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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Today I sat down to eat my lunch. It was a sandwich with roast beef, provolone cheese, and arugula between two slices of whole-grain bread and a side of goldfish. It’s not a very complicated lunch. But that didn’t stop someone from coming up to me and asking if I was eating a bat. This is the third time something like this has happened to me in the past two weeks. Not to mention the times when someone has run away or given me dirty looks every time I cough. 

Just like the SARS outbreak in 2003, H1N1 swine flu in 2009, and the ebola outbreak in 2014, racist and xenophobic sentiments are ridiculously high with minorities being used as scapegoats. Since the novel coronavirus has made it to international headlines, Asians around the world are being unfairly treated with suspicion and hostility to the point where the United States government has declared a state of emergency and denied temporary entry to those who they consider posing a risk despite the fact that the World Health Organization traditionally advises against measures that impede international travel because they cause harmful stigmas against the sick. 

Growing up I have experienced a lot of microaggressions. People have pointedly asked me not to bring Chinese food in for my lunch. A lot of people think that these microaggressions are jokes, but they’re not, they’re just being racist. I thought that since it was 2020, it would be better. I had a little faith that people would stop spreading false information and xenophobia. I thought that maybe people wouldn’t tell me to go back to China (I’m Taiwanese btw), I thought that maybe people would just go “Oh, there have only been about 11 cases of coronavirus in the United States, as long as I’m sanitary than I have nothing to worry about.” but once against the ignorance of Caucasian Americans has proved me wrong. 

So let me make some things clear. The coronavirus outbreak does not mean you need to avoid crowded areas, Asian food, or Asian people.  You don’t need to be worried about packages coming in from Asia, the virus can’t even survive that long on the surfaces without a host. The coronavirus is not an excuse to use microaggressions against people of Asian descent, we are not the butt end of your jokes, you’re just being racist. So if you’re really afraid of the minuscule chance that you’ll get coronavirus, just stay clean. That’s literally it. Wash your hands. 

 

Second year studying anthropology with a health emphasis and pre-medicine
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor