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tv   Discussion on Combating Anti- Asian Racism  CSPAN  May 16, 2021 4:55am-5:27am EDT

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good afternoon, and welcome to washington post live, i'm tracy jan economic reporter at the washington post. joining us today are shaw, president of the asian american foundation and former deputy assistant to president obama. along with jerry yang, founding
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board member of this new foundation as well as cofounder of yahoo!. welcome to you both. >> thank you, tracy. >> thanks. >> let's start with you, you have spoken about both the importance of addressing anti-asian hate as well as belonging. give us a brief overview of what led to the formation of the asian american foundation. >> you know, in 2020, we saw a spike incidents against asian american website and jonathon who was the ceo of the anti-defamation league came to our board now to say there's a lot happening here. what are you all going to do and our board said we have to do something, and called jerry, called joe and they decide to create the asian american foundation because they knew it was an important time to do this and this was a moment to bring everybody together to really look at the asian and support asian american community. >> so while this foundation has said once to address
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-- what -- wants to address underinvestment in asian communities you know a smalling diaspora in the united states what are the needs of the ap community and what do you think is behind this underinvestment? >> well, we are a community over 40 ethnicity and pacific island communities and less than .5% of the resources from foundations go to asian american communities and less than 1% of corporate foundation donations go to asian american communities. and i think part of it is that -- i think we have not been seen as a needed community and what we don't understand is that we're very diverse community with high income disparity, and it is easy to fall into the model minority myth where people just see us as one model and therefore we don't need resources but we have income disparity that's great and need amongst many communities
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underlooked and underserved , overlooked and underserved to make sure we can address those disparities. >> that's right we will get more about the model minority myth later on this afternoon. what role do you invasion -- envision playing as a prominent member of the asian american business community? and what role do you want to see your peers play? >> well, thanks for having us. i really think about this as something that we as a whole community need to do. i've been involved in our local community through organizations like this and base asian pacific foundation over 20 years seen great work they do and quite frankly as alluded to there are dozens of asian american organizations that have been around for decades, terrific people doing terrific things.
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and i think until recently this hate, anti-asian hate and discrimination is something that really has if brought all of us together has galvanized the entire community of 23 million asian americans and pacific islanders and i think part of that issue has been that -- we have not really understood our history of asians in america that goes back 150 years to the chinese acollusion act, to, obviously, the japanese determined to the vietnam and -- japanese internment to the vietnam and korea wars. they're always when there's conflict with asian, and seems like there's increase hate increase discrimination and we're not -- we're seeing history repeating itself here so as a business community i would say that it's -- it is really hard to speak for the entire
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business community. but i do think that we have seen an awakening. we've seen various initiatives already with stand with asian americans. we've seen some very generous initiatives that are raised by the capital communities here in silicon valley, and i would say -- you know, our role is really to think about something that is here for generations something we can, our kids and our kids 'kids can look at and say there's an organization that is looking out after all asian americans in america. >> i cover business and race and i've noticed that a lot of these corporations that have spoken out and said black lives matter are now also donating to the asian american foundation. and i was wondering, jerry, do you feel tech community has stepped in the way that you think it should? >> yeah. again, you know the tech community is not just one community, but, yes, i would say that given if you look at where -- the employee base are some of the tech companies have over 30,
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you know, plus percent of asian americans in their employee-base. this is a large issue. a lot of our consumer companies who have asians americans, as a customer this is a big issue. so i do think that number of dialogue within companies have gone up. i think people are looking at professional issues, you know, there's a bamboo ceiling in corporate america where, you know, the number of employees that are that are asian american versus number of management or senior leaders that are asian american are underrepresented, and so -- i do think that people understand there's no room, no place for hate in our society, and in a society especially in tech that requires talent, that requires the best ideas and best innovation of people's productivity, having hate overhang as something that is to disrupt and deter something very serious. so i do think people are very
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engaged right now. we're trying to use that energy to really create something that is a lot more permanent rather than, you know, sort of a reaction or emphasis we think it needs took something that entice their corporate plans and incorporate engagement with employees and incorporate with their customers. >> writes a lot of that work has , already started last summer after george floyd was killed, obviously, that was not nothing new in america but there was this uprising and -- vocal support to change canales not -- change the system, not just hopefully a fly by night type of effort i was wondering jerry are there any lessons to be drawn by black executives as well as ken frasier has spearheaded with voting rights? >> yeah. you know we're, obviously, -- obviously familiar with their work and has been a supporter you know, he really believes in allyship across our communities
