By Kristen Dalida and Kate Goshko
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Asians have reported experiencing racism and having felt discriminated against. Many people are blaming people of Asian descent, especially East Asian, for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC wrote on their official website, “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.” After the announcement of COVID-19 being identified in China, it received many reactions from the public, including the former President of the U.S. Donald Trump.
He made multiple comments and statements about COVID-19 early in the year, calling it the “Chinese Virus” and the “Wuhan Virus.” For example, at his UN General Assembly speech, he said, “We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy, the china virus, which has claimed countless lives.”
Ever since the public heard of the phrases “Wuhan Virus” and “Chinese Virus,” there has been an increase of racism towards Asians, especially Chinese people. In Apr. 2020, it was reported that an Asian family in Texas had been stabbed.
According to NY Daily News, the FBI said, “The suspect indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with coronavirus.” More and more hate crimes continue to happen after former President Donald Trump created the phrase “Chinese Virus.”
The COVID-19 cases in the United States are increasing, and as they keep increasing, the racism, xenophobia and generalizing towards Asians are continuing and worsening. According to Pew Social Trends, “About three-in-ten Asian adults (31%) say they have been subject to slurs or jokes because of their race or ethnicity since the outbreak began.”
Asians have also been experiencing more subtle racism such as being accused of having COVID-19 when showing even the slightest signs of sickness, like having a cold or a normal cough. Many appear to the conclusion that they (Asians) have COVID-19, merely because they associate the virus with the Asian community.
Racism against people of Asian descent is not new. Many Asians have experienced having jokes be made about their traditional Asian food. A common stereotype is that Asians eat animals such as bats, dogs, and crocodiles. Some Asian restaurants have been taken out of business because people were afraid to catch COVID-19.
America has a history of being racist towards the Asian community. According to National Geographic, “In the 1880s, ‘yellow peril’ — fear of an Asian invasion and resentment of the cheap labor coming from China — paved the way for the Chinese Exclusion Act, banning both new immigrants and existing residents from becoming U.S. citizens”.
Racism against the Asian community has always been here. The Leadership Conference Education Fund writes, “The model minority trope, typically applied to Asian Americans, is still trotted out to downplay racism and dismiss claims of white privilege.” COVID-19 has brought to light how deep this racism is, CBS News reports that, “The tone of the country has been exacerbated by President Trump, who refers to the virus as ‘Kung Flu’ or the ‘Chinese virus'”.
Adrion de Leon from PBS News writes, “The coronavirus sees no borders. Likewise, I think that everyone must follow the example of these organizations and activists, past and present, to reach across borders and contribute to collective well-being.” He made it clear: Reverting back to our old ways is not the answer.