Asian American students express concerns on campus

Asian American students across Marshall’s campus share their unique experiences with racism and their changing perspectives about race relations in America following the series of mass shootings in Atlanta on March 16.  

Shayla Dang, a sophomore marketing student, said she regularly experiences racism on campus.  

“There is not really a day where I do not receive a comment about me being Asian and jokes being made of it,” Dang said. “I am dissatisfied with the University’s response to the recent attacks.”  

Dang said she does not feel that the university has done enough to educate the community on the issue of racism against Asian Americans.  

“No statements have been released about the ongoing attacks whatsoever, but [Marshall University] has given a statement on other minority issues in the past,” Dang said. “I feel like the issue is not being brought up because it is not considered as important or urgent, so it is not talked about, which I believe is incorrect — it is just as important.”  

Dang said the pandemic and the recent attacks have worsened racism against Asian Americans in her experience.  

“I can remember a person walking up to my friend, who is white, and out of nowhere was asked if I wanted to do an interview on COVID, and I noticed that the only person he asked that question was to me,” Dang said. “That made me super uncomfortable because after that, he did not talk to anyone else in the Memorial Student Center, and I was the only Asian in the student center at the time, and it was obvious.”  

The recent attacks have impacted Dang’s daily life by causing her family members to worry for her safety and questioning the United States’s social progress, Dang said.  

“America still has a long way to go, and the attacks on Asian Americans deeply worry me because attacks could happen to any of my family members,” Dang said. “My grandmother calls me every day and tells me to be careful in public because attacks could happen to my sister and me, and to fear going in public is something no one should be worried about.”  

Maurice Cooley, Vice President and Dean of Intercultural Student Affairs, said, “On behalf of our staff and on behalf of our students, we should realize that in our society we should not have any expression of harmfulness or hatefulness towards any people of any race, ethnicity, religion, color or sexual orientation. It is unacceptable, and we believe at this university, everyone should be respectful of all people regardless of origin. Marshall is a place of peace, and we encourage other people to be peaceful and always show positive regard for all people. We hope that everyone will take these matters into serious consideration.”  

Travis Rose, a junior psychology major, said he is disturbed by the violent attacks but feels that the university has been a welcoming space for Asian Americans.  

“I have never really experienced any severe racism on campus,” Rose said. “I am actually very happy with how supportive a lot of the students have been on the matter, and it shows that definitely not everyone in the world is corrupted by the hate.”…  

Rose said he wants those who believe that racism is an issue of the past to understand the severity of racism in America today.  

“Hopefully, we can all unite as people and resolve these issues as fast as we can,” Rose said. “If there is one thing for certain, right now in America, racism is very real, and it is everywhere.”  

Isabella Robinson can be contacted at [email protected]