Racism-Against-Asians

Episode 82: A Conversation on Race With Jeff Le, Victim of anti- Asian hate

 

In this conversation on race, I’m joined by Jeff Le, to talk about anti-Asian hate. He has been featured in Political magazine, The New York Times USA Today,  and the Washington Post.

Jeff shares his personal experience with  being a victim of anti-Asian hate and no one offering any help. “Last March we were completely overwhelmed with the lockdown with the COVID-19. But there was a second thing going on at the same time, not just from public health in pandemic issue, but also there was a real hate issue. January, February, when there was rhetoric about the Kung Flu- the China virus, there was some scapegoating.”

If you think about American history, and you look at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the country, there’s been a long-standing history of xenophobia and discrimination.  Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans have been here since the 1850s.Building railroads going across the country to California, for example, Japanese Americans, really setting up shop in the Bay Area, for example, face significant discrimination. That is something that’s been around for quite some time. And if you fast forward if you look at American history there have been instances where, whenever there are issues in the world that affect Asia and the United States, there has been a direct moment of disdain, disagreement, and unfortunately acts of hate and violence that have happened. I was traveling for my last work trip before the pandemic really laid in. And I was walking through an airport. I needed to get to San Francisco, and a woman came up to me, spit on my face. And she told me to go back where I came from.” 

“And as a proud Californian  I wanted to tell her  yes, I’m excited to go back to California, very much miss Mexican food. Unfortunately, she meant it in a more literal way. She meant, you know, based on what you Look, I know you’re not from here, go back to China. Essentially. I’m Vietnamese American. That’s a separate issue. But I was scapegoated, specifically for the virus, spit on in front of people in a public place that was federally regulated.   Being spit on is something that’s really debasing ,demeaning, dehumanizing, but that’s not the issue. The issue is, and this is the conversations I know you’ve been leading. It’s about creating environments that allow for that to happen. And unfortunately, there were about a dozen people who saw what happened. And not a single one of them did anything.”

 

Key topics covered:

• The history of discrimination against Asians in the US

• The Chinese Exclusionary Act

• The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.

• How his parents who are Vietnamese-Americans started a chicken farm in Georgia, build relationships with neighbors only to be accused of being responsible for COVID 19

• The relationship between the US relationship with China, anti-Asian hate, and blame for COVID 19

• Relationship between mental health and attacks against Asians

• Role of white supremacy in anti-Asian hate and physical attacks against Asians

• The fear that Asian Pacific Islanders are living with, particularly the elderly

• The murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit

• History of unity amongst People of Color

• Asian support of Black Lives Matter

• How he has been verbally harassed in his neighborhood

• The importance of being an active ally and not a silent bystander

If you like what you hear on this show, please go to RaceConvo.com and download more episodes. Please share the show with at least one or two other people. Help us get our message across about spreading love across the globe, and stopping hate. If you would like to bring me to your organization to facilitate a panel or conversation on race or consult with you on inclusive leadership, please contact me at Simmalieberman.com. You can hit me up on Twitter, @theinclusionist or Instagram @simma.lieberman, or find me on LinkedIn.

 

 

Jeff Le Bio

Jeff Le has had a career at the highest levels of public policy and politics at the state, federal and international levels. A recognized thought leader in political advocacy and representation, his analysis and opinion-writing has been featured in POLITICO Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, FOX News, The Hill, Washingtonian, Roll Call, Bustle, Forbes, and local and regional newspapers in 30 states. During the height of the #StopAsianHate movement, Jeff penned an opinion piece that received national attention in POLITICO Magazine called I Thought I Knew How to Succeed as an Asian in U.S. Politics. Boy, Was I Wrong. that highlighted his experiences in workplace discrimination in politics and racism throughout his life.

 

Jeff is now an executive leader in technology where he is Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs for Rhino, a fintech startup working to give renters everywhere greater financial freedom through affordable insurance options. Prior to joining Rhino, Jeff was U.S. State and Local Public Policy Lead for VMware, a digital technology and infrastructure company, and managed the company’s gubernatorial, state, county, and local relationships across all 50 states and Canada. Jeff focused on emerging technology policy, including privacy, 5G, broadband, cyber, sustainability, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, education, and IT modernization.

