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Florida International University Hosts Margaret Cho As Part Of Anti-Asian Racism Panel

Margaret Cho speaking on Zoom panel about anti-Asian racism.
FIU Center for the Humanities in an Urban Environment and the Asian Studies Program
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Margaret Cho speaking on FIU Zoom panel about anti-Asian racism.

The Center for Humanities at Florida International University held a virtual panel Tuesday to protest Anti-Asian racism, given the recent rise in violence against Asian Americans.

Comedian Margaret Cho was among the panelists. She denounced the “model minority” stereotype, which claims that Asian people are inherently more successful than other ethnic groups in the United States.

“Model minority makes me really angry because it's as if there are other minorities that are not a model, so it sets us against others and it gives us no unity with the oppressed,” Cho said.

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Cho also said the recent rise in AAPI violence since the pandemic started was a manifestation of existing, underlying racism against Asian people.

“I can't imagine that people are actually dumb enough to think that these arguments are even about the coronavirus. Obviously, they're just looking for reasons to lash out. But the racism is already there. The coronavirus is merely just the carrier,” she said.

Stop AAPI Hate, a national tracking center, has recorded more than 3,000 reports of Anti-Asian hate incidents since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, a mass shooting in the Atlanta-area left six Asian women dead.

Other speakers included dean of the FIU business school Joanne Li, UCLA professor Sean Metzger, assistant professor Mitzi Carter and Rutgers chair of Public History and Humanities Jack Tchen.

The panelists presented on the history of oppression against Asian Americans in the U.S., including the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment camps during World War II.

Attendees had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions, with many commenting they were deeply moved by the personal accounts of panelists, many of whom shared their own experiences and relationships with race and racism in the country.

Carter, for example, conducts research on the transnational understandings of Blackness and race in Japan. She talked about how her mom, an Okinawan woman, and her dad, a Black American, experienced racialization in the United States.

“By excavating their tangled stories of marginalization, we might see the routes of white supremacy a little bit more clearly and then be able to build stronger forms of solidarity,” she said.