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Hatred Towards Asian People in the COVID-19 Era


racism is a pandemic protest sign
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona from Unsplash

COVID-19 has deeply affected the Asian communities, at a nationwide level and global scale. When the pandemic initially began impacting countries, a roar of panic consumed citizens, and some individuals sought to find a source to blame for the disruption of their lives. The media portrayed Asians as the cause of this worldwide issue, pouring gasoline on the fire. Former President Trump labeled COVID-19 as the “China-virus” on multiple occasions, attaching the entirety of the community to the pandemic. As the pandemic progressed, there was a strong realization among the Asian community that they were at the forefront of the hatred inspired by people like Donald Trump. President Trump only fueled the xenophobia, legitimizing the blame placed on Asian Americans, using racist rhetoric, and not acting decisively to condemn hate crimes. As COVID-19 raged on, Asians had a metaphoric target drawn on their backs and the amount of hate crimes against the Asian community only increased as a direct result of racist rhetoric and remarks made by politicians and public figures.

This similarly reflected the aftermath of 9/11. Muslims as a whole were blamed, not just the extremist group that actually participated in the attack. The post-9/11 era, too, saw a staggering increase in hate crimes. Studies have shown that the use of the phrase “the China virus” has negatively impacted the way individuals view Asian Americans. Individuals are more likely to discriminate and act violently against Asians because of this rhetoric. Additionally, the hatred and bigotry toward Asians are downplayed, as individuals within their community believe their oppression did not equate to what other minority groups experience. Due to this detraction, some hate crimes have gone unreported. Society must accentuate its actualities, and as a nation not place blame on those who are not to blame.

Instead, we as a country should put more of the focus on preventing the spread of the virus and coming together to protect our Asian community, not perptuating stereotypes and racism, which does nothing to stop the virus. Asian people around the world are undeserving of the racism they face and are just as deserving of respect and compassion as the rest of the country, as well as the world. 

Political Science Undergrad Student at The University of Utah
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