Discrimination Against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 Pandemic

(Source: Youtube/VICE News)

Imagine being on the bus heading to the grocery store, wearing a face mask and taking every sanitary precaution capable. Suddenly, your day changes when you are attacked simply for being a certain race. The attacker hurls statements and accuses you of causing the pandemic that has affected most of the world. This is what happened in New York City when a 51-year-old woman was attacked on a bus by teenagers. 

There was also a reported incident where a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, both Asian Americans, were stabbed at a Texas Sam’s Club and the perpetrator thought the family was Chinese and spreading the disease. 

Children and civilians are not the only perpetrators, but politicians are as well. According to CNN, there have been separate incidents where President Trump has called COVID-19 a, “Chinese Virus” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has referred to it as the “Wuhan Virus.” 

If America strives to be a country that welcomes diversity, then these incidents absolutely should not ever have to happen.

Many people blame Asian Americans for why their lives are disrupted and it is unethical as coronaviruses have been around for centuries on end.  There can be mental health issues amongst the Asian community in the victims of this horrendous discrimination, as mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety can form from suffering racism. 

Many Asian-Americans are afraid to leave their house, as they are anxious about dealing with the cruel incidents they have heard about in the news, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Hate speech also circulates around on social media, as a study done by Gilbert Gee, a professor in the department of community health sciences at University of California (UCLA, Los Angeles) shows that one million tweets exchanged between November and March reveal that negative comments about Asian-Americans increased to about 70%.

Additionally, the week after Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” during a news conference, negative comments about Asian-Americans increased to 167%. 

“All the sudden changes and uncertainties over the future have stoked feelings of frustration, anxiety and fear.” Said Dr. Jun Lu, an adjunct Sociology professor at Sinclair Community College. “Politicization of the pandemic and inflammatory media coverage have fueled the stigmatizing association of this virus to a particular place or a people, despite public health officials’ advice against doing so,” 

“It’s unacceptable, and we all as a Sinclair community have to be aware that it is unacceptable,” said Micheal Carter, Chief Diversity Officer and senior advisor to the president also at Sinclair.

Historically speaking, there have been many Anti-Asian movements in The United States. From the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to Japanese-Americans and anyone with a Japanese descent being forced into internment camps during World War II.

Asian-Americans deserve to be viewed and treated as equally as Americans of all creeds and descents. They are innocent in this catastrophe and there is no evidence to prove that the disease is caused by them. Also, Lu acknowledges that many Asian Americans are coming together and helping during this challenging time. 

“Asian American communities across the nation have mobilized their resources and manpower to help,” said Lu. 

There are many things capable of being individually done that can put a stop to Asian-American racism such as being careful with memes as things that might seem funny may be offensive to someone else. Additionally, it is important to check in on your Asian-American friends. 

“I believe we can work together to help get the facts out in order to dispel misinformation and ignorance whenever and wherever we can,” said Lu.

There is a diversity website Sinclair which has several TED talks, podcasts and other resources that Carter encourages each and every student to use. Doing so will provide education on how discrimination is unacceptable. Not just for Asian-Americans, but of people of any ethic group or race.

For if everyone could check on each other, regardless of ethnicity, which would result in a kinder world and please just refer to the virus as COVID-19, not any of the racist misnomers.

(Source: Youtube/VICE News)

Jackie Kasner

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