Andrew Yang, the young American political commentator and entrepreneur, is in hot water with the Asian community for recent remarks he made on how Asian Americans should be combating racism. Basically he told them they need to be more American. And they are pretty pissed at him about it. Andrew Yang was one of the hottest 2020 democratic Presidential candidate less than a year ago. However his recent op-ed on how to deal with the current rise of racism Asian Americans are facing has turned away a lot of support from the community that originally cherished him. Especially after Andrew Yang wrote he is ashamed of being Asian.
“For the first time in years, I felt it. I felt self-conscious — even a bit ashamed — of being Asian,” – Washington Post
Asian Actress Simu Liu was one of the first to come out publicly and criticize Andrew Yang for telling his followers that he was ashamed of being Asian.
“We are fighting two viruses at once,” Simu Liu, an Asian Canadian actor who’s best known in his role in the TV show “Kim’s Convenience,” said, calling Yang’s op-ed “a slap in the face.”
Set to play Shang Chi, the first Asian American superhero in the Marvel Universe, Liu initially responded on April 2 to the piece on Twitter: “At a time where Asian diaspora from around the world are experiencing massive racism and discrimination, @AndrewYang basically just told us to suck it up, eat a cheeseburger and buy an American flag.” – ABC News
Essentially, Andrew Yang felt ashamed to be Asian after of an encounter that took place at a supermarket. Now Andrew Yang is arguing for all Asians to Americanize themselves to “be less threatening to other Americans“. According to Andrew Yang, telling people not to be racist will never work.
Instead, Asian Americans need to lean into American culture. Then eventually they will be accepted and the average American will not feel threatened by them.
“Jenny Yang, an Asian American comedian and writer whose known for using her work to address Asian American issues, said this is the wrong message.
“I felt my stomach sink,” Jenny Yang told ABC News. “Andrew is telling us we cannot expect telling people to not be racist to work, so we should lean in to be more American so we will be less threatening to other Americans,” — a direct reference to Yang’s words in the article, “I obviously think that being racist is not a good thing. But saying, ‘Don’t be racist toward Asians,’ won’t work.”
Two days after the article was published, Jenny Yang posted a video of her attempting to take the former presidential candidate’s advice and embrace her “American-ness” in order to show “how ridiculous this premise was.” – ABC News
Jenny Yang later went to make a video attempting to practice the presidential candidate’s advice. She dressed like an American flag wearing red, blue and white. She stood on the streets with a sign that inscribed “Honk If you won’t hate crime me” while handing out Clorox wipes to strangers.
After Jenny Yang video, she got to understand that being patriotic worked. Skin or looks didn’t matter and she wasn’t being hated when she did the political movement. Jenny was furious to see someone like Andrew Yang say he was ashamed for being Asian.
The video was viewed by over 80,000 people. According to Bruce Embrey, the co-chair of the Manzaar committee commented on Andrew Yang’s call for Asia American awareness and said it was only going to be part of the problem. He said in 1942 many Asian American lost their constitutional rights when they tried being Americans. He was very offended at the concept of Andrew Yang being ashamed to be Asian.
“Reading it gave me a sense of deja vu,” Bruce Embrey, the co-chair of Manzanar Committee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on Japanese American incarceration, told NBC Asian America of Yang’s article.
In his op-ed, Yang addressed the increase in anti-Asian American racism as a result of the pandemic.
“We need to step up, help our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations, and do everything in our power to accelerate the end of this crisis,” the entrepreneur wrote. “We should show without a shadow of a doubt that we are Americans who will do our part for our country in this time of need.” – NBC
Clearly Bruce Embrey believes silence and attempting to “Americanize” is not a practical strategy.
According to Andrew Yang he has experienced a lot of anti-Asian racism while growing up. Coronavirus obviously lead to a spike in racially driven attacks targeted at Asian Americans.
Andrew Yang’s fight to remind the american people that Asian American lives matter too, the former democratic Presidential candidate was tackled by the Asian American Community for an article he published. Andrew Yang talks about the experience he had at a grocery store, he encountered a racist act against him and he felt judged, humiliated and degraded. Asia Americans have been demeaned and played liked toys in America.
There have been series of events across the United States including a man who was sprayed air freshener while riding a Subway in New York, there have also been the stabbing of an Asian American family in Texas and the suspect acknowledged he did the act because the family was Chinese.
Asian Lives matter too according to Yang due to the potential surge of hate crimes against Asian American amid Coronavirus, the FBI made an assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the United States will blame China and Asian – American populations with covid-19 accusations.
The fight should be against Coronavirus and not the people, I agree with that Andrew. But grow a spine for your people. Andrew Yang should not be ashamed to be Asian because of one tool in a grocery store. The Asian community needs you to be a stronger role model than that Andrew.