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ATEC Critical Media Studies Professor Provides Insight Behind Use of the ‘Roof Korean’ Meme

ATEC Critical Media Studies Professor Wendy Sung points out when the meme is used by right-wing extremists it is meant to drive a wedge between Black and Asian communities. “The ‘roof Korean or Asian’ can be historically situated within a pattern of touting Asian Americans as both a proxy for whiteness and as a racial weapon against Black claims of racial inequity,” she said.

Sung said it’s important to consider the “model minority” myth during conversations like this. The phrase was first coined in a 1966 New York Times article by sociologist William Petersenopens in a new window, who used it to describe Japanese Americans overcoming discrimination to find success, attributing it to hard work and family structure.

“The important historical context here is the civil rights movement, when Black Americans were protesting for equal rights,” she said. “Asian American success was held up and used as a racial weapon against African American claims of systemic racism — essentially saying, if Asian Americans can do it without complaining, why can’t you?”

To see Asians glorified as the ultimate gun-toting citizen by the same far-right extremists who characterized Asians and Asian Americans “as vectors of disease merely weeks ago in this pandemic” is disconcerting, to say the least, Sung said.

Read the Huffington Post Story The Real, Tragic Story Behind That ‘Roof Korean’ Meme You May Have Seen.”