Description: Examine how Black and Asian Americans are racially positioned in the U.S. by examining two incidents that went viral in the media: the Central Park incident involving Amy Cooper, a young white lady, calling the police and accusing Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black birdwatcher, of threatening her. The other series of incidents involved Amara Walker, an Asian American CNN backup anchor person, who was harassed three different times within a span of 45 minutes at the New Orleans International Airport. Examining these two incidents will bring out how Black and Asian Americans are racialized differently, how systemic racism operates within these two groups, and how perpetual foreigner and model minority stereotypes operate in the lives of Asian Americans.
Fr. Joe Cheah is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. His research areas are in the fields of race and religion, Buddhist Studies, Asian American theological studies, and World Christianity. He is the author of three books, many book chapters, and journal articles. His recent book, Anti-Asian Racism: Myths, Stereotypes, and Catholic Social Teaching, was released in December 2022. He is a recipient of two awards from the State of Connecticut for his work with Asian-Pacific American communities. He is also a co-sponsor of an orphanage in Kyauktan, Myanmar (Burma).