Asian Americans are being targeted

Why has racism towards Asian Americans become so normalized?

Aneisha Goodlow, Staff Writer

With the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 hitting the United States in January of 2020, which many have speculated to have originated in Wuhan, China, many Asian Americans have been victims of numerous hate crimes and verbal harassments over the past 14 months. Anti-American Asian rhetoric first began with former President Donald Trump’s first tweet about a “Chinese virus”. According to a recent study from the Insider, that tweet triggered an immediate rise in anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter. A peer-reviewed study, published last month by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco, found that the original March 16, 2020 quote was directly responsible for a major increase in anti-Asian hashtags. Perhaps, this anti-Asian rhetoric might not have entered into your particular community, but that does not mean we can pretend that it is not happening. Sadly, there are too many ignorant Americans that are causing great harm to an ethnic population that does not deserve the hate, and as a young African American female teenager, I am sadly witnessing that racism extends well beyond the white/black border.

Mr. Trump went on to use the term repeatedly on Twitter and in person through the end of his presidency. At the time of his tweet, there were 153,000 confirmed cases of COVID- 19 worldwide, and several states had already introduced emergency measures. Researchers at the University of San Francisco have analyzed nearly 700,000 tweets that used either “#covid19” or “#chinesevirus” from March 9 to March 23, 2020. They reported that half of the tweets used “#chinesevirus” and another 20% of tweets used “#covid19” helped fuel the flames of anti-Asian sentiment. “When comparing the week before March 16, 2020, to the week after, there was a significantly greater increase in anti-Asian hashtags associated with #chinesevirus compared with #covid19,” they (USF researchers) wrote.

Mr. Trump quickly defended his use of the term. “Because it comes from China. It’s not racist at all,” he told a reporter on March 18, 2020 when referring to the fact that the novel coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China. The use of terms like “Chinese virus” and “kung flu” which Trump publicly said at a rally in June of 2020, are directly linked to the rise of racist sentiments towards Asian Americans. An Ipsos survey conducted last month found that more than 30% of Americans said they had witnessed someone blaming people of Asian descent for the coronavirus pandemic. A study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University- San Bernardino found that attacks against Asians in the United States increased by 150% in 2020. The university was able to collect over 2,800 reported incidents of Asian hate crime nationwide during the months from March 2020 to December 2020. In these 10 months, 70% of the reports involved verbal harassment, 21% involved shunning, 8% involved physical assault, and 1% involved being spat or coughed on. Last July, John C. Yang, the president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, told Insider that terms like kung flu resulted in physical and verbal abuse toward Asians.”That term plays on a racist stereotype in itself and is being used to stigmatize a community regarding a medical issue that all of the world should be rallying around. We should not be trying to find terms that alienate or harms communities even further than the health crisis that we are already living in,” Yang said. Furthermore, at a congressional hearing last month being held to investigate the rising violence against Asian Americans, Rep. Grace Meng said Trump and other Republican Party figures had put a “a bull’s-eye on the back of Asian Americans across this country.”

Anti-Asian Hate crimes have increased by 145% since 2019. It is a false narrative to say that COVID is to blame. No, it’s the actions of those who have committed the crimes against the Asian American population, and by those who sat by and watched and stayed silent.  COVID-19 is not the beginning of Anti-Asian hate crime, just the climax of it. When will our country fully realize that we have a major issue with race. For those of you who just thought that America just had a black vs. white issue, COVID-19 clearly displayed the dark truth that racism exists in all minority communities. There needs to be a cleansing of hate in our country and the Baby Boomer generation has proven they are not up to the task. No, the solution lies within the Generation Z population. Gen Z displayed great courage, unity and love in organizing the Black Lives Matter movement this past summer. Let’s hope that the BLM movement is just a precursor to more positive change to come. Our country’s survival depends upon it.