The student news site of Owatonna High School.

OHS Asian heritage and perspectives

History of Asians in America

The history of Asian immigrants in America has not always been the best. In the late 1800s there were a lot of Chinese immigrants that wanted to join the great gold rush of the 1850s. But, instead of joining the gold rush, many Chinese workers found themselves on the railroads instead. They were seen as cheap labor and although railroads were not an ideal workplace, these hard working Chinese immigrants were willing to take on any of the available jobs. Without these hard working men, which 80-90 percent of the railroad workers consisted of, the Transcontinental Railroad could not have been built. 

The history of Asian Americans is filled with unhappy memories. From the anti-Asian rallies of the 1870s, to the yellowface (similar to blackface) and the Japanese concentration camps, Asians in America have not always been treated fairly. But as time progressed, more and more Asians started to immigrate into the U.S. With time, new Asians have seeded themselves across the country in places they called Tokyo towns, China towns, Filipino towns and many more. These places make it so that these Asian communities have places that they can flourish and grow into something bigger. 

Asian Hate in America Today

In 2020, after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 150 percent. There was much misinformation that made many people think that Asians were the reason as to why the virus started. The biggest catalyst to all of this hate is the fact that a lot of people correlate the virus to Chinese people. 

COVID-19 and Asian Hate

After former president Donald Trump referred to the COVID-19 virus as the “China virus” and in the next week, there was a large influx of people that searched for or posted something that contained the word “China.”. Because the COVID-19 virus started to become heavily associated with Asians in general, racial slurs and racist terms that people posted towards Asians also started to rapidly increase. There are many videos online of people assaulting Asians, and a tragic example of these acts of violence  is the Atlanta spa shootings that occured in March of 2021. Out of eight people who died in the shooting, six people were of Asian descent. Due to the overwhelming racism against Asians, there have been a lot of people who have gone out to say that enough is enough. There are many people that are very active in stopping the spread of Asian hate. A few of them are:  Jeremy Lin, Sandra Oh, Eddie Huang, Naomi Osaka and many more. These celebrities have taken to many different platforms to condemn Asian Hate and have become the faces of the Stop Asian Hate movement. 

Asian Representation at OHS

At OHS, out of around 1,500 students, only a little over one percent are Asian. Here are some of the perspectives and experiences of students and staff who have Asian heritage:

Mr. Dam Nguyen: Biology teacher
Grace Arthur: Senior
Calishia Vang: Senior
Wendell Relacion: Senior

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