Conversation on "Unmasking Yellow Peril"


Anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic is the latest iteration in a long and violent history of dehumanizing and degrading our Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage communities.  

The term “Yellow Peril” — once a slur used against 19th-century Chinese immigrants in the United States — was reclaimed by Asian American activists in the 1960s. The phrase went from being associated with disease and contagion to being known for the iconic slogan, “Yellow Peril Supports Black Power.”  

Today, “Yellow Peril” expresses the AAPI community’s concerns with being associated with a pandemic and their commitment to building coalitions with communities more heavily impacted by racist violence.

UAlbany's Racial Justice Committee invites you to read the article, "Unmasking Yellow Peril," and share your thoughts online.



A staff member writes:

"I learned a lot about the history of anti‐Asian discrimination. I will not tolerate anti‐AAPI bias in my presence."

An alum writes:

"This is a history more people should know. We need to stop strands of white supremacy that are deeply rooted in institutions and work on a cultural shift of diversity/inclusion. Unless we are Indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants in the USA."

A faculty member writes:

This article does a great job of connecting nationalistic uses of the Yellow Peril trope to stir up border and immigration anxiety —anxieties that continue to have a harmful effect on communities beyond just those of Asian heritage. Making these historical connections clear will remind us, hopefully, that we all have a stake in resisting racist rhetoric and the violence it enables.

Another faculty member writes:

It is well‐written and informative. As a professor in an American university, I just want to add that Asian American scholars and researchers have made significant contributions to education, science and technology in the US. A good way to protect them is to fully acknowledge their contributions.