No insult, no insinuation — even when it comes from the president in the middle of the Rose Garden telling an Asian American reporter to “ask China” — can change the fact that Asian Americans are just as American as anyone else lucky enough to be a daughter or a son of the United States.
Ironically, May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In the face of such intolerance, this month reminds us that it’s as important as ever to honor the AAPI community’s service to this country — as teachers, doctors, troops, you name it — as well as recognize the consequences of the fear-mongering and outright racism that have been on the rise throughout Trump’s presidency.
Because that’s the kind of prejudice that led to Japanese Americans’ being interned on U.S. soil even as their loved ones fought to defend this nation overseas during World War II. It’s a version of what we’ve seen in debates over everything from segregation to immigration, where those who aren’t white are portrayed as if they’re somehow dirty or dangerous or, now, contaminated — and then cast off as second-class citizens. In a nation founded on the principle that we’re all created equal, such bigotry is downright un-American.
Each of those people understands our country better than Trump ever will. They understand that at its best, America is a roughly 3.8 million-square-mile community whose members don’t just want to do well for themselves, but to do good for others. No matter the color of their skin.
As our neighbors are spit on and beat up because of the color of their skin, it is more obvious than ever how important it is that we make this the last Asian American and Pacific Islander month with Trump in office.