The Buffalo supermarket shooting that killed ten Black Americans thrust the idea of “replacement theory” into the public consciousness. The shooter believed that an increasingly diverse society was forever altering what, in his mind, constituted a “real” or “true” American. He is, unfortunately, far from alone in these thoughts.

Much of the post-Buffalo conversation has rightly focused on Black and Hispanic communities as the intended targets. But that conversation could be expanded. Take one group still relatively absent in our national discussions about race and racism: Asian Americans. Other than brief periods following the Atlanta spa shootings, Asian Americans are largely shut out of the larger conversation, and left out of policy discussions that could help address violence or inequities.

This invisibility persists even though Asian Americans have been a consistent target, regarded as perpetual foreigners who take jobs, education, or other societal advantages that supposedly belong to “real” Americans. Even amidst a particularly violent year, harms to Asian Americans are routinely dismissed.

Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans have faced xenophobic rhetoric and physical violence while prominent officials have downplayed racial undertones in such incidents and refused to acknowledge links between racist rhetoric and violence. After the Atlanta spa shootings, a sheriff spokesman claimed that the shooter was simply having a “bad day.” A few days before the Buffalo shooting, a series of attacks appeared to target Asian businesses in Dallas, but the Dallas chief of police has been reluctant to label the shootings a hate crime.

Read the full article about replacement theory by Douglas Yeung at RAND Corporation.