According to The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism factsheet, racially motivated attacks against the Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have increased by 149% in the United States. You would think in 2021 the days of racism would be behind us, but sadly the archaic beliefs still run rampant in our society today. We must learn how how to be an ally and support the AAPI community against racism.
Sadly, we can even see racist beliefs being put forth in the highest ranks of the political office. For example, politicians displaying anti-Chinese rhetoric in interviews regarding the pandemic.
Racism in the United States has a long and dark history. We must educate ourselves about the history of racism to the present so that we can make positive changes happen for the future.
There is no reason for us to hate each other. We are all equal and deserving of respect and kindness. Racism must be combated through education, understanding, conversations, and political change.
- 1. Get Involved
- 2. Speak Up
- 3. Report
- 4. Training and Education
- 5. Reach Out to Elected Officials
- 6. Check In With Friends
- 7. Donate
- 8. Support Local Asian-Owned Businesses
How to Be an Ally
1. Get Involved
To advocate, you can get involved within your own community or workplaces by encouraging positive policy changes. Pave the way for new community safety measures that are clearly lacking during this period of violence against AAPI communities.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a group of volunteers did just that by organizing a civilian patrol unit to ensure Asian communities weren’t being subjected to harassment or violence. Their services also included safely escorting individuals, intervention, and community check-ins.
Don’t forget you can even volunteer your skills. Do you have foreign language skills? You can volunteer to help the Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA). They are currently seeking volunteer translators.
Check locally for other ways to help out too. For instance, in the Boston area, the Asian American Civic Association (AACA) accepts applications for volunteers.
2. Speak Up
If you see something, be an ally and speak up, don’t become trapped by the bystander effect. If you aren’t familiar, this occurs when a large group of witnesses are present to a person in distress. The larger the group, the less likely the individual is to take action. Educating yourself regarding the psychology behind this effect can help you prevent it.
It may be challenging, but it’s best to adjust your thinking to the assumption that no one else is doing anything about an incident and take action. Make eye contact with fellow witnesses and ask for help. By singling others out, it can help take them out of the bystander effect and increase the likelihood they will assist.
Now obviously, becoming physically involved will depend on safety and circumstances. Check out Stop APPI Hate’s guidelines on safe and respectful interventions.
Use Social Media as a Tool
Another way to speak up is raising awareness on social media. I’m sure you can think of several examples of social movements found its roots in a social media posting. Be sure to respect the victim’s wishes and only post if you have their explicit consent.
Due to the uptick in attacks there are now valuable resources out there to report racially motivated hate crimes against the AAPI community.
Stop AAPI Hate has a reporting system in place (available in multiple languages) for all incidents of xenophobia and aggression. This reporting system initiative is a collaboration between the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University.
Federal Level Crimes
Often hate crimes go unreported. If you witness or experience a hate crime, you should report it to your local police. However, you could also follow this up by sending a tip to the Department of Justice at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division actively reviews reports of the following: “unlawful discrimination, harassment, or abuse in a variety of settings like housing, the workplace, school, voting, business, healthcare, public spaces, and more. If you have been mistreated by law enforcement (including while incarcerated), believe you have been a victim of a hate crime, or a victim of human trafficking, we can help get you to the right place.”
You can report directly on their website. If your case qualifies, the FBI may step in to investigate. The Congressional Research Service (CRC) released an updated memo regarding this topic on March 18, 2021.
4. Training and Education
Racism is a learned behavior. Therefore, in theory that means that with education, training, and a deal of work this negative behavior can also be unlearned. The internet is there. Use it do some research regarding the history of racism, stereotypes, and violence against the AAPI community.
Google Scholar has endless peer reviewed scholarly articles on this specific topic for free. Go on YouTube to listen to the experiences of individuals going through these difficult times. You may be surprised by how unaware you actually are.
- Stop APPI Hate, Incident Reports
- Reading List of AAPI Authors at Bookshop.
- Hoang, D., Saran, S., Wang, M., Wong, A., & Shalaby, M. (2021). Implications of Anti-AAPI Racism in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Medicine, 1(1), 15.
- Li, Y., & Nicholson Jr, H. L. (2021). When “model minorities” become “yellow peril”—Othering and the racialization of Asian Americans in the COVID‐19 pandemic. Sociology Compass, 15(2), e12849.
- Asian American Stories, Podcast
- Jeremy Lin, Video Essay on Racism Against AAPI Communities
5. Reach Out to Elected Officials
Contact your local elected officials to tell them enough is enough. Request for more services to become available for those vulnerable to hate crimes. Insist on prevention and anti-racism educational programs in schools, workplaces, and communities.
Request a review of possible weak points in the current civil rights laws in place. Advocate for more civil rights protections for local AAPI communities and their private businesses.
6. Check In With Friends
This is such a scary time. As I white female, I can never imagine what the AAPI community is going through. I worry for my friends and my boyfriend. It’s tragic that just being on a public street could become the site of a hate crime.
With these unnerving times for AAPI communities, offer your support when appropriate. The “when appropriate” part of this equation is especially important if you are non-APPI. It’s not about us and white guilt. It’s about offering genuine support to all people of color.
If you are close to someone from the AAPI community, then of course let them know that you are there for them if they need to talk. Please don’t push them to open up. If they want to talk about it, they will. Lend an ear, validate their feelings, and be available for support with their consent.
Next, it may seem like a small effort, but donating to organizations that combat hate against AAPI communities goes a long way. I will include a list of places to donate at the bottom of this post!
8. Support Local Asian-Owned Businesses
You can easily help out by supporting local Asian-owned businesses. Personally, my favorites in the Greater Boston Area are Japonaise Bakery & Cafe (by the way happy birthday to the owner Takeo Sakan), Seoul Toppoki, Yamato, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, and Yi Soon Bakery. Supporting your local businesses helps them stay open. This is even more important with the economic hardship from the pandemic.
List of AAPI Led Organizations in Boston
- Asian American Civic Association (AACA)
- Asian Community Development Corporation
- Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE)
- Asian Women for Health
- Boston Asian Youth Essential Service (YES)
- Chinese Progressive Association
- Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center
- NAAAP Boston, South Asian Workers’ Center
Additional Organizations Outside of Boston…
Other Places to Donate
- AAPI Women Lead
- Asian American Feminist Collective
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice
- Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote
- Asian Pacific American Advocates
- Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
- Asian Pacific Environmental Network
- Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum
- Asian Prisoner Support Committee
- Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
- Chinese Progressive Association
- Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
- Japanese American Citizens League
- National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
- National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
- Red Canary Song
- South Asian Americans Leading Together
- Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
- Stop AAPI Hate
Check these out:
Hello everyone! I am a Boston based blogger that loves all things travel and lifestyle. You can usually find me working away at my university job, snapping pictures, thrifting, or trying out some new recipes.
Phung Tran says
As an AAPI individual, thank you very much for publishing this post. It means a lot to us as a community and to myself as an individual. Wishing you and your family the best *^____^*
This is a great article and it is great you are using your platform to raise awareness. Thank you for sharing your tips.
Alexis Farmer says
Thank you for this! I always want to know the best way to be an ally for anyone dealing with racism. It’s so sad that this continues.
This post is extremely important! Thank you so much for sharing this. Sending love from the Netherlands.
So proud of your advocacy and strong morals. You represent what should be the best in all of us.