WHY disOrientalism? WHY NOW?


When Corona virus stopped the world dead in its tracks, anti-Asian rhetoric exploded across the USA and the world. Trump called it the “Kung Flu” and the “China Virus”. And because the xenophobia and racism leveled at the Asian American community stems from, in part, the idea that Asians are not actually Americans this rhetoric has stoked the fire.

Also, this is not new. At the turn of the 20th Century, the Chinese Exclusion Act made it near impossible for Asians in America to work, congregate or enjoy the rights of American citizens. And violent attacks on Asians, sometimes in the form of all out massacres were gleefully reported in anti-Asian pamphlets and news rags. During World War 2, Japanese Americans were scapegoated for the entry of Japan into the war, and legally rounded up, stripped of their homes and possessions, and sent to remote, crowded prison camps. 

In 2020, 2021, and 2022 the country is riddled with incidents of hate crimes targeting the Asian American community. And heartbreakingly, the victims of these often extremely violent attacks are overwhelmingly women, and very old people.

We have found that in times of societal stress, racist outbursts can quickly grow from a “micro” aggression (name calling, “Kung Flu”, bullying) into  “macro” aggressions, the most egregious of which saw our elders, old grandmas and grandpas being violently attacked on the street. 

One of the keys to the #StopAsianHate movement is Cultural Inclusion. Normalizing the faces, stories and voices of American Asians through the arts actively creates empathy, compassion and connection. That is why we chose The Public Theater in New York City- a nexus of all cultures and not traditionally an “Asian” space, to present these artists for our first shows.