Race and Ethnic Studies

Joint Statement Condemning Anti-Asian/AAPI Hate and White Supremacy

From: Asian Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies, RACE/GSS Steering Committee, and Race Matters

We name and condemn the white supremacist, heteronormative, sexualized violence at the root of the gunman’s killing spree in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17 2021. We grieve with the families and loved ones of the eight slain victims whose names are Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, 33; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Paul Andre Michels, 54; and Daoyou Feng, 44; and we extend our sorrow and care to Elcias Hernandez Ortiz, 30, who was wounded and survived.

We denounce attempts to whitewash these horrific acts as “not racially motivated” or to split hairs among race, gender, class, and sexuality, when crosshairs locked on to Asian/AAPI women working in low-paying, physically vulnerable jobs during a pandemic. Targeting six Asian/AAPI women as the source of an armed white man’s “sex addiction” and killing them as “the cure” are fundamentally acts of white supremacy and Anti-Asian misogyny with long histories in U.S. anti-immigration policy and the U.S military occupation of Asian and Southeast Asian countries.

Painfully, the women’s deaths add to the drastic surge in Anti-Asian/AAPI hate caused by the racialization of COVID-19 as a “China Virus”–a phrase symptomatic of U.S. bipartisan fear of China’s increasing global influence. And tragically, only now after their deaths, is the bipartisan silence in response to Anti-Asian/AAPI hate appearing to break. Even so, talking about hate without naming white supremacy gives it cover.

We call upon St. Olaf College and the St. Olaf community to name and hold white supremacy accountable. Its hate toward Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders cannot be separated from its Anti-Blackness and the intersecting ways that it dehumanizes, exploits, and destroys Black and brown bodies to perpetuate systemic racism; nor can it be understood without transnational attention to its global militarisms and dispossession of indigenous peoples from their lands. We stand in solidarity with all those who are doing the work to name and dismantle white supremacy everywhere.

March 22, 2021