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Not enough or double the prejudice: On being Black and Asian American in 2020

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12 multiracial people discuss the messy, complicated conversations they’re having about identity in this political moment.

Image: Laya, Mariko and Jenn.

Left to right, Mariko Fujimoto Rooks, Laya DeLeon Hayes and Jenn Noble.NBC NewsOct. 18, 2020, 7:00 AM EDTBy Sakshi Venkatraman and P.R. Lockhart

With nationwide protests against police brutality, rising incidents of anti-Asian racism and the selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, race relations within and between the Asian American and Black communities have quickly shifted into focus.

Conversations surrounding these groups, their subgroups and how they relate to one another have been messy and complicated. As the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction this summer, communities challenged the model minority myth, colonialism and colorism to explain how the histories of both Black and Asian communities have shaped how they interact today. Young Asian Americans encouraged one another to confront the anti-Blackness in their own families and communities. And Harris’ nomination and the subsequent attempts to categorize her raised a question that multiracial people across the U.S. have lived the answer to: What does it mean to be both?

NBC BLK and NBC Asian America talked to 12 people who identify as both Black and Asian American Pacific Islander about their identities, their communities and what 2020 has meant for them.

“The experiences of so-called Blasians aren’t “anomalies,” said Myra Washington, assistant vice president for faculty equity and diversity at the University of Utah. “All they are is a very specific example of a thing that we all do, which is navigate and negotiate our particular identities at a given moment in time.”

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