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Asian women say shootings point to relentless, racist tropes

For Christine Liwag Dixon and others, the bloodshed in Georgia — six Asian women among the many useless, allegedly killed by a person who blamed his “sexual addiction” — was a brand new and horrible chapter within the shameful historical past of Asian women being diminished to intercourse objects.

“I’ve had people either assume that I’m a sex worker or assume that, as a Filipino woman, I will do anything for money because they assume that I’m poor,” mentioned Dixon, a contract author and musician in New York City. “I had an old boss who offered me money for sex once.”

Tuesday’s rampage at three Atlanta-area therapeutic massage companies prompted Asian American women to share tales of being sexually harassed or demeaned.

They say they’ve usually had to tolerate racist and misogynistic males who cling to a story that Asian women are unique and submissive.

Elaine Kim, who’s Korean American and a professor emeritus in Asian American research on the University of California, Berkeley, recalled being crassly harassed by white younger males whereas she was in highschool. Later in life, certainly one of her white college students made sexualizing feedback concerning the Asian women in her class and lurked outdoors their residences.

Kim was reminded of those moments when she heard that the person accused within the Atlanta-area shootings had mentioned he had acted as a result of his targets tempted him.

“I think it’s likely that the killer not only had a sex addiction but also an addiction to fantasies about Asian women as sex objects,” she mentioned.

Two of the Georgia therapeutic massage companies had been repeatedly focused in prostitution investigations prior to now 10 years, in accordance to police information. The paperwork present that 12 folks had been arrested on prostitution expenses, however none since 2013.

The suspect within the shootings, a 21-year-old white man, thought-about the women contained in the spas “sources of temptation,” police mentioned.

Grace Pai, a director of organizing at Chicago’s Asian Americans Advancing Justice department, referred to as that characterization of the assaults “a real slap in the face to anyone who identifies as an Asian American woman.”

“We know exactly what this racialized misogyny looks like,” Pai mentioned. “And to think that someone targeted three Asian-owned businesses that were staffed by Asian American women, and didn’t have race or gender in mind is just absurd.”

Framing the women who had been killed as “sources of temptation” locations blame on the women as those “who were there to tempt the shooter, who is merely the victim of temptation,” mentioned Catherine Ceniza Choy, a University of California, Berkeley, professor of ethnic research and a Filipino American lady. She mentioned this state of affairs echoes a long-running stereotype that Asian women are immoral and hypersexual.

“That may be the way the alleged shooter and killer thinks of it, that you can compartmentalize race in this box and sex addiction in a separate box. But it doesn’t work that way,” Choy mentioned. “These things are intertwined, and race is central to this conversation.”

Stereotypes of Asian women as “dragon ladies” or sexually accessible companions have been round for hundreds of years. From the second Asian women started to migrate to the U.S., they had been the targets of hypersexualization, mentioned Ellen Wu, a historical past professor at Indiana University.

The Page Act of 1875 prohibited women coming to the U.S. from wherever for “immoral purposes,” however the regulation was largely enforced in opposition to Chinese women.

“As early as the 1870s, white Americans were already making this association, this assumption of Asian women being walking sex objects,” Wu mentioned.

Asian lives are seen as “interchangeable and disposable,” she mentioned. “They are objectified, seen as less than human. That helps us understand violence toward Asian women like we saw this week.”

U.S. navy deployments in Asia additionally performed a job, in accordance to Kim. She mentioned the navy has lengthy fueled intercourse trafficking there, beginning after the Spanish-American War, when traffickers and brothel house owners within the Philippines purchased and bought women and women to meet the calls for of U.S. troopers.

During the Vietnam War, women from Thailand and plenty of different Asian nations had been used for intercourse by U.S. troopers at varied “rest and recreation” spots. The our bodies and perceived submissiveness of Asian women had been eroticized and hypersexualized, Kim mentioned, and ultimately these racist stereotypes had been introduced again to the United States.

In American tradition, Asian lady have been fetishized as submissive, hypersexual and unique, mentioned Christine Bacareza Balance, an Asian American research professor at Cornell University and a Filipina lady.

A main instance is the wildly well-liked 1887 novel, “Madame Chrysantheme,” a French narrative, translated into English, wherein Japanese women are referred to as “playthings” and “China ornaments.” More lately, an Asian lady has typically been portrayed in movies as both “a manipulative, dragon lady temptress or the submissive, innocent `lotus blossom’ meant to please a man,” Balance mentioned.

Choy, the ethnic research professor at Berkeley, mentioned Tuesday’s shootings and subsequent efforts to take away race from the dialog is yet one more instance of the denial of the racism and sexism Asian and Asian American women face.

“In American society, Asian Americans are not seen and listened to,” she mentioned. “We are seen in specific ways at times, as model minorities, as projections of white, male fantasy, but we are not seen as full-fledged Americans. We are not seen as full human beings. It’s a kind of erasure and dehumanisation.”

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