Educating schoolkids about communism is...racist toward Asians?

Recently, Republicans in the Virginia state Legislature proposed a bill to instruct students on the dangers and victims of communism.  All of the Democrats in the state Legislature opposed the bill.  The College Fix reports:

Democrats in both legislative chambers voted "nay" following the Virginia Education Association's claim that the bill might lead to negative reactions against Asian students.

According to the VEA's Emily Yen, this is because four of the planet's five remaining communist countries happen to be in Asia: China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. (The fifth is Cuba.)

Having met many refugees from communism in Asia, this take is backwards.  Asians have been the biggest victims of communism.  Most of the victims of communism were and are Asian.  Their Asian lives mattered.  To ignore that reality is to ignore history and potentially doom the world to repeat those events.

In the Black Book of Communism, Jean-Lous Margolin writes in the chapter on China about the deaths during Mao's Great Leap Forward and Mao's Cultural Revolution as well as the labor camps and the Tibetan genocide.  Estimates are that between 30 and 40 million Chinese died of starvation just between 1959 and 1961!  Mao was the greatest mass murderer in the 20th century.  Mao killed millions of Chinese.

Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge won a civil war in 1975 and proceeded to attempt to convert the country to a purer form of communism.  Life was supposed to get better, but he ended up engaging in inhumane repression.  There are several books telling about individuals survivors' experiences in the late 1970s genocide.  One example is Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing Ngor.

The Black Book of Communism dedicates a chapter to this communist genocide.  In the chapter, one estimate is that Pol Pot killed 26% of the total population with twice as many men killed as women.  As a percentage of the population, Pol Pot killed the most people of any ruler in the 20th century.  Pol Pot killed millions of Cambodians/Khmers.

The Kim dynasty in North Korea has killed millions of Koreans over the decades.  Some people have escaped the prison that is North Korea.  From reading Yeonmi Park, it sounds like a horrendous place.  Millions die of starvation, and the regime hides it.  Those millions are Korean.

When Vietnam fell to the communists in 1975, the communists persecuted anyone who had worked for the South Vietnamese government.  Many people tried to escape Vietnam in small boats.  Some drowned.  Some of them were able to eventually make it to the U.S. via Thailand or elsewhere.  The Ring of Freedom by Don Kesterson tells the saga of a Vietnamese family escaping the communists.  Most of the Vietnamese who made it to the U.S. are rabid anti-communists, because they lived through the persecution.

Including information about the victims of communism in school curriculum is vital to teaching our kids the history of the 20th century.  We can hope that by documenting the lives of Asians who suffered under communism, we honor their sacrifice and vow not to repeat the genocides.

Image via Max Pixel.

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