In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in the Atlanta area, which ended with eight people dead, six of them Asian, there has been growing awareness of the bigotry faced by AAPI communities. And as always, it’s comics who to say what those in power won’t. Amber Ruffin, whose self-titled late night Peacock show began late last month, devoted a segment of Friday’s show to laying out the long history of anti-Asian racism coursing through American history and up to the present day.
“America has a long, violent history of scapegoating Asian people, which I, a comedian, will try to tell you about in the five minutes I have between commercials because the American school system has failed us all,” Muffin said.
She touched on our present — how crimes again Asian-Americans skyrocketed 150% last year. “It’s really impossible — Trump — to say — Trump — why something like that — Trump — would happen,” Ruffin explained. “But I do know that anti-Asian violence spiked after Trump and other Republicans started referring to the coronavirus as the ‘China virus’ and other racist terms.”
Ruffin then dove back into history, talking about the “model minority myth,” the “Yellow Peril myth,” the 1871 Chinese massacre in Los Angeles, the Federal Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Japanese internment camps of World War II, and more — all right up to the president and his many supporters referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus” and “Kung Flu.”
“America does not get to hide from its racist past or present,” said Ruffin. “What we’re not gonna do is act like white supremacy isn’t at the root of all this. Contrary to everything this country was built on, white men don’t get to decide who lives and who dies. White people don’t get to decide our humanity.”
You can watch the whole segment from The Amber Ruffin Show in the video above.