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Cornell U. virtual event keeps anti-Asian hate narrative alive

Cornell University hosted a virtual “teach-in” event late last week, essentially devoted to maintaining the progressive narrative surrounding continuing attacks on Asians and Asian-Americans.

After all, it was planned shortly after the March shootings of six Asian women in Atlanta.

According to The Cornell Daily Sun, the teach-in attracted some 500 students, faculty and alumni to hear speakers go back in time to explain current anti-Asian sentiment … and even blame the classic library Dewey Decimal System.

Professor Derek Chang, who works in the fields of American Studies and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, said current hatred towards the Asian community is connected to the “historic oppression” of the demographic.

Outreach and Engagement Librarian Reanna Esmail told attendees that libraries “are predominantly white fields” and “have a fraught history of being complicit in racism, and in some cases, upholding and disseminating racist ideas.” Esmail claimed, without citing examples, that the Dewey Decimal “still uses outdated terms” for Asian people. (She may be referencing ideas such as these, put forth by librarians at the University of Minnesota.)

From the story:

Nancy Martinsen, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Asian and Asian American Center, discussed cultural norms can sometimes create challenges for AAPI Cornellians while acclimating to the school’s climate.

For example, some Asian students may be more reluctant to challenge professors or participate in class, according to Martinsen. She suggested that professors should be more mindful about these potential difficulties in policies such as graded participation.

“The AAPI community tends to be very family centered,” Martinsen said. “Cornell tends to be a very competitive environment, which creates a very individualistic way of thinking — even the approach to academia is sometimes very individualistic.”

Avery August, vice provost for academic affairs, shared data from the Cornell PULSE Survey, which reported that many Asain [sic] undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members feel isolated or disrespected.

Days after the Atlanta shootings, the Cornell student government alleged that the slaughter was the result of the “fetishization of the white male gaze that so easily turns into white male violence.” It then called upon the university to disarm the campus police and disband the Greek system.

MORE: Prof: White supremacy to blame for ALL racial violence in the U.S.

Although this latest Cornell effort may be a bit late, it’s in line with other universities in furthering the theme of “whiteness” being the culprit. For example, so-called “experts” at the University of Miami claimed the Atlanta shootings were due to “white supremacist patriarchal violence.” Eastern Washington University president David May flatly declared the victims were “killed because of who they are, Asian-Americans.”

But as one brave Asian student pointed out, the “anti-Asian” narrative only comes into play when white people are involved: The media (and other progressives) “become strangely hesitant to play this same race card when crimes are committed by non-white perpetrators.”

Indeed, as noted by Heather Mac Donald, even before the Atlanta shootings, Asians often had been the victims of street violence — largely committed by black people:

The New York Police Department compiles the most extensive data on hate crimes in the country. These data confirm the Oakland officer’s observation. A black New Yorker is over six times as likely to commit a hate crime against an Asian as a white New Yorker, according to New York Police Department data. In 2020, blacks made up 50 percent of all suspects in anti-Asian attacks in New York City, even though blacks are 24 percent of the city’s population. Whites made up 10 percent of all suspects in anti-Asian attacks in 2020 in New York City but account for 32 percent of the city’s population. If we include black Hispanics in the black category, blacks account for 60 percent of all anti-Asian attacks in 2020.

“Biden chastised the country for its silence about anti-Asian violence,” Mac Donald continues. “The reason for that silence, however, is that blacks are the primary drivers of this violence. Acknowledging these assaults only became acceptable when there was a white perpetrator, even if his motive did not fit the story being told.”

Read the Daily Sun and Mac Donald articles.

MORE: Profs hold teach-in on anti-Asian violence via ‘lens of intersectionality’

IMAGE: Ron Mader / Flickr.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.