It sounds like the Asian Americans in your circle have been pretty sheltered if they’re only now experiencing racism. Perhaps they live in an area where the high numbers of Asian Americans have helped locals in that area get accustomed to seeing us around. But what’s more likely is that their economic privilege shielded them — I could see that being the case for many Asian American investment bankers and tech bros. Those cultures can be toxic cesspools of misogyny and racism. If Asian Americans join in, they can fool themselves into believing they are “honorary whites.”
I don’t speak for all Asian Americans, but I’ve met plenty whose education and economic privilege have protected them from reality. Their ignorance of the racial history of America also means they don’t understand the power plays that use Asian Americans as a wedge to preserve white supremacy. Instead, many assume we have achieved equality with whites. Look at all the “successful” Asian Americans who have “made it” into middle management or higher. If they can do that,we clearly have moved beyond being a racist society. Sigh.