Asian-Americans have recently found themselves in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Scapegoating and anti-Asian rhetoric surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic preceded a rise in anti-Asian violence in everyday America. While community organizers and activists warned of the predictable cause-and-effect between the two, many view the recent spike of violence as discrete, random, and non-systemic. This panel discussion will attempt to dispel the notion that any upward trend in stereotyping or hate crimes happens in isolation, and without social and political roots. It will address the Asian-American community’s long, complicated history as “others” in American society – dating back to the 19th century when xenophobia laid the groundwork for Asian fetishization and dehumanization. These social biases were eventually codified into law. The panel will also address how this experience overlaps heavily with that of the LGBTQ community who, before recent gains, were negatively associated with vice, hyper-sexualization, and immorality – all of which were used to justify sodomy laws and marriage bans. Finally, the panelists will share their first-hand experiences breaking down barriers and promoting workplace equity, emphasizing the importance of being an ally and why they personally have become one.
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