In 2017, The Guardian reported the UK’s Chinese communities faced the highest amount of racial harassment. In 2021, ITV News reported hate crimes towards the UK’s Southeast and East Asian communities rose by 50% in the last two years.
Looking back, there are many instances where I wonder, if confronted with the same situation, would I have said something different? Would I have done something different? Would I have called out that person? Did I misrepresent myself and my communities in that moment of silence?
East Asian identities (amongst others) are often characterised by the quiet, diligent, hard-working individual who excels academically but struggles socially in a robotic existence. Such monolithic portrayals speak to the ‘model minority myth’, a term coined in the 1960s to describe Asian Americans in contrast to African Americans as a mechanism to promote assimilation into a culturally white hegemony. Indeed, this “racial wedge”, to use Masako Fukui’s term, is part of a wider toxic environment where problematic racialisations of communities continue to damage our society today.
Hush reveals the latent power of the silent. It explores the tension embedded in this space: one that is vibrant, alive, and present. Silence, after all, is not compliance.
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Instrumentation: Large Choir
Commissioned by: National Youth Choirs of Great Britain
Recorded by: National Youth Choirs of Great Britain directed by Ben Parry and released by NMC Recordings
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