SJECCD celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Public scholar educates community on hate crimes and stereotypes


Illustration by Vanessa Tran / Times staff

“Asian Americans have been erased for so long, it is important that again not only our pain, but our resistance is being written down and recorded and remembered in this historic moment,” Mabute-Louie said.

The San Jose Evergreen Community College District held a meeting on May 6 to honor Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

“The acts of violence that have been happening, I’ve experienced myself personally” said Evergreen Valley College president Tammeil Gilkerson. “I’ve also known we’ve experienced them over generations, and we have always been the perpetual ‘others.’”

The guest speaker was Bianca Mabute-Louie, a Cantonese public scholar that conducts research, creates resources and facilitates workshops to support people that have faced racial injustices. She was also a volunteer at the initial planning stages of Stop AAPI Hate, a San Francisco-based group of nonprofits, organizers and educators that was formed during the pandemic to address hate against the community.

A trend that Mabute-Louie said she saw in the data collected during the pandemic was a 150% increase in hate crimes with over 6,600 incidents reported since March 2020. Mabute-Louie also said that in one survey, Asian American students were afraid of being bullied if they returned to school and that Donald Trump’s reference to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” raised the number of hate crimes.

“Those spikes in that violence are always correlated to political rhetoric being used by the government or by the media to scapegoat them,” Mabute-Louie said.

“Yellow Peril” is a stereotype that Asians are dangerous, dirty and immoral. The term became popular during the bubonic plague outbreak of the early 1900s.

“The trends are kind of eerily similar where during that time in San Francisco,” Bianca Mabute-Louie said, “they blamed Asian immigrants for being responsible for bringing the plague.”

Mabute-Louie also said that microaggressions get dismissed because of the stereotype of how Asians don’t experience any racism.

“It is important for the community to be there for each other and especially the elderly,” Mabute-Louie said. “Asian Americans have been erased for so long that it is important that not only our pain, but our resistance is being written down and recorded and remembered in this historic moment.”