Reps Raja, Chu In Op-Ed On Anti–AAPI Rhetoric: We Have Been Subjected To Hate Too
India-West Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the Ranking Member of the Select Committee on the CCP, and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), have published a joint op-ed in USA Today about protecting AAPI communities against hateful rhetoric and violence as we seek to strengthen America’s competitive advantage at home and abroad.
In the op-ed, Reps. Krishnamoorthi and Chu write, “We cannot allow history to repeat itself, and it is imperative that we learn from our past to ensure the safety of our communities today. This is precisely why it is so important that while some of our colleagues in Congress race to be the loudest voice speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party, it is equally critical that they, and Americans across the country, learn about our communities’ deep history and contributions to our nation.”
In competition with Chinese Communist Party, anti-Asian rhetoric only divides America Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
For so many in the United States and around the world, our stories embody the American dream. As an immigrant from India and a descendant of Chinese immigrants, our experiences represent what Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders see as possible in the American dream.
The American dream is about hope for the next generation, and this dream has served as a beacon for immigrants to the United States for more than two centuries. It has persevered through myriad global changes, challenges, and opportunities – including present-day competition with the Chinese Communist Party to determine whether our international order is liberal and democratic or illiberal and autocratic.
How anti-Asian hate crimes begin
Competition can bring out the worst in us. An us-versus-them mentality has led to tragedies of our past: the lynchings of Chinese workers in the 1800s; incarceration camps of Japanese Americans during World War II; the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American man who was killed in 1982 by those who blamed Japan for job losses; surveillance and xenophobic backlash against Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Middle Eastern and South Asian Americans after 9/11; and more than 11,500 anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents since the beginning of COVID-19.
Our communities have seen through our own country’s history what can happen when unchecked rhetoric fans the flames of prejudice. Japanese American incarceration didn’t happen overnight – in fact, the widely accepted targeting of Japanese Americans during World War II began with attacking the community’s leaders.
We are now seeing alien land laws restricting the property ownership rights of individuals from specific countries being introduced in states across the country, just as we saw as far back as the 1800s when they targeted Asian immigrants.
Our government surveilled Muslim communities and mosques after 9/11, and now we must ensure that the civil rights of Chinese Americans are not eroded in the name of national security.
We cannot allow history to repeat itself, and it is imperative that we learn from our past to ensure the safety of our communities today. This is precisely why it is so important that while some of our colleagues in Congress race to be the loudest voice speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party, it is equally critical that they, and Americans across the country, learn about our communities’ deep history and contributions to our nation.
Ugly stereotypes damage our democracy
Even as members of Congress today, we haven’t been immune to such hate. Recently, we saw one of our own colleagues consider the renewed focus on the Washington-Beijing relationship a green light to accuse Congresswoman Judy Chu of misplaced loyalties falsely and maliciously.
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has also had his loyalty to the United States questioned.
Comments and actions like these aren’t just reprehensible and condemnable, they also are the antithesis of the American dream and damage the health of our democracy. Ugly stereotypes of Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners and “others” in our own land only serve to suppress our voices and limit our potential.
We will continue to fight for an American dream that includes everyone’s stories. It’s a dream we can attest to firsthand.
If we seek to compete – against China or any other country – let’s remind the world who we are at our best: a country that welcomes millions of Asian Americans and gives us an opportunity to succeed and the freedom to weave our identities into the American fabric.
It’s that strength that will carry us confidently into the future. An America that can outcompete anyone, anywhere, will be an America where Chinese Americans and all Asian Americans feel safe to build, innovate and do what every other immigrant group has done over the course of American history: realize the American dream.
At a recent hearing of the Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, Congressman Krishnamoorthi reminded members of both sides of the aisle that “the CCP is counting on us being divided.” That division cuts at the very core of our strength as a country.
As he said then, and we say together in one voice now: We must rise to the occasion and prove them wrong.
Let’s show the rest of the world what we know to be true: We don’t need to tear down others to win the future.
The American dream is strong enough on its own; we see it lived in ourselves, our families and our communities every day.