Andrew Yang Says Asians Need To 'Show Our American-ness' In Order To Avoid Racism

"It shouldn't be on Asians to prove we're American by sacrifice," one Twitter user wrote in response to an op-ed written by the former 2020 hopeful.
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Andrew Yang 鈥檚 name is trending on Twitter, but for many Asian Americans, something isn鈥檛 adding up.

In a Washington Post op-ed published Wednesday, the former presidential candidate, who suspended his 2020 campaign in February, attempted to address the increasing incidents of harassment and blatant racism against Asians amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In what he described as a 鈥call to action,鈥 the businessman argued that Asian Americans should combat coronavirus-related racism by helping to end the public health crisis, urging them to 鈥渉elp our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations鈥 and 鈥渄emonstrate that we are part of the solution.鈥

鈥淲e Asian Americans need to embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before,鈥 he added in the article, titled, 鈥淲e Asian Americans Are Not the Virus, but We Can Be Part of the Cure.鈥

By late Thursday, more than 6,000 tweets had turned 鈥淎ndrew Yang鈥 into a trending name, with people criticizing the former presidential hopeful for suggesting that the burden should be on Asian people in the United States to prove that they deserve to be in the country.

The op-ed opens with an anecdote about how Yang felt last week when a man outside a grocery store gave him an 鈥渁ccusatory鈥 look.

鈥淚 felt self-conscious 鈥 even a bit ashamed 鈥 of being Asian,鈥 the entrepreneur wrote, explaining that he had occasionally felt this way growing up and that it was 鈥渢he first time in years鈥 the feeling had gotten to him.

By and large, Yang said, he has remained unfazed by microaggressions. But because the coronavirus has led to a major spike in 鈥減hysical and verbal abuse鈥 against Asian Americans, along with an increase in Asians requesting counseling services, Yang said that 鈥渢hings have changed.鈥

鈥淲e all know why. The coronavirus is devastating communities and lives. People鈥檚 livelihoods and families are being destroyed. And people are looking for someone to blame,鈥 the former tech executive wrote.

鈥淚 obviously think that being racist is not a good thing. But saying 鈥楧on鈥檛 be racist toward Asians鈥 won鈥檛 work,鈥 he continued.

Instead, Yang argued, Asian Americans should be the ones who prove to the rest of the United States that they really are Americans.

鈥淲e 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,鈥 he wrote.

In other words, as many people on Twitter summarized, Asians should keep their heads down and focus on assimilation, or the idea that immigrants and people of color need to adapt to white America to be accepted.

In the op-ed, Yang seemingly showed sympathy toward people who look at Asians and associate them immediately with the coronavirus, saying, 鈥淧eople are hurting.鈥

鈥淭hey look up and see someone who is different from them, whom they wrongly associate with the upheaval of their way of life,鈥 he added.

鈥淚t shouldn鈥檛 be on Asians to prove we鈥檙e American by sacrifice,鈥 one Twitter user pointed out. 鈥淲e prove we鈥檙e American by fighting things that should be un-American, like racism 鈥 and not just when it happens to us.鈥

鈥淒o you think the guy who harasses me on the street cares about community work we鈥檝e done?鈥 another user wrote.

One person criticized Yang for saying Japanese Americans during World War II 鈥渧olunteered for military duty at the highest possible levels to demonstrate that they were Americans鈥 as part of his argument.

鈥淭his rhetoric is extremely dangerous and takes me back to the WWII camps, when Japanese Americans were encouraged to display their patriotism as a response to being treated like prisoners,鈥 the person wrote on Twitter.

Still others said Yang鈥檚 op-ed failed to address the role that oppression has had on Asians in the United States.

Throughout his presidential run, Yang was often rebuked for playing up harmful stereotypes about Asians and Asian Americans, from adopting 鈥淢ATH鈥 鈥 or 鈥淢ake America Think Harder鈥 鈥 as his campaign slogan to implying he knows a lot of doctors because of his race at a cringeworthy presidential debate.

Since the end of his campaign, Yang has transitioned into his new role as a political commentator for CNN and plans to launch a weekly podcast with the Cadence13 network about public policy, technology and social issues, called 鈥Yang Speaks.鈥

Though it鈥檚 all fine and great that Yang has chosen to remain in the spotlight, especially since national media is lacking in people of color, his op-ed for The Washington Post isn鈥檛 doing Asian Americans any favors in the acceptance and inclusion department 鈥 and it鈥檚 certainly not 鈥減art of the solution.鈥


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