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We at the National Deaf Center are grieving with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, which was traumatized by interpersonal violence and racism. Recent incidents were spurred by rhetoric grounded in white supremacy, and reflect the history of oppression against the AAPI community.
Modern attacks on Asian people are not isolated incidents. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of crimes against the AAPI community has been rising, due to racist messaging about the origins of the virus. This reached a new high March 16 in Atlanta, when eight people lost their lives in a series of shootings motivated by racism and sexism.
Systemic Oppression and Economic Disparities for AAPI
AAPI people are not all the same, and there are still huge disparities in the lives of different AAPI groups. AAPI people come from more than 50 different ethnic backgrounds, speak more than 100 different languages, and practice numerous different religions.
Though some of these groups have economic, health and other outcomes on par with white people, many AAPI people are among the poorest in the nation. However, data often fails to capture this wide variation, leading to further discrimination in the form of “model minority” and other racist myths.
Deaf AAPI people may be particularly harmed by these myths. Our report on Deaf People and Employment in the United States reveals continued economic disparities for AAPI deaf people compared to their hearing peers. But, they may not receive the same attention as other marginalized groups because they are assumed to be more successful.
Take Action to Combat Oppression
We support the members of the AAPI community and the deaf AAPI community in their calls for justice and reform. And we support the work of community organizations that are working to dismantle systemic oppressions, including microaggressions, racist violence and rhetoric.
This list of information and resources has been shared across social media and may help you take action to combat anti-Asian violence. You can also join Asian Signers for a webinar on March 25, titled “Are Asians Too Invisible? Let’s talk about Hate Speech.”
To our community members who are suffering: we are in solidarity with you.