Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

March 21, 2021 by Department of Italian Studies

Sunday 21 March 2021

On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we join with the University of Toronto’s administration and other units in condemning the recent horrifying attacks against people of Asian descent. Our hearts are with the friends and families of Soon Chung Park (age 74), Hyun Jung Grant (51), Sun Cha Kim (69), Yong Ae Yue (63), Xiaojie Tan (49), Daoyou Feng (44), and the many victims of racist, and sexist, and anti-Asian violence.

The murders in Atlanta are not isolated. Sinophobia and anti-Asian hate have deep historical roots and the surge in violence during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been limited to United States but is far too common in Canada and Italy as well.

Diasporic communities are too often marginalized, victimized, and assaulted, as the historical experience of many in our own community demonstrates. We condemn all such racism and violence, and we know that our actions, specifically as an academic unit whose mission is rooted in the study of a European culture, must go beyond writing statements of solidarity.

As a place of study and work and as an intellectual community:

  • We share the grief and anger of our Asian students, staff members, colleagues, and friends.
  • We will continue to highlight the important connections between European and Asian cultures. Relations between Asia and Italy are long-standing and have generated rich cultural exchanges and borrowings. At the same time, we are conscious of how some of those exchanges have contributed to objectification and belittlement, and to the oversexualization and fetishization of East Asian women (the “Madame Butterfly Effect”).
  • We acknowledge the deep roots of racism in our culture and our country, and we pledge to work to dismantle racist and sexist structures in our own communities and places of work.