Hate crimes and other acts of racism against those of Asian or Pacific Island descent are increasing in recent times due to the rise of the coronavirus and its subsequent spread. The novel coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China. Despite the virus not discriminating against different races and ravaging populations across the globe, fear led to misguided anger being directed towards Asians. Xenophobic and racist comments and actions were dirceted towards Asians in non-Asian countries. This hate against Asian people was only exacerbated by several political leaders referring to the virus as the “Chinese virus” and blaming the Chinese for 'creating' the disease or 'bringing it upon themselves.' In the US, former government officials called COVID-19 the “China virus,” and “Wuhan virus,” and these terms are believed to have augmented and encouraged hate speech. Despite this growing problem, racism against Asians has gone largely unreported by the media.
Attacks against Asian-Americans, particularly against elderly Asian-Americans, have increased in the US since last January. In San Francisco, an elderly immigrant from Thailand died after being violently pushed to the ground by a young man. In Oakland’s Chinatown, three people were injured after being pushed. In New York City, a Filipino man had his face slashed with a box cutter on the subway. This has prompted action from several groups. Influencers have taken to social media to speak out against hate crimes against Asians in the US. The #StopAsianHate campaign has begun circulating and several influencers have put out posts speaking out against the hate crimes. Notable influencers include Eva Chen, Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Wu, Gemma Chan, Phillip Lim, and many more.
It is our responsibility as young, informed citizens to speak out when we witness hate against Asian Americans. This will help ensure that everyone rightly feels valued and respected in our society.