By Janica Maya
The COVID-19 pandemic has only escalated anti-Asian racism fueled by many years of anti-Asian hate crimes. Many countries have reported a spike in Asian-hate crimes and for most people; the pandemic has only intensified and recognized the long-lasting violence and anti-Asian racism.
The stereotypes projected of Asian people characterize their behaviors as ‘unconventional’ and ‘at fault’ for spreading diseases. This created a negative discourse of Asian communities that led to the spread of misinformation on COVID-19 across the globe.
Media reporting and some International government officials have claimed China’s connection to the global COVDI-19 outbreak. For instance, Donald Trump deemed the coronavirus “China Virus” and his comments fueled a false narrative associating COVID-19 with Asian people.
Since then, Asian communities have experienced hate on social media and in their daily lives. The misleading information has spread far more quickly and widely like the virus, and both have undoubtedly affected many people negatively. The pandemic highlighted anti-Asian racism that was part of a long history of exclusion, mistrust and stereotypes of Asian communities.
Teresa Woo-Pow – Chair, Canadian Race Relation Foundation said, “We have a long history of anti-Asian racism, with deep-seated prejudice and stereotypes. Somehow people still do not recognize that we do have anti-Asian racism in this country, and it is also embedded in our systems as well as our daily lives.”
After acknowledging Asian racism, it prompted many to protest, especially to express grief and anger post the shootings in Atlanta at three separate massage parlours, earlier in March that killed eight people - with six of them being Asian women. Law enforcement did not cite the shooter’s motives as a hate crime, but for his sexual addiction.
As Asian women face decades of racism, misogyny, stereotypes and are hyper-sexualized – these factors could have played a role in the violent attack.
According to Avvy Go - Clinic Director, Chinese and Southeast Legal Clinic: “Each one of these incidents takes away from all Asian Canadians our sense of safety, robs our basic dignity and ultimately undermines our sense of belonging in a country that we have every right to call home.”
The Asian community renewed calls for action from all levels of government to address the overdue issue of racism. These include, more funding towards support services for victims of racial crime - as some are essential workers and at risk of racist incidents. In addition, more education and resources can provide a supportive space where people can share their stories and experiences.
After years of painful silence, the pandemic raised the volume on Asian hate crime to help recognize the underlying truths and realities experienced by Asian communities as part of everyday anti-Asian racism.
Tell us what you think about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Leave us a comment @vibe105to