Chinatown in New York City is the site of stabbings, beatings and other hate crimes that have targeted Asian Americans over the past year. The surge in violence and verbal harassment is impacting Asian communities across America- (Ester Wells/Medill).
"People pray us with disinfectant during COVID...To them, we're not only infected. We are the infection." The United States likes to pride itself as being a "nation of immigrants" yet they treat these immigrants poorly. The xenophobia that is shown in society today is not new and has in fact been happening for many years which can be seen throughout history (i.e. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Immigration Act of 1994 etc.). As we have seen with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, public health crises feed heavily on xenophobia and racism; they have even been compared to parasites and have become an "invisible threat". Other examples include: Jewish immigrants being blamed for the syphilis outbreak in 1492, Jews and gypsies being accused of spreading the bubonic plague, and the yellow virus being given the name of the "German Virus". Even though there has been lack of evidence that ethnic groups are responsible for disease, people use it anyway to justify their xenophobic actions. By naming viruses after specific locations or people only results in discrimination against the associated population or group. Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, Asian people have been targets of many hate crimes and also other xenophobic actions. Because of people (including the previous president of the US) referring to the virus as the "China Virus" or the "Wuhan Virus" hate crimes against the Asian community have risen greatly. In fact, there have been more than 2,100 hate crimes against Asian Americans just months following the outbreak. Asian Americans have been treated poorly, as seen in this article, and it is crazy to think that they are not treated like humans at all and basically treated like trash.
This topic hits very close to home for me as I am a Chinese American. I recently went to a conference that spotlit this topic of living as an AAPI. It was so validating and refreshing to hear these women that were congress members and ambassadors to explain similar experiences that I have brushed off. Being a Chinese American is such a confusing way to live. The article justifiably frames what I mean by 'confusing', by describing it as "Perforated invisibility". We are a race that is neither black nor white, but we get deemed as a “model minority” or “white-adjacent.”. I may be 'white-washed' and grew up in a white family and even have a white perspective, but that does not make me white-- I still get racialized by the rest of the world. Having this 'white-adjacent' perspective be placed on me has made me feel that my race becomes invalidated. Some of my classmates and friends have made me feel this way because they can be deemed as a 'more' marginalized race. So having articles and conferences address this topic is so important to me because it makes me aware that others have shared in the same INternal and external experiences as myself.
I have experienced racism, luckily nothing violent, but the way that 'orientalism' has framed people who are deemed as 'Asian', specifically women, brings along other types of being racialized. Being an 'invisible' race leads to unknowing bottled-up prejudices. The way the article explains it "[R]acism has become more covert, often cloaked in microaggressions and implicit biases ... effectively gave license to target and discriminate against Asian Americans, exploiting familiar scapegoating tactics that prey upon people’s existing prejudices." It is a strange social dynamic that gets projected on to people who are deemed as 'Asian'.
Trump’s wanton response to the pandemic downplayed its severity and caused Americans great financial instability through longer economic shutdowns due to his apprehensiveness of taking early action (p. 5). His villainization of what he calls the “China virus” exemplifies his war culture, inciting mass discrimination and abuse towards Asian Americans. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been thousands of reported hate crimes cases linked to rhetoric that blames Asian people for the spread of COVID-19. These hate crimes were incited by Trump’s categorization of the virus: “I view our fight against the invisible enemy [coronavirus] as a war," he said in March of 2020 (Salcedo, 2021, para. 15). Trump’s distortion of the virus and his early claims that punitive actions should be taken against China were accused by China as a way to distract the American public from its own response to the pandemic (Rutledge, 2020, p. 647; Salcedo, 2021). Wells’ article, Asian Americans Fight Racism and Struggle to Redefine Their Identity, outlines the severity of Asian hate and how it has been emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wells notes that "Anti-Asian racism, she argues, a persistent, pernicious force, is inextricably linked to the identity assigned of Asians in this country, which is one of perforated invisibility.” Asian Americans are seen by the White American community as a ‘monolith’ rather than acknowledging Asian-American’s various racial background which diminishes their identity and their sense of belonging in the United States. The greater American community needs to combat this hierarchal narrative by using social media as a platform to advocate for equality, going to rallies, supporting Chinatowns and volunteering to escort elders. This is just the start to helping combat stigma in Asian communities in the U.S.
