Department Statement in Solidarity with Asian and AAPI Communities

We, the members of the Department of Communication community, express our solidarity with the members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in our department, at our university, and in the wider world, and we join those speaking out against anti-Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander racism. We are devastated by the abhorrent acts of violence against AAPI women and others in the recent events in Georgia. We are horrified by the increase in assaults, attacks, and harassment against Asian and AAPI people over the past year, which have often targeted the most vulnerable community members including women, the elderly, and youth. We call on Communication scholars to (continue to) tackle the issues that have contributed to the anti-Asian sentiment connected to these murders and other violent events, including conspiracy theories, mis/dis information, and racialization of Covid-19 by the Trump administration and mainstream media.

We recognize that these recent events take place within a long history of the oppression of members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities in the United States and elsewhere. These recent murders and hate crimes toward Asian and AAPI communities are deeply intertwined with anti-Asian sentiments that have been built into U.S. history, such as The Chinese Exclusion Act, The Page Act, the internment of Japanese Americans, the murder of Vincent Chin, and many more historical incidents that have excluded and othered AAPI communities. Indeed, the events of 2020 and 2021 are only recent evidence of the deep-seated racism that exists in individuals, in structures, and in systems in our society.

This tragedy also reminds us of the intersectional identities of people of color. Asian and Asian American women have long been hyper-sexualized, exoticized, and seen as a sexual object by mainstream media and popular culture. According to StopAAPIHate.org, Asian and Asian American women have reported hate incidents 2.3 times more often than men. We are reminded of our recent statement against police brutality and anti-Black racism in which we recognize that “racial injustice intersects with discrimination along other axes as well, to produce a multitude of experiences of discrimination and resistance, including prejudice based on class, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, age, and abilities.” We acknowledge the vulnerability of marginalized communities, and especially women of color who experience multiple axes of oppression.

We offer this renewed commitment to dismantling systemic racism to augment our existing Statement Against Racism, Hate, and Xenophobia (2017) and Dismantling Systemic and Anti-Black Racism in the Department of Communication statement and list of actions (2020). Quoting from the 2020 statement, we are reminded that the work of seeking equity and justice for "for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) people extends to institutions and relationships, both formal or informal, from interpersonal to organizational, and across cultural contexts. We endeavor to recognize, minimize, and redress harms we might cause based on our institutional and individual histories of privilege and bias." Not only do we stand in solidarity with all people in the Asian and AAPI communities, we strengthen our stated, collective commitment to work "to recognize, minimize, and redress harms we might cause based on our institutional and individual histories of privilege and bias."

Once again, we say that "when we act in solidarity with BIPOC, we all do better." Please see this website for more information about supporting the AAPI communities.

(Updated 2021)