Arts & Humanities: Don't Leave College Without Them

Dear Asian Youth

has Covid-19. Sounds ludicrous and insane, but that logic fueled their motivation to assault every Asian person they see. As a result, the Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) reported 2,808 inci - dents of discrimination across the US from March to December 2020. Roughly 230,000 Asian businesses were closed due to the social distancing guidelines and racism as a contributing factor. I immigrated to the US from Vietnam at the age of nine with my parents and my sister. Watching my parents working day and night to provide for us motivated me to become successful so that I can repay them. It was a difficult twelve years of hard work to get to where I am today. I have also experienced my fair share of racism, but they do not bother me much as I have learned to confront them. In our culture, elders are considered to be wise and well respected, seeing them being targeted shocked me to my core. I feel sick to my stomach and on the verge of tears whenever I see defenseless and inno- cent Asian elders being assaulted. These elders have sacrificed everything back home to immigrate to the United States in hope of finding a better life for their children. All I can see are my grandpa, my grandma, my mom, my dad, my aunt, and my uncle being shoved and beaten. However, instead of attacking and demonizing mis- guided, racist people, we should take charge and con- front them through our knowledge in the arts and hu- manities to show them that there is more to minority people than just their stereotypes. Literature analysis and history, and philosophy classes can provide us the abilities to engage in civil debates and critical think- ing. We can confront racism by providing arguments

by Sang Duong

I am a Mechanical Engineering major looking to pursue a career in creating thermodynamic systems. I've done research to develop humidity sensors by using conductive graphene ink. Outside of STEM, I have a passion for music and writing.

In early January, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died of a brain hemorrhage after being shoved on his morn- ing walk. On January 31, a 91-year-old Asian elder was shoved while walking in Oakland, resulting in his death. On Feb 23, A 67-year-old Asian man was attacked and robbed inside a laundromat. These stories are only a tiny piece of a larger picture of the rising hate crime against Asian-Americans. It took a worldwide pandemic from Wuhan, a president coining terms like “kung-flu” and “China virus,” and an uptick in violence against Asian- American to bring awareness to a community that has been suffering in silence. Racism against Asians has al - ways been prevalent in the United States, but it is rarely a subject frequently discussed in the media. This is more than an issue of racism. Racism and hate are a product of ignorance that plagues all of us. No technology or math- ematical equation can help us combat ignorance. The only way to combat prejudice and bigotry is to socially educate ourselves and others through the studies of the arts and humanities. I can already see all the eye rolls upon reading that last sentence. How do the arts help fight anti-Asian racism? Hear me out. The arts and humanities are incredibly broad fields. They aim to improve our understanding of

the world around us through analyzing human interac- tion, culture, and literature. Despite being so broad, with many different areas of studies, every arts and humanities path will teach you three important skills: critical thinking, becoming culturally aware, and lead- ership. These are the skills that will be crucial to slowly eradicate hatred and racism. Oxford Languages defined racism as being “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a per- son or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” Racist people see other races as inferior, they often impose negative assump- tions about people who they have never met before. They do not have the ability to critically think outside of the negative stereotypes that they were taught by the media they consume. The pandemic caused mass hysteria throughout the world. A virus coming from a foreign country combined with a president that encourages racist behavior was all that’s needed to confirm people’s biases against Asian-Americans. Their logic dictates that every Asian person must have been from China, and if the virus came from China, that must mean every Asian person

and statistics that challenge, but not ridicule, their belief. We can show them that being Asian does not equate to be- ing Chinese or carrying a deadly virus. We can encourage them to look at different news sources and teach them to formulate an educated opinion with facts and logic, rather than someone on the TV telling them what to think. Of course, this will not be an easy task. Many of them will not be receptive to information that challenges their worldview. You cannot change someone’s belief that they


Arts & Humanities

Don’t Leave College Without Them


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