Over the past few years there has been a sharp escalation in hate speech, hate crimes, and other forms of harassment against members of the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community in the United States. These examples of hate speech, violence and discrimination come in many forms, from political leaders using racist language in referring to coronavirus and violence against Asian women to the brutal and senseless attacks against Asians and members of the Asian American community in the Los Angeles, the Bay Area, New York, Atlanta, and elsewhere. These words and actions impact not only members of the Asian American community, but also have a profound impact on foreign nationals who are in the United States for work, study, and travel; they also contribute to a larger culture of hate, prejudice, and intolerance. We also strongly object to those members of the media and law enforcement who have failed to address the Atlanta murders and other attacks on the Asian community for what they are – hate crimes. Words matter. When politicians, law enforcement officials and the media fail to acknowledge these basic truths it exacerbates the original crimes and leaves victims and their families subject to a double victimization.
We the faculty members of the Department of Asian Languages & Cultures, the Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for Korean Studies, the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and the Asia Pacific Center categorically condemn these acts of violence and incidents of hate speech. They have no place in our university and no place in our broader society. The student body of the University of California, Los Angeles is composed of 29% Asian Americans, not to mention the robust number of international students from Asia; Asians are not a “minority” on campus, they are the single largest ethnic group at UCLA. We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and supportive space for all members of the UCLA Asian community, whether they be students, faculty, staff, and any other individual who steps onto the campus; we demand they be treated with respect, dignity, and be free from the threat of any and all hate speech and violence. We also stand in solidarity alongside members of the Black and African American community, the Hispanic and Latinx community, LGBTQ+ community, the Indigenous community, the Muslim community, Jewish community, and all others who have been targeted by hatred, slurs, violence and other forms of discrimination.
Beyond our condemnation of the hate speech and violence being perpetrated, we also commit to engage directly with these issues in our teaching, campus events, and public outreach. We are invested in making society a more just and equitable place; free from fear and prejudice. We realize that these changes start from within, and we begin this work as individuals, departments, centers, and programs, step by step, committed to ending the wave of hate against the Asian community and taking constructive steps towards a more just society. Change starts now. #stopasianhate