Anti-Asian Backlash and Thoughts on Foreign Policy

Dear Mr. President,

First, congratulations! I cannot begin to express my relief in the wake of your election and safe installation into office. As deeply worried as I remain about our weakened democracy and the encroachment of far-right extremism into the political mainstream, I also have hope that the country may experience transformative change under your presidency — toward social, economic, and environmental justice. I’m rooting for your success on all these fronts.

I write today with a narrower concern, however — namely, the spike in anti-Asian hate incidents, which I was grateful to see you speak out against in…

Credit: Nikki Burch

Mixing Business with Politics Ahead of the Coming Election

It’s time to tie the sustainable fashion conversation to the broader political — and, yes, partisan — conversation taking place in America at this critical moment, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; our handling (or mishandling) of it; the resulting economic fall-out; the looming question of our 2020 Presidential and Congressional elections; and the issues of racial, social, and economic injustice that have taken center stage here over the past several months.

As a New York-based sustainability advocate watching the pace of progress in Europe toward policy-making, aimed at accelerating the EU’s transition to a circular economy and the…

Musings on a Mindset

As the fashion industry takes steps toward participating in the Black Lives Matter movement and the historical moment of racial reckoning sparked by it, it might be time to talk about a little thing I like to call the colonialist mentality.

If you’ve worked in the industry for any length of time — especially if you’ve traveled to a non-Western production country — you’ve probably witnessed it in action at some point. …

(Republished from LinkedIn)

Two months ago, I published an essay on inclusion and growing up Asian in America “before we were everywhere.” [i]

Expressing solidarity with other minority groups more overtly subjected to backlash at the time — thanks to a President whose rhetoric has roused sleeping xenophobes everywhere — I added (with apologies for quoting myself):

“I harbor no illusions, by the way, that I’m not ultimately in the line of fire, too. No Asian ought to, in my view. In the grandiose, nativist’s dream of weeding out non-white from white, we are all within range… Still, in my day-to-day life —…

Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1965 Hart-Celler Immigration Act. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto
Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1965 Hart-Celler Immigration Act. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto
LBJ signing the The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

Growing up Asian before we were everywhere.

When I was eight, my family moved from Long Island to Shawnee, Oklahoma. Oklahoma was once Indian Territory, so Native Americans were a large presence there. But East Asians were an unknown quantity. My sister and I were the only Asians in the school the year we arrived. The term was “Oriental” back then, and we were practically the only ones in the entire town. Everywhere I went, people kept asking if I was related to George Ing.

He was, it turned out, the owner of the only Chinese restaurant in town; a man who — sorry to say it…

Suhlle Ahn

New York native. Global citizen.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store