Our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have often suffered an unjust history in our country. It is a history of abuse and violation of constitutional and human rights, and it is an indicator of the deep failings that we have in our history and our fundamental weakness: We lack a full understanding of what equal means.
This shameful history involves unjust events, prejudice and discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities since they began migrating to the United States in the 1800s. Most recently, the tragic events of this week in Atlanta remind us that discrimination, prejudice and hate toward Asian American and Pacific Islander communities still exists and often manifests itself in acts of violence against women and those in marginalized communities.
These events are consistent with an American history of racial and immigrant intolerance and our slow and painful progress towards equal justice, illustrating that we have much work ahead of us to build our country to its full potential.
This work includes understanding that our country, designed on the principles of justice, equality and individual rights, will never reach its full potential and will not be successful in the long run until we all become anti-racist and anti-discriminatory in our core logic. We are nowhere near that core logic, and we must move our American society away from its seriously flawed design implementation. Our country’s founding – while magnificent on so many fronts – was incomplete based on our inability to actually produce an environment where people view each other as equal.
We live in a country where the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities as a whole and members of those communities individually have been mocked, maligned and attacked based on racial identity, ethnicity and gender by national and local leaders, as well as individuals, and increasingly so since the pandemic. This behavior has created an environment where hate speech and hate crimes have increased, empowered by our leaders, and the net result is regression to our past.
These behaviors and the dialogue of intolerance that contribute to them are unacceptable at every level and in every way. At ASU we confront these inappropriate and racist views each time we encounter them and will certainly continue to do so.
I have no tolerance for such behaviors, and ASU as an institution has no tolerance for such behaviors.
It is important that we continue to confront hate speech. We also must continue to confront and condemn hate crimes, racist behavior, discrimination and gender violence and attacks — in all forms and wherever found — and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. We do that now and will intensify our efforts to advance our institution and our community as one that is truly equal.
As a reminder, should you need support in light of recent events or for any other reason, ASU offers counseling services for our students 24/7 as well as counseling and wellness services for employees.
Michael M. Crow
Arizona State University