The American Political Science Association condemns the mass shooting and murder of eight individuals, six of whom were women of Asian descent, in Georgia on Tuesday March 16, 2021. We condemn this act of racial and ethnic violence and all incidents of racial and ethnic violence and discrimination committed against members of the Asian and Asian American community over the past year.
We mourn the eight lives that were taken and offer condolences to their families. The shooting, which targeted Asian women specifically, at their place of employment was a horrific reminder of the long history of systemic anti-Asian racism, gender and sexuality-based discrimination, and xenophobia in the United States, the depths of racist misogyny, and the consequences of politicians’ recent inflammatory, sexist, racist and false rhetoric demonizing the Asian community and Asian nations amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This violent incident has also highlighted the intersectionalities of gender, sexuality, racial and class oppression experienced by women of Asian descent in the United States.
Political science scholarship provides a framework for understanding the latest eruption of violence against the Asian community in the United States. The racist misogyny, which has roots in America’s white supremacist history–including the US government’s exclusionary immigration policies of the 19th century, Western colonialist and misogynistic views of Asia and Asian women, and the racist internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and scapegoating of Asian Americans for phenomena like economic recessions or pandemics—has led to the deadly escalation of Anti-Asian and Anti-Asian American violent hate incidents since March 2020, according to Stop AAPI Hate.
As APSA’s Race, Ethnicity and Politics section leadership illustrated in their letter dated, March 18, 2021, discrimination and violence against Asian Americans in the United States is a significant part of America’s history. In many cases, this history is misrepresented or underrepresented or completely ignored in American Government and history textbooks.
White supremacy in the United States has fueled discrimination and has obscured and erased the violent realities of anti-Asian American racism from the public narrative. As Drs. Whitney Hua and Jane Junn wrote in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, “[r]acial implicit biases and discrimination against all communities of color, including Asian Americans, are preserved as the racial order continues to exist and normalize them.”
We want to express our support and concern for the Asian and Asian American political science community. The long-standing Committee on the Status of Asian Pacific Americans and the Asian Pacific American Caucus have been leading the association in centering research and scholarship by and about Asian and Asian American communities. APSA will work to bring to bear resources and will support the scholarship of Asian and Asian American political scientists whose research addresses these historical and political dynamics as well as the collection of accurate data on the AAPI community. APSA has committed, through a presidential task force, to identifying and removing the systems and structures in the discipline that lead to bias and inequities for Asian and Asian American Scholars and their scholarship.
Steven Rathgeb Smith
APSA Executive Director