Pan-Asianism & Black Power
Asian Women's Organizing
Not only were Asian women sidelined in the AAM, but they were have also been marginalized in the women's movement. Mitsuye Yamada, author of “Asian Pacific American Women and Feminism,” writes about the disappointment and invisibility many Asian Pacific American women have felt towards the women’s movement. Issues important to Euro American feminists have not always included issues important to and perspectives of Asian Pacific American women. Yamada examines that women of color are often made to feel they have to choose between ethnicity and gender, and she argues the two are not at war with each other, so Asian Pacific American women should not have to choose one or the other. Barbara Ryan, author of Identity Politics in the Women's Movement, quotes Yamada:
Asian Pacific American women will not speak out to say what we have on our minds until we feel secure within ourselves that this is our home too, and until our white sisters indicate by their actions that they want to join us in our struggle because it is theirs also...We need to raise our voices a little more, even as they say to us ‘This is so uncharacteristic of you.’ To fully recognize our own invisibility is to finally be on the path towards visibility.
Millenial Amanda Nguyen, a civil rights activist and founder of RISE, a non-profit organization protecting the rights of sexual assault victims, has raised her voice to call attention to and make visible the violence against the AAPI community. Nguyen exercised her agency through her Instagram social media post in February 2021 which attracted more than 3 million views within 24 hours. In her post, she called out the anti-Asian backlash and increase of hate crimes (150% increase nationwide!) affecting AAPI communities in the U.S in 2020 and 2021, which has been virtually ignored by the mainstream press. In turn, Nguyen's activism has caused the mainstream media to cover Nguyen's plea for voices and issues of the AAPI community to be raised.
Asian American Activism Today
As more recent immigration laws have again added complexity to the Asian American population by bringing less educated, working class or poor Asian immigrants to the U.S., we have also seen the rise of neoliberal globalization policies such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) that favor corporate interests and deregulation. These changes mean that those new migrants and the majority of Asian workers globally, especially women, are laboring under substandard working conditions and being compelled to compete for the most debasing, lowest-paying jobs. This state of affairs has mobilized activists in a reinvigorated labor movement that is international and spans industries. A new generation of activists that are putting poor immigrant and refugee Asian women at the forefront of organizing efforts with a global and intersectional lens is rising up.
Many native Hawaiians resist being labeled "American" as they feel their islands were stolen from them and that the overthrow of the last Hawaiian ruler Queen Lili'uokalani and the ensuing annexation were illegal. There is an ongoing fight for Hawaiian sovereignty, self-determination, and self-governance. Sovereignty advocates have attributed problems plaguing native communities including homelessness, poverty, economic marginalization, and the erosion of native traditions to the lack of native governance and political self-determination (Trask, 2000).
- Asian Americans are diverse and all have different push and pull factors that brought them to the United States
- Pacific Islanders are indigenous to their homelands and can be understood as colonized peoples.
- Asian Americans have often formed ethnic enclaves which provide economic opportunities and entry points to U.S. society for immigrants.
- The U.S. has a long history of discrimination and othering Asian Americans as the "yellow peril" and that continues to be reflected in COVID-19 related hate crimes.
- The model minority myth is a stereotype and is reductive of the diverse experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- Religious affiliation has helped immigrant Asian Americans adjust to life in the U.S.
- LGBTQ+ Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders face double minority status and can feel isolated in their experience.
- Many Asian Americans who arrived as refugees continue to rely on public assistance, highlighting the need to recognize the diversity in Asian American experiences.
- Asian Americans have some of the highest rates of marrying someone else outside of their own ethnic group among racial/ethnic minorities.
- There is a long history of Asian American and Pacific Islander resistance to oppression in and by the U.S. as well as movements of multiracial solidarity.