For Immediate Release:
Date: April 13, 2023
|Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director|
WASHINGTON – Last week, NAPABA submitted written testimony for inclusion in the record before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) in response to its briefing and inquiry on the Federal Government’s Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States. As a bar association, NAPABA recognizes that serving the immediate legal needs of hate crimes and hate incident victims addresses only one critical aspect of the problem and that our community cannot prosecute or litigate our way out of this latest wave of anti-Asian hate.
NAPABA’s testimony advocates for a multi-modal response, and has called for legislation to: 1) strengthen law enforcement’s ability to identify, document, and respond to hate crimes, including by fully implementing provisions of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act; 2) address the mental health crisis that has accompanied the surge in anti-Asian hate with culturally and linguistically appropriate resources; and 3) increase educational resources to combat harmful stereotypes in order to address root causes of anti-Asian sentiment.
Over three decades ago, in a report entitled, “Civil Rights Issues Facing Asian Americans in the 1990s,” the USCCR identified a range of contributory factors underlying anti-Asian bias, including: 1) the model minority myth that Asian Americans are successful and do not suffer the discrimination or disadvantages associated with other minority groups; 2) perpetual foreigner syndrome where Asian Americans—even those born and raised in the United States are viewed as non-Americans and foreign; 3) stereotyping Asian Americans as meek and lacking in communications skills; and 4) limited English proficiency (LEP) within the Asian American population. More than 30 years later, these factors continue to persist and several have been cited by NAPABA in its groundbreaking Portrait Project reports as leading barriers to advancement by APA attorneys in the legal profession.
Given how little has changed just in the past 30 years, it is clear that for generations of AAPIs, these barriers are engrained and systemic and only a holistic, multi-pronged approach that includes raising visibility and belonging through education, providing culturally appropriate mental health resources, and increasing language access, in addition to supporting law enforcement, can address anti-Asian sentiment.