USA TODAY celebrates the pride of AAPI:The heritage of Asia and the Pacific Islands helps elevate America to what it should be
Florida is home to more than 560,000 people who identify as Asians – which, in many ways, is the one thing that unites a group of Floridians whose families and cultures are so diverse that they can hardly be contained in one single category.
This diversity obscures the Asian-American contributions to Florida history and its economy. It also blurs the visibility of Floridians who are grappling with burdens they shouldn’t have to shoulder alone – thoughtless or targeted acts of racism; lack of access to medical and mental health care; and vulnerability to crime which is often exacerbated by language barriers, cultural blockages and the freakish perception of Asian Americans as “model minorities”.
Division sparks violence
A shocking series of violent attacks in Atlanta has put some of these issues in the national spotlight. This sparked a long overdue wave of discussions and reviews. This shouldn’t go away with the headlines – and there are promising signs it won’t.
Gloria Max d’Ormond Beach:Support for the Asian-American community from others who have experienced the persecution
The Atlanta bombings – shootings against three massage companies that left eight people dead, including six women of Korean and Chinese descent – represented the ugly climax of a year marked by a sharp rise in bias crimes against women. people of Asian descent, especially people perceived as Chinese.
As COVID-19 raged across the world. President Donald Trump’s insistent and ugly reference to the “Chinese virus” has fueled the flames of hatred. But the divisions he revealed are not new, and they will not go away as the pandemic loosens its grip on daily life.
Thursday, President Biden signed the COVID-19 hate crimes law, which includes resources to review all bias-related crimes. This is an important step in the right direction. Many criminologists have long suspected that crimes against Asians are severely underreported in the United States, ranging from domestic violence to widespread and largely ignored human trafficking networks.
Even before the Atlanta shooting, the latter concern was emerging as a concern – sparked by goofy headlines following the 2019 arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, arrested at a massage parlor in Jupiter for prostitution. It is high time for local, state and federal authorities to confront the problem of so-called “mall brothels” masquerading as massage parlors, a problem that Volusia County Councilor Heather Post has, persistently and commendably attracted the attention of the public.
This in-depth review, however, shouldn’t end like the Kraft case did – with everyone escaping the charges except the women spa workers.
A cultural change
As a society, we face a greater challenge. Too many Americans still view Asian Americans through a series of sharply confined stereotypes: women as objects to be fetishized, men as stoic and robotic, children as overachievers.
Combating these misguided views means reaching out, on both sides, to deepen understanding of the vast array of cultural influences embraced by the word ‘Asian’ – which spans people with backgrounds spanning half the globe and over. a dozen nations. China, India, Japan, North and South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines – for many Americans, their knowledge of these cultures begins and ends with their respective cuisines.
We can recommend one source of inspiration to you: as part of its celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Island Heritage Month, our parent publication USA TODAY has assembled a vibrant collection of modern Asian-American voices well worth the read.
Subscribers will also find a Unique Florida story about a DeLand man who helped shape the economy of a young state by acts of what many refer to as “witchcraft”.
You will find a link online, as well as a essay by our own editor, Clayton Park, who reflects on how his Korean and Japanese origins have shaped his life’s experiences – and reflects, with characteristic good humor, on the repetitive expectations that he is good at math (he doesn’t know) kung fu (he doesn’t) and uses chopsticks (not very well.)
“Stop thinking of us as ‘others’. We are Americans and we are human beings, ”Park wrote.
This is a good starting point – and a laudable goal.