At Immigrant History Initiative, we are dedicated to re-telling the history of the United States in ways that include the lives and experiences of people of color, beginning with the history of Asian Americans. This learning and un-learning process requires confronting the fact that America was built with the stolen labor of black slaves, and maintained by a system designed to dispossess black people of power, freedom and humanity.
It is the same system that imported thousands of Chinese laborers into the U.S., proposed to use them as a solution to the “problem” of emancipation, lynched them and expelled them from towns, and passed laws to exclude them. It is the same system that denied citizenship to immigrants of Asian origin for a century and imprisoned them on Angel Island for months to years as white officials interrogated the legality of their belonging. It is the same system that let the murderers of Vincent Chin off with a $3,000 fine after they beat him to death with a baseball bat for being a “Jap” who was stealing their jobs. It is the same system that incarcerated Japanese Americans during WWII, interrogated and deported Chinese Americans during the Cold War, surveilled and detained Muslim Americans after 9/11, and continues to challenge the belonging of people in this country because of the color of their skin.
It is also the same system that uses the myth of a “model minority” to oppress black people, while continuing to exclude and deny belonging to those that it purports to elevate to whiteness.
As much as learning this history has taught us that racism is deeply, historically entrenched and systemic, it has also taught us that solidarity can prevail against white supremacy. In the 1960s, Asian Americans protested with African Americans against racism, imperialism, war, and xenophobia. Black, Asian, and Latinx students came together to form the Third World Liberation Front to fight for ethnic studies and self-determination through education. African American activists advocated for an end to racist immigration laws and to welcome Southeast Asian refugees. Without the Civil Rights Movement, there would be no Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and the United States would not be as diverse as it is today. These stories are endless, but they have also been suppressed systematically in an education system that prioritizes certain narratives over others.
We are committed to using history and education to un-learn these problematic narratives and work toward a just and anti-racist society. This mission necessitates that we:
Through solidarity, we build power. If any of this history sounds unfamiliar to you, we urge you to educate yourselves on all of it. Our resources are provided for free online, and we will continue sharing other sources to give a deeper understanding of the history of racism in this country.
Immigrant History Initiative
Other BLM Resources:
1. Spreadsheet of Education Resources and Literature and list of Black owned bookstores and book clubs: https://tinyurl.com/ycj6wqje
2. Document of BLM resources: https://tinyurl.com/ycw3zs9q
3. Document of additional BLM resources: https://tinyurl.com/ybw2hdg5
4. Reading and Media List: Born Black in the "Age of Mass Incarceration": https://tinyurl.com/yaejno42
5. Black History Month Reading List for Asian Americans: https://18millionrising.org/2020/02/bhm_reads.html
Leave a Reply.
Read about the latest updates on the Immigrant History Initiative's projects.