Episode 52: Racism Against Asians During Covid-19 with Michelle Meow

Michelle Meow, well known radio and TV host on LGBTQ+ and other issues, joins me on Everyday Conversation on Race, to talks racism against Asians during Covid-19. Michelle shares her background as the daughter of Laotian immigrants in Stockton, California and her experiences with racism. She offers her perspective on the increase of physical and verbal attacks against Asians, as well as how to stop them.

Key points from Michelle Meow:

  • In order to understand the recent racist attacks against Asian people we have to talk about race and racism in general as a historical and systemic issua around mostly southeast Asians. The median income for families is $35,000. When her father died and her mother was left with five kids to raise, they moved into the projects and she became friends with more Black and Latino people.e
  • We have to talk about race and racism on a systemic level and how it impacts all of us
  • Everyone has bias and those biases are more acute during crises. Michelle is always checking her own biases.

Her Background

She grew up very poor in Stockton, California

Views on the Covid-19 pandemic and racism

  • This pandemic is scary and people need to stay healthy
  • People are looking for other people to blame. The president has empowered people who are in extreme fear to blame Asian people for Coved- 19. As a result, elderly Asian people have gotten beaten up, yelled at, spit on and stabbed.
  • Asian people are scared about the virus and also scared about being targeted by racists and people who have bought into what Trump has been saying in the media. It’s very painful for her to know that now Asian people have to be scared of getting beaten up by people who are also scared.
  • If people did their homework, they would understand more about Covid-19, how it all began, the fact that the US was warned about Covid-19 and did not prepare. Instead of taking responsibility many people in the US government who should have been preparing us are blaming China and Chinese people.
  • Scientists and doctors have talked about it for a long time and begged the world to pay attention
  • With all the messages and racist beliefs being spouted from the White House and allies, there are concerns amongst Asians about bias and getting the right care if they do get sick.
  • Even in other Asian countries there is discrimination and stereotyping of Chinese people. There have been incidents in Thailand of restaurants refusing to serve Chinese people.
  • There are also incidents of Chinese restaurants in China refusing to serve Black people

What we need to do

  • We should focus on how to keep humans healthy
  • Understand racism and how racism is being used as a distraction to not look at government responsibility
  • Covid-19 is a global pandemic and will take a global solution
  • We are the wealthiest country with the most resources and are the most impacted. Most of us never thought this could happen in the US. Even that was racist, thinking it cou
    ld happen in China or countries of people of color but not here.
  • We have to pay attention to who is dying and that it is mostly Black and Brown people who are losing their lives. They are the essential workers in the frontlines of the public.
  • Racism creates a barrier from people coming up with solutions.
  • There are more good people who don’t want to give power to racists and haters.
  • There are African-American and Asian leaders who have been reaching out to work together and stop racist attacks against any group.

What we can do as individuals

  • We can speak up and intervene if we see or hear racism against Asians
  • Offer to help shop for older Asian people who are afraid to get what they need
  • Educate ourselves about historical and structural racism. Educate other people and speak out against hate and fear of differences.

Contact information

www.MichelleMeow.com

https://www.commonwealthclub.org/michelle-meow-show

x

ABOUT MICHELLE MEOW, Radio & TV talk show host 

In her own words:

I’ve always dreamed big. As a little peculiar kid who grew up in Stockton, CA, I had an imagination that was too big for my little brain. I fantasized about a lot of things but as young as I can remember, I fantasized about being loved and accepted. The first time I tried to make friends with kids around my neighborhood, I was told to go “back to my country.” Born here in California, I didn’t know what they meant until the fights in the neighborhood became violent. The hatred you face from childhood to adulthood is dangerous and damaging. I hope one day we can change this for all of us. Why can’t we learn to love and accept one another for our differences and our similarities? That is the journey or quest I am on and the reason behind the “Michelle Meow Show.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skip to toolbar