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and something that we take very seriously as well. we can talk about this but we've communicated very deeply and frequently with other minority groups and minority ethnic groups about learning from each other. i think one of the key learnings is that we need to make sure that there is opportunities and access for people of color across the board. and that is an end to end kind of development rather than, you know, sort of spot, spot programs. and i would say given diversity of the asian diaspora in the united states there is a lot different challenges of addressing people's needs in companies because you know somebody who was born here in their 20s versus somebody who has emigrated from a different part of the world face very
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different challenges so i think as we learn from broader organizations like -- what can both can do to specifically towards asian americans i think we need to really understand what customization is needed to make the work for our community. >> that's great. i want to go back to education which you touched on jerry given that it is a key focus on the foundation i remember as kid growing up in the san francisco bay area, we learned california history in fourth grade. but it was all about spanish missionaries and we went to missions for field trips. we had to build clay missions. but i did not learn in elementary school about asian american history. that has been so integral to not only california history but that of our country. how does the asian american foundation plan to increase the emphasis on api history in our education system and are you concerned about any pushback? >> that's a great question and thanks for, thanks for talking about education. it is so important. and california is a great
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example. most recently there was legislation that was passed by the california legislature. to ensure that history of people color is included in education system, and we've been funding project called asian american education project to actually build curriculum for asian about asian american history to participate and to be a part of the curriculum of american history in california. and that's important because what happens in california happens in large parts of the other parts of the country and also legislation passing through illinois to allow for the same thing and we're going to expand our programming to make sure that the curriculum also gets to -- gets to the schools in illinois. but that's -- that's just one piece of it. we have two look at college education, and how asian americans history is part of college education. it is why the pbs documentary was so critical in really educating about the asian american experiences in the united states and history of asian americans in united states. but look and need to talk to textbook publishers and we need
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to talk to narrative change we have to talk to media about how do we change about education, and who the asian american community is. so it is one piece is curriculum but other is really looking -- >> yeah it was when i was writing about reparation last year and a big part of the story was about japanese and how they received reparations and a lot of people didn't even realize that happened in our country like people who were a generation removed from it. it is shocking to me. but the rise in attacks against asian americans have been occurring throughout this past year. media attention, though, has only recently begun to focus on them. do you see that atlanta attack as an inflection point and could this moment unite the sprawling and diverse asian american community? >> yeah. you know, it is something that when we started on the american foundation a year ago something that we really felt was going to be a reason for the community to come together and unite.
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one of the projects we started was to track hate incidents through the internet is something that i know something about, and so we were able to look at twitter incidents and twitter tweets, and we have since early last year of 2020 through now seen over 5,000 , nearly 6,000 tweets that we think are related to anti-asian hate, and, in fact, we published our visualization website today called decoding hate, and it is fascinating to kind of see it. we correlate with news reports and they have increased, but it doesn't really tell a whole story. part of it unfortunately is as these incidents become more serious whether it is more violent, more assaults, more random against elders, for example, the news carried that.
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but if you look at the trendline, there has been a lot of incidents and unfortunately they're increasing in severity. and so i do think that it's a uniting factor. i do think like when something like atlanta happens in our community it is a wakeup call and it is a wakeup call because -- it really puts shines light on the most vulnerable as people who don't have protection or have the help, don't have recourse in many cases that are the victims. and, you know, a lot of people ask me like why is there a lot of this violence? and i think -- you know, it stems from the fact that -- you know, a year ago is that -- antidefamation league came to us said we're seeing a rise in hate speech about asianings.
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and their projection back then was once you have speech, then it gives, you know, speech is normalized in our society, it involves into -- and evolves into more serious assault and incidents and we're seeing that happen and play out unfortunately so we're really wanting to make sure we track it and make sure we understand it. obviously, there's a huge prevention both in terms of bystander education but also more seriously how do we help victims. but just understanding where it is all happening, what kind of things are happening, how do we keep a pulse on it is so important, and another organization like aagc and stop hate, other surveys, have all kind of, you know, corroborated and correlated this rise in incidents because of even though our methodologies are different the stories are largely the same -- you know it is happening in more women than men and happening to elderly. it is happening in businesses. and these are -- isolated across the united states but they're rising in number.
