A Texas state senator who introduced a contentious law banning Chinese nationals from purchasing real estate in the state compared her proposal to the Chinese surveillance balloon that was recently shot down in the United States. Leaders of Asian Americans are worried about it.
Republican Lois Kolkhorst stated last week in response to a question about her bill, “This law may prove even more critical in light of a Chinese spy balloon that traversed across the entire United States before being shot down by the US military just days ago.” It is evident that Texans in general are becoming more concerned about national security.
Recently, attention has been focused on Texas Senate Bill 147, which would deny people from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea the ability to own real estate, including homes. Republican governor Greg Abbott has already declared he will sign it if it is approved.
Asian American Community Aren’t Happy With The Bill
Leaders of Asian American communities claim that Kolkhorst’s attempt to link the property bill to the surveillance balloon is not only ridiculous but also detrimental.
“This fear-mongering is standard. John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, described it as typical xenophobic behavior. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen this throughout history.”
A follow-up question on the balloon’s connection to Kolkhorst’s Texas Senate bill went unanswered.
According to Yang, national security has frequently served as a cover for the American persecution and demonization of Asians.
“You can even go back to the Chinese Exclusion Act back in the 1860s, when the discussion was about, how the nation was getting less secure due to the so-called Yellow Peril,” he added. “Whether it is World War II, whether it is 9/11. Asian Americans have thus been especially vulnerable targets.
He claimed that in recent years, right-wing political discourse has confused the term “China” with the terms “Chinese people” or “Asian people.”
“Overgeneralizing about who is of concern to the United States is the major worry I have with the discourse around the spy balloon,” Yang said. “The Chinese Communist Party and government are undoubtedly concerned. We don’t object to that. However, whenever you merely assert that the Chinese or the Chinese people are harming our nation, the idea that the US is at war with a particular society is propagated.
Asian Americans’ loyalty to the United States is continually questioned, according to Manjusha Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, despite the fact that they have lived in the country for a very long time. According to her, the trope first emerged with the anti-Asian violence associated with Covid, and the rhetoric surrounding the balloon has the potential to resurrect it.
People in our communities “get blamed and made the scapegoat when there are problems, whether they be competitive with other nation-states, economic insecurity, public health threats, or concerns about national security,” she said. “Policies are then focused on them rather than just the foreign government,”
She cited Kolkhorst’s assertion that the balloon and the requirement for the property bill were related as one instance.
It seems to be scapegoating, according to Kulkarni. “Typically, laws and policies aim to solve a problem. What I haven’t seen or heard is what the issue is that they’re trying to solve. Has anyone connected to or in charge of the balloon bought any real estate in the US, specifically Texas?
Yang claimed that politicians could lessen harm by emphasizing that Asian Americans shouldn’t be targeted when criticizing the Chinese government’s actions.
We all need to find a more intelligent way to discuss these conflicts without alienating vulnerable communities, he said.