The recent coronavirus pandemic across the globe has affected everyone’s schedules. Everything is under quarantine for the safety of the public and hospitals are working overtime to save people’s lives. This virus has frustrated many people because of the fear and disruption it has caused. However, the coronavirus has caused another issue that I wish more people would look at: the huge rise in violent acts against Asians. I am a Chinese American woman, and what I have seen has absolutely disturbed me beyond belief.
The virus came out of China, and there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that. However, calling it the “Chinese virus” or other names is extremely dangerous and hurtful. It perpetuates the idea that it’s okay to violently attack Asian people, and it puts the blame on a whole race of people. The ignorance of people who don’t see it as a problem astonishes me. It has created a whole culture of hatred and blame. The excuse that other diseases were named after places is invalid; no country wants that and there is no reason to continue. Blaming an entire race for something like this is absolutely xenophobic and racist. It is endangering the lives of Asians all across the country, and the hatred has spiked immensely.
Asians have reported over 500 racist acts in one week alone. These are not just slurs either; it’s harassment and extreme violence. Incidents such as a Pennsylvania college student sending derogatory and vile direct messages to the University of Wisconsin having hate speech against the Chinese written on their campus are not uncommon. It has come to the point where several news outlets like The New Yorker, CNN, and The New York Times have documented the growing cases. Instances of violence include a man attempting to rob an Asian woman in a so-called “coronavirus robbery,” three teens being arrested for assaulting Chinese students, and a Vietnamese woman who was assaulted on a train for “not wearing a mask.” It isn’t just in America either. In Toronto, a teen yelled “Asian people eat bats” at a Korean woman. Two girls were caught yelling racial slurs at an Asian couple in England and the list goes on. These attacks are the result of the blatant racism that has been ongoing since the virus outbreak. I’m even afraid sometimes that I will be racially harassed because of xenophobia.
There are so many more incidents I could write about, but it would be exhausting. Look out for your Asian friends, family, and peers. Defend them, stand up for them, and don’t accept this sort of vile treatment. Don’t go around trying to justify terms like “Chinese virus” because the consequences of that term have been terrifying. To other Asians who are reading this, stick up for yourself and protect yourself. It’s a scary time to be alive, and open racism is rampant, so please educate yourselves. These actions aren’t funny; they’re terrifying and just openly hateful. How is being a horrible person going to benefit you in any way? Support each other through this time because more than ever everyone needs it.