MOHAVE COUNTY – Mohave Community College English Instructor John Hansen recently wrote about his experiences with anti-Asian racism and it was published by The National Council of Teachers of English. It is called “The Other Pandemic: Anti-Asian Sentiment”.
It was published during the month of May, which was Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. There have been numerous attacks and violence on Asian Americans across the country. Hansen sat down with the Mohave Wire to discuss the racism he has seen, and why he decided to share his story.
Q & A with MCC Instructor John Hansen:
Mohave Wire: Tell me a little background information on the organization that published it.
Hansen: The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) advocates to improve language and literacy education for all and supports the English educators who collaborate and serve these students.
Mohave Wire: What was the process to get it published?
Hansen: I was in conversations with Chris Mitchell, Director of Marketing and Membership, and Felice Kaufmann, Publications Developer, at the NCTE. They proposed that I share some viewpoints on these current issues.
Mohave Wire: What prompted you to write this paper?
Hansen: The idea of sharing these experiences was a gradual one. When going out in public, especially towards the end of April 2020, I noticed that the looks I received from other people weren’t of the curious kind (much of what I was used to pre-pandemic), but turned to more repugnant and despiteful glares. Also, since the beginning of 2021, and even more so the past several weeks, there has been an uptick in cruelty and racist rhetoric towards Asian Americans. Reading all of these reports from various media outlets almost daily pushed the desire to open up about these personal stories and thoughts on anti-Asian sentiment.
Mohave Wire: Why is this an important topic to discuss?
Hansen: Awareness. Many of the news stories about verbal and physical assaults on Asian Americans are from larger metropolitan areas; however, these unfortunate actions are happening in smaller cities as well. Racial issues facing Asian Americans aren’t really discussed and many are indifferent to them. If more media coverage was dedicated to sharing personal experiences and perspectives from Asian Americans, it might help bring more cognizance to such issues, and hopefully, bring about positive change.
Mohave Wire: What would you like the reader to take away from your paper?
Hansen: Racism isn’t always visible to those who haven’t experienced it personally. Someone you know may be subjected to forms of racism, but they might not talk about it. We need to be talking about it. I want to catch the attention of people who may not even know that anti-Asian sentiment exists. Then, they could help stick up for an Asian American if they see or hear something derogatory. If you are at the office, school, store, or anywhere in public, and encounter something racist, try to speak up and help the person(s) in need. Do the right thing. Then spread your own awareness, so others can do the right thing, too.
Mohave Wire: How did you feel getting published?
Hansen: Having the NCTE publish this piece gives me hope that other academic organizations will follow suit and provide a platform for others to share personal experiences and opinions on these issues. Doing so allows the public to better understand what Asian Americans are currently going through. Oftentimes, many of the academic associations and organizations release statements condemning the hate and violence towards Asian Americans and won’t publish anything else on the subject. These statements don’t go far enough. More should be done. Firsthand accounts are a much more powerful way to give voice to these types of concerns.
To read The Other Pandemic: Anti-Asian Sentiment, visit click here.
Hansen is lead English Faculty at MCC – Neal Campus Kingman. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Iowa and a Master’s in English Literature from Oklahoma State University. Other published pieces from Professor Hansen have appeared in The Summerset Review, Spillwords Press, Trouvaille Review, 50-Word Stories, One Sentence Poems, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Eunoia Review, Amethyst Review, Sparks of Calliope and other publications.
MCC is currently enrolling students in fall semester classes, which begin August 23. The college has more than 80 degree and certificate options, and is one of the most affordable colleges in Arizona. Applying to become a student is free at Apply.Mohave.edu, or stop by the campus nearest you. You can also call 866-MOHAVECC (866-664-2832) for more information.