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but going back to history, there are, obviously, other systemic kinds of discrimination against asians, everything from property you can't own property rights. , as asians for many, many decades and so -- so we really try to get a sense of what's happening on the ground, and we tend to do this longitudinally. we tend to do this for sort of as long as we can rather than just do this or next year. that is fantastic. and it will continue. >> again words matter as you mention and data matters. we data as evidence to people that there's a hate crime happening so we have spoken about aapi community but many americans were shocked even resistant to idea that asian americans face racism in this
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country partly because we don't do a good job educating americans about american history. we've been largely missing from many important conversations facing other communities system pick bias in the work place, political activism immigration reform. where do you want to see this new momentum going? >> so i think we like see in many places and i think it is important that one, as jerry mentioned making sure that the data about hate is actually consistent. it is longitudinal and not just during moments of sporadic not just sporadic but moments at 9/11 or in 1982. but collecting on a regular basis so we actually know what's happening in our communities and that's one and hate is going to be a very important part. so tracking it, responding to it and preventing and knowing how to prevented, so investing in that and investing in data about our communities making sure we know where gaps are and we know
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we aren't letting policymakers know and foundations know where gap and investments are and making sure we're part of that conversation media making sure we're talking about media how asian americans are portrayed both in -- you know, in my media , but also in thinking about, you know, movies and other places, how are we portrayed in tv shows, making sure that we're there in that and finally, making sure we're convening people letting know that we exist as a community we're here we're 23 million strong. we're not it, you know, 7% of the population 23 million strong it is very important to know who we are so we need to make investment and make sure data, research, you know, hate , anti-hate is a very big part of everything that we do and people know who we are and what we're doing. >> not only do we exist as a community but we are a diverse community. the asian american community has
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the widest fastest growing among groups in the united states jerry when i was a tour guide as undergraduate at stanford you were one the names that i used to talk about who stuck out to start companies when i was walking backwards through engineer how does this success of affluent asian americans such as yourself obscure the plight of least fortune also perpetuate model and minority missed? -- myths? >> -- myths? >> if you would have been found -- i used to put books away in the pact when you did that -- a sure thing. you know, being, being entrepreneur and self-made i think i have a direct connection with where i came from and where i am now. but you know, i came from east i grew up and today it is still a -- community where there's a lot of distance happening there and a lot of bad things happening there. so i just think that -- you know, that the understanding of asian americans community in the united states is very low. meaning -- not only do the rest of the country don't really understand what asian american p.i. community means or who they are and how are they organized or not demographics or
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sociodemographics or -- but i think even asian americans don't really know. you know, we have always lived our own communities and many ways depending on our culture. and we generally not discuss any -- do not discuss any of our community problems with related communities from the other ethnic groups, i think that has to change. i think we have to come together as a broader community. we have to put out where we're doing well and as you said, you know, socioeconomically asians are over achievers on the best high end. but we also have one of the highest poverty in the lowest incomes in lower end. there are problems in our community whether it is domestic violence or, you know, accessibility issues because of language. so many of our communities choose to not take advantage of what society has to offer.
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because of language -- and so this idea of finding the belonging and prosperity for everyone in our asian american community or our -- asian american foundation that we intend to do, and look, i mean i think the reality is it doesn't matter which wrong of the socioeconomic ladder you're on when you're afraid to walk on the streets -- you know, that's really unites everybody in terms of if you look at the surveys recently, you know, 45% of asian american adults have suffered one of the five incidents that people are deemed as anti-asian. so it's -- it's out there and i think that's where we need to look at us as a community as a whole and really be able to say look, we do have great people that have done well. but we also have a lot of people that are not -- living the american dream. and we need to do something about that. >> jerry, are you afraid to go
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out in the streets? have you felt that in the last year? >> you know, yeah. look, i was in new new york and you think twice about it. my mom who was 80, you know, she has i gave her a walking stick and she's like that's not going to do any good. she has mace, and she picked her time to go to the market. so i -- i do think people think about it, and it's interesting because i think to your point about -- other races, you know in conversation with african-american friends you know they learn how to deal with certain situations from a very young age. i think we're having that conversation now and unfortunately me with my mother. >> absolutely. the three of us belong to immigrant families. we've seen these viral videos of our elders being attacked as they go about living their
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lives. from the san francisco bay area, as i mention where many of these attacks are happening, and my parents still have a home there. but i've urged them to remain in taiwan this past year, frankly, because i'm sure they're safer there both from coronavirus as well as this rise in anti-asian sentiment. i was going ask other than your mom has you know changed their lives as a result of the environment we're in today? >> yeah. i mean, i think you know it certainly is the case that everybody with -- a parent of, you know, call it -- sort of senior parent, and there's a lot of discussions going on whether it is online or resources, and i do think that it's -- you know, it is the randomness that really is shocking. and look, we understand the nuances about calling a hate crime or not to women waiting
