Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed on this piece are solely these of the authors.
During a Republican discussion board final Wednesday, Texas congressional candidate and former Trump official Sery Kim made racist remarks about Chinese immigrants. “I don’t want them here at all,” she stated. “They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable.”
These feedback are straight out of Trump’s playbook. They’re false, xenophobic, and used for reasonable political factors. They’re additionally grotesquely irresponsible at a time when focused violence in opposition to the Asian American neighborhood is at a terrifying excessive, largely on account of rhetoric like this.
Kim justified that rhetoric by including, “Quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean.”
That final half. As a Korean American and lifelong Texan, listening to Kim justify her absurd statements together with her Koreanness crammed me with rage. When it involves anti-Asian racism, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re Korean or Chinese. To our attackers, all of us have the identical international faces. How might she say one thing so inconsiderate and harmful, so divisive? But Kim gave the impression to be laboring beneath the delusion that pandering to conservative voters would give her energy that her white GOP counterparts get pleasure from.
It provides me no pleasure to say that she was proved flawed in essentially the most vitriolic manner. Her speech went viral, and he or she has since been met with violent, racist messages on-line. Nobody deserves to be subjected to such remedy, however I can’t say that I’m shocked. Throwing her fellow Asian Americans beneath the bus didn’t save her from racism or endear her to white America. In addition to turning into the goal of hateful trolls, Kim has been completely criticized by the Korean American neighborhood and misplaced the endorsement of two Republican congresswomen of Korean descent.
Kim has since responded to the backlash, “I am shocked that in an effort to counter Asian-American hate the liberal media is targeting me, an Asian and an immigrant, in an effort to paint me as anti-Asian and anti-immigrant just for speaking against the oppressive Chinese Communist Party.”
This is wealthy. We know the distinction between critiques of the Chinese authorities and racist feedback about Chinese folks, and Kim’s feedback on the discussion board have been explicitly about Chinese immigrants. She denigrated Chinese individuals who come to reside right here. Her authentic feedback had nothing to do with the CCP, as she now claims. But even when they did, it’s price analyzing why she is so fixated on China when our personal authorities didn’t adequately tackle the pandemic, resulting in 555,000 preventable deaths, and completely deserted us throughout winter storm Uri, the fallout from which many Texans are nonetheless struggling.
Kim is just not alone in her fear mongering about China. It is pervasive on this nation and inseparable from the violence Asian individuals are experiencing. It can also be not new – Asian immigrants have lengthy been used as scapegoats for America’s issues, and our dehumanization has been leveraged to fabricate consent for imperialist and racist wars fought in our international locations of origin. What Kim appears to overlook is that hatred towards one group of Asians leads to persecution towards us all. During World War II, Chinese and Korean Americans mistaken for Japanese Americans have been assaulted, regardless of carrying buttons that learn “I am Chinese” and “Korean American.” I used to be reminded of this final yr once I noticed on-line ads for shirts that learn “I’m [insert ethnicity here], not Chinese,” as stories of anti-Asian assaults rose sharply at the start of the pandemic. Such misguided efforts at self-protection are mirrored in Kim’s indignation at being referred to as Chinese by racist trolls within the wake of her Wednesday feedback.
Kim’s remarks can have just about no impression on the CCP or on U.S.-China relations, however they are going to positively add gas to a fireplace that does actual hurt to Asians living in America. This rhetoric incites violence. This is just not a hypothetical – we’ve got a yr’s price of tragic proof demonstrating how such feedback from public officers embolden folks to assault us. Kim misses the purpose of what it means to be Asian American, at the same time as she wields that time period in her statements. We are a particularly various group, as Asian folks on this nation are divided by nationality, technology, class, and immigration standing. But our fates are tied collectively by the truth that right here, we’re racialized in the identical manner. We are handled as perpetual foreigners, and no matter acceptance we achieve from our white neighbors is conditional and could be revoked on the drop of a hat. Proximity to whiteness won’t save us. The solely factor that can save us is our solidarity with each other.
About the Author: Jeana Nam is a Korean American graduate scholar and reproductive justice advocate in Houston, Texas.
Feature Image through Sery Kim
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