“offering a window into the difficulties of discussing China on campus”
No good deed goes unpunished, as they say. The students who released the statement thought they were doing something good but it backfired.
The FIRE blog reports:
Apology for anti-Asian bigotry statement at Carnegie Mellon highlights difficulty of discussing China on campus
Troubled by the “hate targeted toward those of Asian descent,” Carnegie Mellon University’s Graduate Student Assembly Executive Committee released a statement to their fellow graduate students on March 8 offering solidarity to members of the campus’ Asian community and a list of resources to support them.
But two weeks later, in consultation with CMU’s administration, the GSA would issue an apology for that email, in an incident offering a window into the difficulties of discussing China on campus.
The first statement — issued over a week before the tragic shootings in Atlanta that would end the lives of eight people, including six of Asian descent — denounced “the spike of hate crimes being perpetrated against our Asian community” and declared that “COVID-19 has brought with it an alarming rise in hate crimes and harassment across the country.”
The statement also noted that “[v]arious events—often traumatic—are happening in different Asian countries” that could “add to the stress our peers are feeling during this time.” The events listed included protests in India, escalations against Hong Kong’s democracy movement, and internment camps and forced labor in Xinjiang.
By the next day, members of the committee would begin to receive emails and social media messages from campus and elsewhere decrying their decision to mention “stress” associated with China’s human rights violations — and demanding apologies and resignations. Some of the complaints challenged the legitimacy of news sources’ reporting on the internment camps and democracy movement and argued that their inclusion in the statement implied that the GSA believed bigotry against Asian communities in the United States to be a justified reaction to actions committed by the Chinese government. The messages continued for days.
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