Commentary: Black-Asian solidarity has a long history in America

Commentary: Black-Asian solidarity has a long history in America
April 07
12:19 2021

By Vincent L. Hall, Texas Metro News

Now this one will probably get me into trouble, but it does not matter. There is undeniable evidence that my mama and God love me. That’s enough for me, and even if it were not, this has to be said. I am tired of Black folks who spew disinformation and ignorance. 

White privilege may make allowances for some, but not for us. After the horrific murders of some of our Asian sisters in Georgia, the press started asking whether or not the Black community would align with them to stop the senseless racist attacks against them spurred on by Trump and his merry band of white supremacists. It was devastating to me to read many of the social media responses and sickening to hear them among friends and family. 

“What did the Asians ever do for us? I don’t remember them being a part of our civil rights struggle!” 

There are three significant flaws in this dismissive reasoning. First, reportedly, only 3-5% of Black folks followed King and the civil rights movement in general. Second, plenty of Asians like our Jewish brothers and sisters went to bat for us. Go back and read the history. Finally, the revolutionary fight for the liberation of all peoples should never be conditional. Good people must challenge racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression without regard to the race, ethnicity, or government on either side of the equation. 

Many believe as I do, that Jesus Christ was of African descent. However, if that same Jesus died for Africans but no one else, he would not be worthy of my spiritual allegiance. 

We should pounce on injustice in the world roundly and without question. How shallow is it to ask, “What did Asians or Mexicans or anyone else ever do for us?” Miss me with that dumb sh!t! Nothing in the Christian credo or ethos requires compensation or reparations for good deeds. Nevertheless, for the sake of the naysayers, let me reiterate a few of the main points of a CNN article by Van Jones, “Black-Asian solidarity has a long and storied history in America!” This may be the only time you ever hear me quote Van Jones. “Legendary civil rights icon Frederick Douglass gave a speech about immigration in 1869 at a moment when restricting Chinese and Japanese migration to the United States was central to the political debate. 

Douglass took a strong stand for a “composite nation” with free migration as a fundamental human right. When Filipinos decided to fight for their country’s independence instead of accepting U.S. colonial rule, the U.S. launched a war against them. That war created a crisis of conscience for some African American soldiers. Prominent African American figures like Henry M. Turner and Ida B. Wells empathized with the Filipino freedom fighters and spoke out on their behalf. African American opposition to the Vietnam War was widespread. Leaders like Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out. Protesters carried signs reading, “Black men should fight White racism, not Vietnamese freedom fighters.” 

Near the end of his life, an embattled Malcolm X was isolated from the Nation of Islam. As he struggled to forge a new path for himself, Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese American human rights activist, stood by his side. The two became friends and helped each other develop global perspectives on human rights. When assassins gunned Malcolm X down, it was Kochiyama who famously cradled his head as he lay dying on the floor of the Audubon Ballroom. 

My angst is simple regarding the need for African Americans to take a stand against injustice anywhere that poses a threat to justice everywhere. Dr. King made it plain.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” He ended that quote with another equally compelling line. “You could start right now by doing a small part to treat people with dignity, courtesy, and respect.” As the most hated people on planet earth, African Americans should show some respect and regard to our Asian-American family’s plight in this critical juncture of American history. Dr. King was assassinated 10 days before Easter and 53 years ago. Let us honor his legacy rather than distorting it. It is always right to fight injustice.

Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and award-winning columnist.

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