Growing up in the Middle West, my experience of racism was pretty much restricted to stories about Native Americans and African Americans. I don’t remember hearing about what Asians endured out West. 

“A defiant Columbia in an 1871 Thomas Nast cartoon, shown protecting a defenseless Chinese man from an angry lynch mob that has just burned down an orphanage. The billboard behind is full of inflammatory anti-Chinese broadsheets.” Wikimedia Commons

Newspapers in the nineteenth century proclaimed that the Chinese were “heathens and barbarians—savage, lustful, impure, diseased.” They were “idol-worshippers” because they “worshipped” their ancestors. Numerous states enacted laws that prohibited issuing marriage licenses between a white person and a “Negro, mulatto, or Mongolian” and a speaker at the California Constitutional Convention declared that for Chinese to intermarry with Caucasians would result in “a hybrid of the most despicable, a mongrel of the most detestable that has ever afflicted the earth.” 

In 1864, 10,000 Chinese were hired to build the Transcontinental Railroad. Most whites refused to work under the harsh and dangerous conditions. When the railroad was completed in 1869, 15,000 Chinese workers were no longer wanted.  Taxes were enacted constantly that were directed specifically against the Chinese who were also forbidden to buy land or attend schools with white children, and white businesses who hired Chinese were fined.

In Los Angeles on October 23, 1871, there occurred what became known as the “night of horrors.” Mobs of vigilantes attacked the Chinatown area and by the end of the night seventeen bodies of Chinese men and boys hung from crossbeams in the neighborhood, most of them having been kicked, pummeled, and shot before they were hanged. At least five hundred Angelenos, or 8 percent of the city’s population, had participated in this race riot.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society,  pp. 204, 45-62

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Standing up against modern anti-Asian hate: the Rise Up with Asians Rally & March, San Francisco, April 2021. Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Meditate with the awareness that arrogance breeds racism; and racism breeds hatred and violence.  How do we move beyond arrogance, racism, hatred and violence?

Recommended Reading

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

11 thoughts on “Racism against Asians: Arrogance at Work”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you Mathew for ALL your reflections …. I love today’s sharing. For many years I have helped lead the cosmic walk to many different groups and of course the first flowering fourth of light that permeates all of creation has been so central to my deepening and leading others to deepen that which binds us all together. I even have used that quote about being so filled with light that we could light up a baseball stadium with 1,000,000 W of light. I have become so convinced that if we deep and this truth the world would be a different place in ALL AREAS ! AL would be lived as Sacred . We would live KINSHIP WITH ALL CREATION. Thank you for nourishing my spirit!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you sooo much for your comment and “being on the same page” with us. You say, “We would live KINSHIP WITH ALL CREATION”–that is the ultimate goal of Creation Spirituality!

  2. Avatar

    I just read my post and an error was made. I wanted to say Flaring fourth and not flowering fourth. I have a visual problem and use dictation.once again THANK YOU Mathew for ALL teachings and sharings. United in the ONENESS of ALL. ❤️?

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for your ongoing expansion of awareness. It is obvious that we have to lay out fundamentals before we can try to get a grasp of the whole. Over the years as fundamentals are restated – restated and paraphrased we will begin to notice humanity getting closer to the state of unconditional love intended in the Lord’s Prayer. We are the same inside. We are the same inside as Jesus, Buddha, and Krishna. We each have different “degrees” of understanding for this fact. When Jesus was on the cross and said, “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”, Jesus meant that humanity was not evolved enough to understand. Unconditional love is unconditional forgiveness. When we realize that our attacker is not evolved enough to realize what he is doing we are able to forgive him. We realize that the attacker has the same type of internal Self as we do. We are inter-connected in cause and effect. The attacker has not evolved in empathy which understands this Same-Self connected fact. This is a seventh chakra realization. It is rare to gain access to the seventh chakra, As we restate – restate, and paraphrase fundamentals we will collectively reach the seventh chakra in the future which will be collective Cosmic Consciousness.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Gary, It is obvious that we have to understand fundamentals before we can grasp the whole. I would suggest that what is really needed is an understanding of Creation Spirituality and its Four Paths. Because the Four Paths show how life moves through different phases or along different “paths”–the Via Positiva, Via Negativa, Via Creativa and Via Transformativa.

  4. Avatar

    Mathew’s reference to the rejection of mixed race offspring reminds me of another mixed race group – the offspring of American soldiers and Vietnamese women during the Vietnam war. Neither America nor Vietnam wanted these Amerasian children who were taunted and marginalized as “children of the dust—as an insignificant as a speck to be brushed aside”. It raises the question of how many mixed race offspring have resulted from invasion and war throughout history, including Rome’s occupation of Judea. Jesus himself was taunted by Judeans about who his father was.

  5. Avatar

    Matthew Fox’s Spirit in Action radio program recordings, in which he engages with people around the globe involved in creative action to bring about peace and social justice, are available for $10 each or 3 for $25. Contact: Dennis

  6. Avatar

    My wife is Japanese-American. When I brought Rose home to my family in Kenosha, WI she was the first Asian they had met. Her parents joined us for our wedding there. At the reception, my mother talked for a long time with my mother-in-law. They really liked each other. I went with my father-in-law and step-father to a bar and they too got along well.

    The recent hate crimes against Asians make no sense. The Covid pandemic began in China, but Chinese-Americans had nothing to do with it. People have also attacked Americans of other Asian backgrounds, most of them elderly who could not protect themselves.

    We should judge people by who they are as a person, not by their race, ethnicity or religion.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Ron, thank you so much for sharing your own story concerning Asian-Americans. You are absolutely right: “We should judge people by who they are as a person, not by their race, ethnicity or religion!!!”

  7. Avatar

    When I first heard years ago that we are composed, at least partly, of stardust, I was thrilled. Now, add to that, composed of light–how exciting and inspiring. Also, apparently the visible universe, including within our atoms, takes up only about 5% of space, and the rest is ?, called dark matter and dark energy. All of this should make us humble and filled with awe. Arrogance stems from ignorance, for sure.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, I too am amazed by our universe, with so much of it unobservable (dark matter and dark energy). Maybe these things show us the way in which the whole universe itself moves through the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality. The Via Positiva is the light that pervades space, black holes, dark matter, dark energy, even the law of entropy being the Via Negativa, the Big Bang and the birth of stars is the Via Creativa, and the continuing creation, expansion and evolution of the universe is the Via Transformativa.

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: