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Asian American and Pacific Islander Anti-Discrimination Resources

Introduction

This guide is meant to inform about discrimination and violence against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the United States. The intention is to provide a starting point for developing a vocabulary to discuss and contextualize this discrimination and associated violence through readings and other media and to be better prepared with research and information seeking strategies. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the resources available--it's just a starting point.

For additional related resources, please check out our Anti-Racism Resources and COVID-19 guides.

Trigger Warning: Some of the content included in this guide may include violent, disturbing, triggering images, and content that refers to racism and discrimination. Please be advised.

What does AAPI mean?

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is a term sometimes used in the United States to include both Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans.

For more about this term, see "Asian Pacific American" in Wikipedia.

What does "Model Minority" mean?

"Model Minority is a label mainly attached to Asian Americans in contemporary America. It refers to the successful achievements of Asian Americans in especially socioeconomic status and education, despite their history of hardship and racial discrimination since the early nineteenth century. The term was coined in 1966 by William Petersen, who praised Japanese American efforts for assimilation [...]. However, the seemingly benign and celebratory idea of Asian success has been criticized as “mythologizing” Asian Americans. While, as a model minority, Asian Americans are praised as industrious and hardworking, they are viewed as silent, docile, and politically indifferent. The so-called Asian value of a self-reliant work ethic is often quoted as an explanation to Asians’ reluctance to take governmental grant and support. Moreover, the image of hardworking Asians more often than not ends up with demeaning remarks about Asian workaholics, who are claimed to lack emotions and social skills, as well as being politically inactive and nonparticipatory."1 More information about how the "Model Minority" is actually a harmful myth and stereotype can be found in the Myth of the Model Minority section of this guide.

 

1. "Model Minority." In The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Asian American Literature, edited by Guiyou Huang, 702-703. Vol. 2. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009. Gale

eBooks (accessed April 2, 2021). https://library.umd.umich.edu/verify/fwd.php?https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3255500190/GVRL?u=lom_umichdearb&sid=GVRL&xid=455b7145.

What does Xenophobia mean?

"Xenophobia is defined as the fear, distrust, or hatred of foreign persons or anything that is strange or foreign. The word xenophobia comes from the ancient Greek xenos (“stranger” or “guest”) and phobos (fear). It is based on the identification of an in-group and an out-group, with members of the in-group (us) showing animosity toward the out-group (them). Xenophobic behavior is generally motivated by national, ethnic, religious, cultural, sexual, or age-related bias. It is often linked to competition for a finite number of economic resources or benefits and is frequently a reaction to perceived inequalities within a society.

There are two forms of xenophobia. One targets groups that are already established within a given culture, such as naturalized immigrants. The second is directed at persons coming into a community from the outside, such as asylum seekers, refugees, or migrant workers. Even though the concepts of xenophobia and racism are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Racism usually involves hatred of others based on their skin color or other physical features, such as hair type or nose shape. Xenophobia is aimed at foreigners, even if they are of the same race as the host group.

Unlike other kinds of phobias—exaggerated fears that are usually irrational—xenophobia is a political rather than a medical term. Although scholars have found examples of xenophobia across many societies throughout recorded history, it may take different forms depending on the social, political, and economic context. Practices such as compulsory sterilization of foreigners, ethnic cleansing, persecution, forced religious conversion, and discrimination in employment, education, or housing all have their roots in xenophobia. Examples of groups that have been the victims of xenophobia in modern times include migrants, refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, blacks, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) individuals."

 

Krstovic, Jelena. "Xenophobia." In Immigration and Migration: In Context, edited by Thomas Riggs and Kathleen J. Edgar, 874-878. In Context Series. Vol. 2. Farmington Hills,

MI: Gale, 2018. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints (accessed April 2, 2021). https://library.umd.umich.edu/verify/fwd.php?https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX3662200170/OVIC?u=lom_umichdearb&sid=OVIC&xid=2f3ad25c.

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