The mass shooting in Atlanta last Tuesday is a grim reminder of the systemic racism and misogyny that Asian Americans have experienced for generations. Since the first major wave of Asian immigration in the nineteenth century, Asians in the U.S. have continuously struggled to find their place in American society. From discriminatory policies, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to today’s portrayal of Asians in the master narrative, Asian Americans have been stereotyped as slant-eyed evil outsiders with malicious intent (i.e., the perpetual outsider), the highly successful model minority, and, specifically to Asian womxn, hypersexual and submissive temptresses. 

Sacred Plants in the Americas II: Global Psychedelic Summit; April 23-25, 2021

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The perpetuation of these stereotypes and the last U.S. president’s rhetoric around COVID-19 are connected to the uprise of discrimination, danger, and violence that is present in the Asian American community today. 

Historically, the model minority myth has been used as a tool to gaslight the structural violence that Asian Americans experienced (e.g., the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII) and to make a false comparison between Asian Americans and other groups, especially Black Americans, by insinuating that racism and social inequities can be overcome by “pulling up your boot straps” and having strong family values. Additionally, misogyny is intertwined as part of the Asian American womxn’s experience of racism. The deep roots of the assailant’s attitudes were most likely born out of the historical fetishization of Asian womxn as hypersexual and submissive. The perpetuation of these stereotypes and the last U.S. president’s rhetoric around COVID-19 are connected to the uprise of discrimination, danger, and violence that is present in the Asian American community today. 

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Asian Americans have endured discrimination in the United States for over two centuries and the learned helplessness and silence that is passed down from generation-to-generation is deafening.

Most traditional Asian cultures dictate that stirring the pot will raise unwanted attention and can negatively impact one’s social status. However, this is not the time for silence. Asian Americans have endured discrimination in the United States for over two centuries and the learned helplessness and silence that is passed down from generation-to-generation is deafening. To our Asian American community members: Your stories are not falling on deaf ears. As advocates, we must listen to our Asian American brothers and sisters who courageously speak out against the violence in their community, and stand with them to fight for their right to be treated with dignity and respect as fellow human beings. We must remain vigilant about the gaslighting effect of the model minority myth and transcend it, protect our Asian womxn and sex workers, and become aware of and be accountable for our internalized beliefs and attitudes that contribute to the dehumanization of the marginalized, invisibilized groups of society. 

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While we at the Chacruna Institute focus on gender and equality issues in the psychedelic space, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Asian brothers and sisters in the broader fight against racism, misogyny, and discrimination. We call upon our community to practice intersectional solidarity with those who have been affected by previous, current, and future violence based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. Our solidarity and empathy through these harrowing times will define the attitudes and actions of the psychedelic community and the future generations ahead of us.

“So long as you lead with love, everything will follow.”

#stopasianhate #protectasianlives #protectourelders #racismisavirus #hateisavirus

Rest in Power: Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; and Daoyou Feng, 44, Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; and Yong Yue, 63.

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Educate yourself:

Chacruna Community Forum Series: Asians and Psychedelics: Transcending the Model Minority Myth
“Asian Americans Are Still Caught in the Trap of the ‘Model Minority’ Stereotype. And It Creates Inequality for All” by Time Magazine
Stop AAPI Hate (Website, Instagram)
AAPI Women Lead (Website, Instagram

Find community:  

Asian Psychedelic Society  
Asian American Healing Circle hosted by The Center for Political Drug Education


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