Harassment and abuse against Asians had been around for a long time before the coronavirus, but it has worsened throughout the pandemic.
Clark Magnet High School sophomore Winnie Ann Masaoy has noticed the growth in insults against Asians.
“I think these racial phrases are utterly disrespectful and racist, as Asians have already been criticized for having “small eyes” or for assuming what ethnicity they are because it is said that “all Asians are look like, “” Masaoy said. “On top of that, new racial phrases like” Your kind brought the virus “or” you eat mice for dinner “only further perpetuate anti-Asian racism. It’s maddening and hurtful to hear these kinds of phrases over and over again every day. It’s almost as if it’s okay to normalize this unwarranted behavior.
COVID-19 has created challenges for everyone from people unable to meet their friends and family, to the constant wearing of masks and cleaning everything up, to the loss of loved ones. Along with these consequences of the virus, racist and xenophobic actions have multiplied.
Russel Jeung, creator of the report Stop AAPI HateTracker, said these acts of violence must stop.
“Acts of racist violence lead to heightened anxiety and fear in a population that already has higher rates of anxiety and depression related to COVID-19 than other racial groups,” Jeung said.
For this reason, Jeung created a website called Stop AAPIHate where people who experienced some form of racism during the onset of the Coronavirus could anonymously report their situation and will be added to the Stop the AAPI hate tracker. As of December 31, 2020, only 259 charges of Asian harassment had been reported to StopAPPIHate.
Across the country, more than 2,500 reports were Asian hate incidents linked to COVID-19 between March and September 2020.
National leaders have also engaged in comments that many say have increased racist hatred against Asians. In early March 2020, former President Donald J. Trump in a speech noted “Chinese virus / Chinese virus“instead of“ Coronavirus. ”Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said noted word “wuhan virus“instead of” Coronavirus “.
These types of comments have also spread around the world. The Governor of Italy noted this statement on China’s handling of the virus: “Culturally strong attention to hygiene, hand washing, showering, while we have all seen the Chinese eat live mice. ”
Although he tweeted an apology afterwards, his apology ended by saying that this pandemic is the start of the Chinese government’s “plan for world domination.”
Clark Magnet High School senior Tyra Marie Nicol Quiachon believes Trump’s response could have spread the racist spread towards Asians even further.
“I think it was very ignorant of him to call the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’. Giving the virus that nickname, in a way, has allowed others to believe that it is justified to view the virus racially, ”Quiachon said. “A lot of people think that if one person says it, so can they. I believe that by using that nickname it only made the situation worse in a different way.
A student at Clark Magnet High School, who wished to remain anonymous, suffered acts of xenophobia and racist slurs in April 2020. The student, of Asian descent, said that when his family walked down the street wearing masks, they were soon yelled at by two white men who were supposed to try and make them uncomfortable.
Not only is it happening in the open, this student said it is happening behind the screen.
During distance learning, for example, they said their classmates sometimes changed their Zoom backgrounds to harmful / coarse / offensive pictures of China-related coronavirus memes, and teachers would do nothing on this subject.
“Even though I’m not Chinese, it pains me to know that real minorities in our school would attack the Chinese / Asian community so easily. I am fortunate not to have experienced direct racism in school, and I guess my appearance does not make people think I am Asian, ”they said.
They also said that a Clark teacher called them and another student a “punch” during class.
“I have a feeling it will take some time not just for Clark, but the whole world to separate Asians and coronaviruses, and ‘precious’ culture from ‘dark humor’ shows,” they said. declared.
For a few months this year, an Asian American family in San Clemente, Calif., Had been bothered and harassed by many people entering their property knocking on their door or even shouting racist slurs. The neighbors on the block decided to stay in front of the family house to protect them from these people who were harassing them.
Clark Magnet High School sophomore Francine Batungbacal doesn’t think that when this virus ends, these types of xenophobic acts will end.
“Even before the pandemic, there was still this running joke of making fun of Asians. Making fun of our eyes, our food, everything like that, ”Batungbacal said. “And it hurts to see these things that we have fun turning into a trend [fox-eye challenge, wanting to go to Japan, romanticizing certain parts and not all parts of a culture]. This has been going on for a long time, and like an ongoing inner joke, this slander will continue. Maybe not up to the standard it is today, but definitely sprinkled with “Hey, do you remember when you Asians started this virus?”
Celebrities have also made their voices heard, denouncing racist attacks on Asians. In one Live streaming on Instagram last year, rapper Cardi B noted “Let’s stop being xenophobic, let’s stop being madly angry because I’ve seen a lot of Asians get beaten up. At this point in life, for once, let’s all be a race. Because at the end of the day, in the sight of God, we are all one.
Some even spoke out against Trump’s comments, including the actor. Marc Ruffalo, who tweeted: “Dear @realdonaldtrump, when you blame a virus on a whole race of people, you turn the people against them. When you make these unscientific political statements, some of your supporters start to act violently and exclusively, xenophobic manners against these people. Do better.”
Civil rights activist Amanda Nguyen spoke about the attacks happening around the world in his video, as well as his take on the whole world situation. Nguyen said “We count” and “Racism is killing usAnd “Stop killing us, we literally fear for our lives.” “
Some protested against these acts of discrimination. A common quote used in protest is “My ethnicity is not a virus” and “Racism is a virus”. People have created places to donate money to help support Asian communities.
In New York City, a donation website was set up to raise funds for Asian restaurants in Chinese district who have been affected by the coronavirus. Along with this, the Asia-Pacific Fund made money to support Asians in the Bay Area. In 2020, the Asia-Pacific Fund was able to raise $ 1.25 million from numerous donors.
News of such acts has been reported to the public. NextShark, a website that publishes news about Asian Americans, has organized fundraisers and made donations to help Asian Americans who have been going through difficult times during COVID. They have also supported Asian American businesses affected by COVID.
In addition, Los Angeles County has created a helpline 211 to track any situation of prejudiced hatred or hostility that has arisen. Another website that LA County has created is the LA against hate, which consults with local, county, state and federal law enforcement to help protect not only Asian communities, but also Latin American, Armenian, and LGBTQ + communities.