|After yet another week of racist and misogynist violence directed at Asians and those of Asian descent in North America, I write to express solidarity with and deep care for all colleagues, communities, and families who are experiencing escalating anti-Asian harassment and violence.|
The Ho Centre for Buddhist Studies condemns racism, misogyny, and heteropatriarchy in no uncertain terms. Addressing the recent increase in anti-Asian racism is not only an individual responsibility – it is also our collective and institutional duty. As a backbone of white supremacy in North America, anti-Asian racism is not new, although each act of violence is newly received in the bodies of victims and their allies. As scholars and students of Buddhist Studies, we commit to directly addressing our field’s legacy of orientalism and imperialism, and to supporting and defending all students, educators, and community leaders who are engaged in anti-racist work.
In my course this semester on Buddhist meditation and race in North America, we’ve been working to better understand how forces like colonialism, racism, orientalism, and white supremacy play roles in our everyday experiences – and how we can more fully embrace attitudes and practices that are oriented to anti-racism and social justice. This week, for example, we’ve been studying Sharon Suh’s work on meditation as a strategy for addressing internalized white supremacy, and next week we’ll be learning how, despite histories of discrimination against Asian Buddhist communities in Canada, some communities are taking strong anti-racist action. News of terrorism, both locally and around the world, is so painful and our students are struggling to manage it all – but education and open conversation can help. Below are a few resources we’ve been sharing.
Resources for Further Learning and Action
Project 1907, a great list of resources created by a grassroots group of Asian women working for racial justice movement
Hollaback Bystander Intervention Training, free bystander intervention training against anti-Asian and Asian American racism and xenophobia
Stop Asian Hate, resources about the oppression of Asian and Asian American people and their work for justice
Report by Stop AAPI Hate on hate incidents in the United States during 2020-21
Readings on the history of anti-Asian racism and how to be an anti-racist ally,compiled by Jennifer Ho at University of Colorado Boulder
Why This Wave of Anti-Asian Racism Feels Different, March 17 essay in The Atlantic by Cathy Park Hong
Antiracist Toolkit and Asian American Racial Justice Toolkit – on educating and assessing ourselves; examining and revising our work; and enacting change.
“Coronavirus and Racism: Asian-Americans in the Crossfire,” July 2020 episode of Asia Matters podcast with Christine R. Yano (University of Hawaii at Manoa) and Jennifer Pan (Stanford University)
“Black and Asian American Feminist Solidarities: A Reading List,” created by Black Women Radicals
Please be well, care for each other, and stay in touch.
Dr. Frances Garrett (she/her)
Director, Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Center for Buddhist Studies
Associate Professor, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies
Department for the Study of Religion
University of Toronto