The global coronavirus pandemic has brought with it an ugly wave of anti-Asian racism and discrimination. Today on the show, journalist Helen Zia and Bo Thao-Urabe from the Coalition of Asian American Leaders discuss the long history of anti-Asian racism in this country, the renewed xenophobia stoked by the Trump administration, the surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans, the connections to immigration and deportation—especially among Hmong residents in the Upper Midwest—and what we can do to combat racism in our own communities.
Bo Thao-Urabe is co-founder and executive & network director at the Coalition of Asian American Leaders in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has also co-founded several other organizations, including the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence and Hmong Women Achieving Together. In 2015, she was appointed by President Obama as a Commissioner to the President’s Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Helen Zia is a Chinese American journalist and activist for Asian American and LGBTQ rights based in San Francisco. She is former executive editor of Ms. Magazine and the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000) and co-author (with Wen Ho Lee) of My Country Versus Me (Hyperion, 2002). We discussed her latest book, Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution (Ballantine Books, 2019), on the show last year.
Helen recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post, “Targeting Asians and Asian Americans Will Make it Harder to Stop COVID-19.”