I wanted to inform the community about a poster that some students found spread out on the billboards of Little Hall and the doors of Carleton Auditorium. The following image was brought to my attention from several students who say they saw this poster while moving between classes. I called the phone number to learn that it was a prank line. Several students then accompanied me to search surrounding buildings and we were able to locate 5 posters on two different buildings.
I want to remind people how offensive and ignorant signs like these are. Throughout history, Asians in America have struggled to create safe spaces where they can thrive and contribute to society. At different points in that history, we have been labelled as “threats” to this country. We have seen this in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2, and in the Post-9/11 era with South Asian Americans. We’ve been called “savage”, “uncivilized”, and “dangerous”. Today’s incident reminds me that the same ignorant sentiments still exist today.
This poster perpetuates the notion that Asian American restaurant owners are somehow low class and dirty. The myth of serving these animals has been historically used to slander members of the Asian American community; making them out to be thieves who eat peoples’ pets. This stereotype is fueled by ignorance and exaggerations. You will not hear of the horrid conditions placed on early Asian immigrants who were in some instances forced to starve because of racist policies aiming to keep them subservient. You will read about the Chinamen and the Transcontinental Railroad but not learn about the strikes that left them to fend for themselves in a foreign land. You will not hear about the World’s Fair in Louisiana where they showcased indigenous Pilipinos as “savage”, while treating them like zoo animals. Faced with these horrendous conditions, these Asian Immigrants did what they needed to do to survive.