Reading this article gave me chills. I knew that dude to the most recent coronavirus Asian Americans have had a large increase in hate crimes but I didn’t know the specific details. Racism has no limits it discriminates against people by just looking different. This has now reached a new level with attacking innocent people, riots, verbal abuse, and even flat out on purpose trying to kill Asians Americans. In the article, it stated in 2020 alone, more than 3,000 attacks on Asian Americans were reported to the national Stop AAPI Hate coalition. I can’t imagine what amount of fear they have just trying to leave their house. Fear can be really damaging to once’s sense of identity because it just leaves you questioning your perception of yourself. Also , what is the most crazy to me out of all of this is that even the president of the US has directed racism towards this community by calling the virus “Chinese virus”. I feel as though this has put a very large number of people in fear because knowing the leader of somewhere you live doesn’t even want you there.
As I am not an Asian American, I will never understand what they have been going through this past year. however, after seeing all these hate crimes on the news, social media, articles, newspapers, etc., I'm getting glimpse into the nightmare they are going through. Asians have been facing forms of discrimination before Covid - 19, but the hate crimes one the pandemic hit have skyrocketed. Asian Americans are scared to go outside in the dark and walk by themselves which is outrageous. The police need to allot more resources in finding these criminals and punishing them. We need to have more protests and sign more petitions because if we do not take action, no improvements will be made. People need to be re educated as the incorrectly believe that Asians purposely caused this virus outbreak. This belief is so untrue and cruel to place upon an entire group of people. Asian Americans just want to live their lives peacefully without being beaten in the street for no reason. They are human beings just like us and after the year we have had, we should know better than this. We need to fight to stop these Asian American hate crimes and any hate crimes that arise. It is the year of 2021 and this is unacceptable!!
This article was so saddening to me, reading what life has been like for Asian Americans especially in the last year. They've been facing discrimination for so long now, but many hateful individuals are now hiding behind the idea of COVID in order to harm or discriminate against them. I, myself, am Asian but I'm South Asian. I haven't been personally affected by this ignorant-fueled hate, but it's painful seeing that happen to my Asian brothers and sisters. A big contributing factor to this rise in Asian hate has been Donald Trump's use of rhetoric when talking about COVID, as mentioned in the article. By using words like "Kung-flu" or the "Chinese virus", he's single-handedly placing blame on Asians for this pandemic, and that's ignorance at its finest. To top that, he has shamelessly tried defending his words by saying that the virus originated in China, hence the words "Chinese virus". This is dangerous because it can lead to stigmatizing an entire country, and it can severely impact that country's economy and avoidance in how the rest of the world might travel there. Because of this, the WHO actually began a new practice back in 2015 to stop calling a disease by where it was originated from. I just hope we can do our part in bringing awareness for Asian American discrimination and helping to combat the hate that they've been receiving.
Sexism, racism, hate crime these are very common words to Asian women. It’s very common in media too. Every time we open newspapers or listen to news, there is always some kinds of hate crimes appear. And most of the time, the victims are women. By reading the article, I realized that its even more specific to Asian women. The article gives some examples which proves how cruel these hate crimes are!! When I go to work, sometimes my coworkers talk about this hate crime They gave me an example of how a man cut one woman’s nose while she was working in a store!! Hate crimes are getting cruel with time so together we should find a solution against it.
One thing that stood out to me while reading this article was when it was written that "They see us as a foreign threat to America." Threat being the main word that stood out to me. Asains are looked down on, though they're human beings just as everyone else is. They are categorized as a type, a threat as written and because of where they are from and the way they look, there's automatically an idea attached to who they are. Like a weapon, this group of people who are again human beings are threats.