The Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison stands in solidarity with those in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states across the country who are rising up in support of Black lives. We, too, condemn the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Tony Robinson, and countless others. We will continue to struggle to end the brutality of policing, incarceration, denial of health care, environmental toxicity, and other forms of state-sanctioned violence. As scholars of racialization and racism in the United States, we recognize this violence to be rooted in the structures of anti- Black racial capitalism. As such, transformative justice will not be found in the punishment of police officers – no matter how satisfying – but only through the redistribution of wealth, prison abolition, and the dismantling of racial capitalism, which perpetuates the bankrupt logic that values property over human life.
While Asian Americans and Black people have long been forced to live side by side in enclosed geographies and experience the pain of dispossession and displacement, we recognize the centrality of anti-blackness in structuring these experiences. We know the precarity of surviving economically in a country predicated on our exploitation. We also understand that both the punishments and rewards we receive as the perpetual foreigner and as the model minority are part of the same disciplinary logic that lead first to the premature death of Black people.
Still, several Asian American police officers have been involved in the murders of Black people – most infamously, Peter Liang in the case of Akai Gurley and most recently, Tou Thao in the case of George Floyd. We call upon Asian Americans to reckon with our complicities with state-sanctioned violence and economic racism in the United States. We must continue to build a coalitional movement for justice.