hypersexual but docile Asian woman (Ramirez, 2021). 

Slaying the Dragon - Media Stereotypes of Asian & Asian American Women (59 min)

Note: Kanopy Film - FSU login required

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Library Resources: Books & Book Chapters:

 

Model Minority is a term that has been used predominately in the United States to identify a minority demographic (whether based on ethnicity, race or religion) whose members are perceived to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success (education, income, profession, etc), especially when compared to other minority groups. 

Model minority is often applied to Asian Americans, who, as a group, are often praised for apparent success across academic, economic, and cultural domains—successes typically offered in contrast to the perceived achievements of other racial group. 

Model Minority Myth

The concept of the model minority is built on positive stereotypes of a particular ethnic group, for example Asians work hard and are good at math. While these characterizations of an entire grouping of people may seem positive and therefore not harmful, the use of stereotypes erases the differences among individuals. This myth overlooks the fact that Asian Americans are a diverse group of people, with unique cultures, backgrounds, and aspirations. 

Why Do We Call Asian Americans The Model Minority? 

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