As the premier Asian American student conference and a longstanding national advocacy organization for the past 30 years, the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) has been responsible for highlighting the relevant issues and providing a voice to Asian Americans across the country. ---
Recently in early March of 2009, the daily satirical digest Generic Good Morning Message (GGMM), disseminated an e-mail to over one thousand members of the Dartmouth student body and alumni upon news of Dr. Jim Yong Kim being named as the new president of Dartmouth College. Instead of heralding the first Asian American president of an Ivy League institution, the e-mail instead decried the "Asianification" of their campus with blatant use of ethnic stereotypes and racially offensive language. Although GGMM have issued the tired excuse of a "bad attempt at satire" for an apology, the members of ECAASU understand how satire is an indicator of ideals that people refuse to state outright because they fear judgment. Thus, the concept of hyperbolic satire does not justify their actions and we as members of ECAASU will not let this underlying mentality go unaddressed.
Thus, the problem lies in what the e-mail represents. The speech used in the e-mail and the decision to send it to so many highlights how many of our peers still believe in the legitimacy of racist humor targeted against Asian Americans. We have been reminded how the speech used in the e-mail recalls a long history of oppression against minorities, and that there exists a mentality among our peers that would be too dangerous to leave unchecked. ECAASU intends to address this larger issue, denouncing the subconscious attitudes that allows for incidents like this to occur.
In the early morning of March 2nd, Thanh Hong, a Vietnamese American student at the University of California at Santa Barbara and his friend were reportedly attacked by four men who emerged from the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. The four men initiated the assault without provocation by yelling racial epithets that included "Chink," "Chinamen" and "Gook" at Thanh. Thanh and his friend eventually escaped after a brutal attack, with Thanh being treated for a facial laceration while his friend suffered from a concussion with partial memory loss. Current investigation is underway and so far the members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity have denied any involvement or an occurrence of such an attack, even though evidence of Thanh's blood remained on the sidewalk in front of their house.
Thus far, the details of this event have recalled a legacy of violent racial oppression against minorities throughout history. We stand together with all Asian Americans and minority groups across the country in condemning this latest act of violence against one of our own. An attack on one is an attack on all of us, and we stand by Thanh, his friend, and his family in ensuring that justice is realized. ECAASU will take action by reaching out to the UCSB campus and its Police Department in resolving this hate crime throughly and appropriately. By keeping up our awareness and efforts, we can be rest assured that this incident will not be swept under the rug and that our voices are properly heard.
ECAASU is committed to combating all elements of racism, stereotypes, and discrimination. Thus, ECAASU will continue to raise awareness on denouncing whatever thinking that inspires these recent hate crimes, advocating on behalf of its constituents and all Asian Americans; we hope to empower anyone who have been hurt or offended to stand up and speak out against racism. Whenever appropriate, ECAASU will open the lines of communication and work through the correct avenues to support the Asian American students at Dartmouth, UCSB and beyond in addressing these latest series of concerning events.
Please contact ECAASU if you have any concerns or suggestions about our position on this issue and if you would like to support us in the next steps towards action.