The Department of Cinema and Media Studies stands with UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s recent statement on anti-Asian violence and supports the various resources offered by the UW to our community. In addition to the rise in anti-Asian violence, we must ask UW leadership to speak out against elected officials who inflame the anti-Asian violence under the guise of free speech. At the March 18, 2021 US House of Representatives hearing on anti-Asian violence and discrimination, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) not only paired justice with lynching, but also noted, “My concern about this hearing is that it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric in a free society, free speech, and away from the rule of law and taking out bad guys.” From there, Rep. Roy launched into an attack on the Chinese government, “What they are doing to undermine our national security, and what they are doing to steal our intellectual property, and what they are doing to rattle throughout the Pacific, I think it’s patently evil and deserving of condemnation.” Rep. Roy is aligning his speech with other anti-Asian statements made by the former President citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the “China Virus” and “Kung Flu.”
As an institution of higher learning, it is important for us as educators to not only condemn the targeting of Asians under the guise of protecting free speech, but also make our community understand that this scapegoating of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Americans has been going on since the 19th century, resulting in the passage of anti-Asian laws, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, alien land laws, restrictive immigration laws, anti-miscegenation laws, the incarceration of Japanese Americans in WWII, and many more local level racist laws.
The UW is home to large population of Asian and Asian American students, staff, and faculty. We ask that UW leadership commit to the protection of this community and to build trust by speaking out against the violence and those who inflame the racist attacks with their “free speech.”
- UW President Ana Mari Cauce’s Statement and UW Resources for students and staff: https://www.washington.edu/president/2021/03/12/xenophobia-hurts-us-all/
- Department of American Ethnic Studies Statement and Resources for students and staff: https://aes.washington.edu/news/2021/03/03/aes-statement-against-anti-asian-american-and-pacific-islander-violence
Submitted by Professor Shawn Wong, March 18, 2021