KU Department of Sociology Statement of Solidarity against Anti-Asian Racism and Violence

The Department of Sociology condemns in the strongest terms the rise in virulent anti-Asian racism and violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.This anti-Asian hate has culminated in the horrific mass shooting of 8 individuals in the Atlanta area on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 6 of whom were women of Asian descent. For those of us who have been paying attention over the last year, this incident comes as a shock but not as a surprise. Since March 2020, there have been over 3800 reported acts of violence against Asian Americans (an increase of about 150% in 2020), as people of Asian descent are scapegoated for the pandemic.

Despite these alarming trends, our nation has been mostly silent on the problem. This is because Anti-Asian racism, xenophobia, and violence are often treated as insignificant, rendering Asian Americans and their issues invisible. But these recent incidents have deep historic roots in anti-Asian/xenophobic sentiments, actions, and policies in the United States. Although we can point to major discriminatory policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Page Act of 1875, and the Japanese Internment, Asian Americans have endured racism in the form of everyday violence and microaggressions.

We cannot stand silent on Anti-Asian bigotry any longer. We must also recognize the specific intersectional reality of women of Asian descent -- up to 68% of the victims of reported pandemic-related Anti-Asian violence were women -- who often become targets of gendered racial violence. The Department of Sociology stands with the victims, families, and communities of the heinous crime in Atlanta and shares the pain and fear of the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) community. We stand with all communities in eradicating racism in all its forms and call for everyone to join the AAPI community in helping to combat anti-Asian hate.