You can’t save Chinatowns without addressing anti-Asian violence

It’s ironic but not surprising that recent attacks against Asian elders are happening simultaneously with “save Chinatown” efforts, Jenny G. Zhang wrote for Eater. For people who live outside these communities, their relationships to Chinatowns often revolve around consumption—in the form of photographs, cultural experiences, and food and drink. “Americans may love Chinese food, but they don’t love the people who make it. … They treat Chinatowns like playgrounds,” wrote Zhang. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic one year ago, many Chinese people and those mistaken for them have experienced anti-Asian attacks. Asians are often perceived as one unidentifiable foreign mass, the homogenous “Other,” with “each distinct ethnicity erased or weaponized depending on whatever’s convenient at the time.” Zhang said the efforts to save Chinatowns by patronizing their restaurants is a well-intentioned but short-term approach to a longer uphill battle in combating anti-Asian discrimination in this country.

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