A recent surge of high-profile attacks against Asian Americans has been bringing to light the often overlooked racism and discrimination that have affected Asian American communities for decades. In the past year alone, there have been more than 3,700 incidences of hate crimes against Asian Americans, up 17% from 2019. Although recent increases in racist incidences have been attributed largely to scapegoating surrounding COVID-19, discrimination against Asian Americans has remained a largely unacknowledged issue for centuries, grounded in a long history of oppression.


Asian Americans have faced unique challenges to their citizenship and identity since they first immigrated to the U.S. as contract laborers in the 1850s. Although they made up only 0.002% of the national population at the time, Asian Americans represented 20% of the workforce in the West Coast and played a vital role in developing early American infrastructure, such as railroads and mines. Despite these contributions, many non-Asian citizens felt threatened by the new wave of immigration, leading Congress to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the only United States law passed by Congress to prevent immigration and naturalization on the basis of race. Chinese immigration drastically declined as a result, dropping from 39,500 immigrants in 1882 to only 10 in 1887. In fact, immigration laws remained discriminatory toward Asians until 1965 when non-restrictive yearly quotas of 20,000 immigrants were established for every country in response to the civil rights movement. Asian Americans further saw waves of discrimination during World War II when Japanese Americans were held in inhumane internment camps in a shocking violation of civil rights. 


Today, Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic in the United States with a population of 21 million citizens, representing more than 20 countries. Yet, the long history of discrimination and oppression against Asian Americans continues. In support of recent movements to combat Asian American, Pacific Islander (AAPI) discrimination, we take a look back at the legacy of the AAPI diaspora in the U.S. and ways to support AAPI communities today. 



“Anti-racism resources to support Asian American, Pacific Islander community” by Kate Ly Johnson, NBC News

From educational resources to charitable foundations, there are many ways to be an ally and support Asian American, Pacific Islander communities throughout the nation.


“America’s long history of scapegoating its Asian citizens” by Nina Strochlic, National Geographic

For decades, state-sanctioned scapegoating of Asian Americans has perpetuated stereotypes that harm Asian American communities, including the recent use of “China virus“ by national leaders to describe the ongoing pandemic.


“Asian Americans Are Still Caught in the Trap of the ‘Model Minority’ Myth. And It Creates Inequality For All”  by Viet Than Nguyen, Time

Pulitzer prize-winning author Viet Than Nguyen discusses the pressures of conforming to the “Model Minority” myth and what it means for race relations across the nation in this powerful op-ed.


“There were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against women, in past year” by Kimmy Yam, NBC News

A disproportionate number of anti-Asian hate incidences have been directed towards Asian women due to troubling stereotypes that often portray Asian women as vulnerable and easy targets.


“8 Badass Asian-Americans We Can’t Overlook This Women’s History Month” by Britanny Wong, HuffPost

In light of women’s history month, we celebrate the often overlooked accomplishments of Asian American women throughout history.




"Asian Americans" by PBS (2020)

A five-part documentary series explores the historical and ongoing impacts of the Asian American diaspora through intimate personal stories.


“How to Start Conversations About Anti-Asian Racism With Your Family” by Anna Sirianni, NPR

Conversations about racism may be uncomfortable but are more necessary now than ever, as recent spikes in anti-Asian hate crimes highlight a need for more intimate discussion and awareness on these issues.


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