What’s happening with COVID-19 and the Asian/ Asian American community?
- The COVID-19 pandemic has been inspiring anti-Asian racism and xenophobia.
- Chinese Americans especially have been the victims of physical, emotional, and economic abuse by fellow Americans.
- President Trump, among other leaders, has been focusing blame on China and the Chinese community. He has referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus,” and even “Kung Flu.”
- Why does it matter what we call the virus? https://theconversation.com/naming-the-new-coronavirus-why-taking-wuhan-out-of-the-picture-matters-131738
- “I Become a Person of Suspicion” by The Daily from the New York Times
- This is the touching story and reflections of a reporter, a Chinese immigrant, who has experienced prejudice due to the coronavirus.
- Web player: http://podplayer.net/#/?id=101628282
- Episode: https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/rss.art19.com/episodes/22e13249-7670-4ba6-954f-367c41bb7d26.mp3
- This increase in xenophobia and racism are not isolated events but part of a long history of anti-Asian sentiment in the US. Here is a timeline to provide the historical context.
Why is addressing the current trend in racism towards Asian/ Asian Americans important?
- Xenophobic rhetoric, racism, and violence are not only detrimental to the psychological wellbeing of the 20+ million Asian Americans in the United States–they also fuel the anxiety we as a nation are experiencing due to the current crisis. This is a time when our diverse communities should be working together to support one another, not be divided with fear and hatred.
- It is potentially a major public health issue.
- Stigma tied with coronavirus makes it less likely for victims of xenophobia to seek safety precautions/appropriate healthcare, which can negatively impact the community’s health and make it more likely for the virus to spread.
Racism can lead to misguided safety measures whereby people focus their attention on avoiding a targeted group of people instead of taking appropriate prevention measures in general.
Resources for Asian/ Asian Americans
- The organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice has compiled many resources in response to the racism surrounding COVID-19.
- The Stop Hate project provides legal and social services through a hotline for all hate crimes, including those related to COVID-19.
- There several sites where personal experiences can be shared.
- Emory’s APAMSA hosted a panel called “Xenophobia and Coronavirus: Historical, Political, and Social Perspectives.”
- The Asian American Feminist Collective and Bluestockings NYC have created this PDF outlining the historical framework of the recent increase in racism, along with various available resources.
Anti-Racism Interventions for Bystanders
Here are helpful resources on how to respond if you witness a racist attack:
- YOUR GUIDE TO BYSTANDER INTERVENTION
Harvard Medical School has created a learning module that includes information about the various vulnerable populations affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Language barriers are also important to address so that all communities can have accurate information on COVID-19. Below are COVID-19 resources for many different languages:
We want to acknowledge that while these are unprecedented times, the racism experienced by the Asian American community is in no way a new phenomenon. It arises from pre-existing anti-Asian sentiments, along with systemic racism that has been felt even more acutely by other minority groups. This underlying systemic racism in the US has also manifested in other ways, as seen, for example, in the significant health disparities seen in the African American community. As we ask for support and solidarity for Asian Americans, it is important for everyone to understand how the current crisis sheds light on issues that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. This conversation is important both during and after this pandemic, as we work to build a cohesive community that is united against prejudice of any kind.
We hope the following resources are helpful as we continue to engage in this conversation:
- The People’s Collective for Justice & Liberation co-hosted a town hall meeting with 6 other organizations called “Anti-Asian Racism: Race, Struggle and Solidarity in the Time of A Global Pandemic.”
- An article titled “Asian Americans, Anti-Blackness, and COVID-19”