In conversation with members of our community and on further reflection, the UI Center for the Book adds to its statement of support for Asian-American and Pacific Island individuals and communities. We write to extend our statement of solidarity with an awareness that we do this work imperfectly, but with an openness to learning and a commitment to change. We acknowledge a long history of systemic discrimination and violent abuse against AAPI persons and groups in the U.S., a history not limited to the last twelve months. Similarly, referring to the normalization of hateful rhetoric in the U.S. since 2016 simplifies the nation’s and its institutions’ compliance with that hatred and violence for centuries. Finally, a call to see the misogyny tethering many acts of public violence in the U.S. misses the specificity of AAPI women’s experience. “Misogyny and racism,” writes Jiayang Fan, “have never lived neatly in their separate categories.” AAPI women face stereotyping perceptions of foreignness, sexualization, exoticism, submissiveness, service, silence, labor, and threat.
The commitment to change begins at home. We continue the work reflected in our pledge from June 2020, striving to address systemic racism and to enable a diverse, equitable, and inclusive program at the UICB. That statement and related resources are at https://book.grad.uiowa.edu/equity_work. We will update the community periodically to account for steps taken.
Matt Brown, Craig Kelchen, Sara Langworthy, Julie Leonard, & Kathleen Tandy