As advocates for media literacy, Action for Media Education strives to educate and equip children, youth, and adults with the tools to interrogate and evaluate media for bias, context, authority, accuracy, and purpose. This includes being able to call out when the media fail to connect sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression to news events, Action for Media Education stands against all forms of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry, and we stand in solidarity with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities who have been increasingly targeted.
This past week, we witnessed the tragic Atlanta-area shootings in which eight people were murdered, six of whom were Asian women. Although this is the most extreme case in recent memory, it is part of a long list of incidents of hate against Asian Americans. According to Stop AAPI Hate, an organization documenting the increase in anti-Asian hate since the beginning of the pandemic, they received 3,795 reports of anti-Asian discrimination between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, with women reporting discrimination at more than twice the rate of men. This is not acceptable.
Immediately following the event, there was a dearth of culturally responsive and accurate coverage, with numerous reports in which the victims’ identities and stories were not centered or their names were misspelled. The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) has released guidance on Atlanta shootings as well as a pronunciation guide for the names of the Asian victims. It is important to center the stories of those most impacted by anti-Asian racism, such as Asian American journalists and writers speaking on the issue.
Now is the time for all of us to educate ourselves on allyship and how we can practice interrupting and dismantling racism, including bystander intervention. Now is the time to seek out racial justice resources and support local AAPI advocacy organizations. We can also report incidents of anti-Asian harassment and discrimination to Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Stop AAPI Hate. As media educators, we must engage in the work of collectively dismantling racism and other forms of oppression in our schools and campuses, media, and communities.