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-- when two women waiting for bus and staff on bus they claim, of course, you may not have been racially motivated because on the back but for common sense, where people who really are just -- going about waiting for bus that's not acceptable and it's not only not acceptable, it's -- it's a terrible thing that happens, and so i just -- i just think, you know, we hear stories from very wealthy professionals that are on a train from d.c. to new york who is korean, who three teenagers went up to them and hear if bullying incidents -- of bullying incidents in schools in l.a. we hear about upper east side, you know, very well to do asian women get spit on. it is all and it does. this is part of the reason why we decided to track it as a -- data initiative a long ways from
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being completely after it and the methodology needs to be worked out. but these anecdotes are alarming and we need to make sure we understand what is happening. >> so how has covid reinforced sentiments so many asian americans navigate that is being made to feel like a perpetual outsider? >> yeah. and add one thing to jerry's point because all important. these things jerry was talking about, almost 60%, 65% of them all happening in public spaces. so it is not just in -- in, you know, small isolated places ins public places to randomness was scary. because you don't know if you go to a park or go store or in a business that that happens, and covid hasn't helped right because you know we're seen as perpetual foreign outsiders with
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international when covid happens or when something happens in india and really -- they have to remember we're in american story and we are writing american story. but we're not perpetual and we are contributing to the united states. our children go to school here. we are part of the society of our communities, and really remembering that, you know, when you see asian americans don't see them as external to the united states. they are part of the united states. and the last survey i think that -- did showed that 25% of americans think that asian americans are more loyal to their country of origin. and i, you know, or wherever they came from which is unbelievable because we are here and participating in the united states. >> that is such a dangerous sentiment as we've seen in our history. jerry, is any of this tainting for next generation of asian americans? >> such a big part of why we started is for the next
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generation, i think, if you look at the 23 million that we talked about -- we're still one of the fastest growing groups as api community in america but we're also shifting. we're going to become more native for asian americans and i think as you think about people who are born here whether my kids or, you know, many -- many younger generations, this is their home, and there's -- there's no other place to go. and i think -- i think that is one of the big reasons that we feel not only do we need to build something that protects us against tate and the long-term but also something really as someone said so well talk about the positives of belonging and the positives of what asian americans have done for this country. and, you know, be part of a effort to highlight positives that asian american community have contributed to american
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life to this campaign called cse united coming out in next few weeks, but, you know we , really can't talk about hate as -- as the only thing that unites us i think we have to also talk about prosperity and that fairness. and i think we need to do both of them in a way that really -- has next generation in mind. >> last question because we are almost out of time. the cdc just changed its guidance on masking for people who are vaccinated. i know there are mixed feelings about that especially among asian americans who fear that by fully revealing their faces they can make themselveses further attacks, further targets were attacks. at the same time these people feel vulnerable for stanging out -- standing out by wearing a mask. are there occasion where is you will continue to mask and do you personally feel vulnerable to
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attacks? >> first -- well i think this was so important and it is so sad that we have to have this conversation. so when you take off your mask you should be afraid because in essence being able to take off our mask and hug our family and be our families and parents and our grandparents, it shouldn't be scary. but the fact that it is is actually what is sad about whole conversation about them. i think we should all follow rules and science as it is coming out and for a lot of us is rather than be a bistand -- bystander where you see something happening make sure we understand how to help make sure we're participating and helping others when we see hate incidents happen. whether it's in, you know, black communities of latino -- or latino communities to asian american communities it is critical that are not just a bystander if we have multiculture we have to participate and be a part of it.
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>> jerry. >> i -- you know, i think we have to be more everyone thetic -- to be more empathetic and we have to be more accepting of what people want to do and if somebody wants to wear a mask, there's nothing wrong with it and you shouldn't be penalized or scared but i think -- like someone said the fact we're even talking about this -- means that we're still living in a society that is not empathetic not respectful and accepting of other's choices and we have to get past that and mask wearing just one of many issues that i think will come up. so i do hope dialogue and i do hope communication and awareness building does create communication that -- that these issues at least we talk about it and -- and hopefully it goes to be with the society that we all can be. >> unfortunately that's all of the time we have today. thank you so much for coming on with us washington post live and for taking time speak with us.
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>> thank you. >> thank you for the conversation. >> and thank you, audience members, for joining us. next thursday, join washington post live for the next series marking api heritage month with kelly marie tran, the
5:26 am >> next a hearing on improving america's freight industry and supply chains. this senate commerce science and transportation subcommittee hearing is 90 minutes. >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]


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