Statement Against Anti-Asian and Anti-AAPI Violence
May 17, 2021
i. The clearly stated purpose and rationale
The American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) strongly denounces the growth in violence against members of Asian and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the United States, as well as in other countries. Asians and Asian Americans are now more likely to encounter race-based verbal or physical attacks, and one in every four Asian Americans is experiencing fear of race-based threat or violence in the US (Pew Research Center, 2020). Simultaneously, AAPI communities continue to struggle for visibility and audibility, as the vast majority (72%) of Asian Americans feel little support from others in society (ibid). Our fight against anti-AAPI discrimination should be a part of larger efforts to dismantle the undercurrents of racism and xenophobia that fuel symbolic and physical violence.
ii. The issue’s importance to the field as a whole
AAAL is a professional organization built upon the goal of bettering the lives of individuals and conditions in society through an improved understanding of language-related issues. We, as applied linguists, affirm diversity and promote equity and justice through our individual and collective work. AAAL has previously voiced its support for Asian and AAPI scholars; in 2020 it endorsed the U.S. House Resolution 908 to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19. However, anti-Asian sentiment has since continued to grow. The languages, knowledge, and experiences of Asian and AAPI communities have greatly contributed to the field of applied linguistics. AAAL must speak out against anti-Asian and anti-AAPI racism.
iii. The issue’s importance to the general public
Asian and AAPI communities are no strangers to anti-Asian sentiment; they have endured discriminatory events such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Japanese internment during WWII. The dehumanizing rhetoric prevalent in recent years has reignited the historically rooted anti-Asian sentiment (Lyman, 2000; McIntosh & Mendoza-Denton, 2020). As an organization that understands the power of speech and language, AAAL reaffirms its strong opposition to all forms of racial and gender-based discrimination, xenophobia, and violence.
iv. Where relevant, a brief summary of related representative research findings
Statistics show a deeply concerning trend of anti-AAPI violence in the U.S. The advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate (2021) received reports of 3,292 incidents that occurred in 2020, and 503 incidents that occurred in 2021 as of February 28, 2021. Incident reports come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Women report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men; and Chinese are the largest ethnic group (42.2%) that report experiencing hate, followed by Koreans (14.8%), Vietnamese (8.5%), and Filipinos (7.9%). The number of hate incidents reported represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur, and yet it shows the extent to which anti-Asian violence has grown across the U.S. over the past year. We should note as well that, although this statement focuses on recent U.S-centered violence, such incidents are not limited to the U.S.
Lyman, S. M. (2000). The "yellow peril" mystique: Origins and vicissitudes of a racist discourse. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 13(4), 683-747.
McIntosh, J., & Mendoza-Denton, N. (2020). Language in the Trump era: Scandals and emergencies. Cambridge University Press.
Pew Research Center (2020). Many Black, Asian Americans say they have experienced discrimination amid coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/07/01/many-black-and-asian-americans-say-they-have-experienced-discrimination-amid-the-covid-19-outbreak/
Stop AAPI Hate (2021). Stop AAPI Hate National Report. Retrieved from https://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/a1w.90d.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/210312-Stop-AAPI-Hate-National-Report-.pdf
i. Recommendations for distribution and/or leverage in order to ensure maximum constructive impact on public opinion
Stop Asian hate. Stand against racism. We stand in solidarity with other professional organizations that have released similar statements to condemn anti-Asian and anti-AAPI violence: