Since the pandemic swept America last March, 500 thousand Americans have died from COVID-19 complications, and people are looking for someone to blame. Fear and rage are manifesting themselves in anything from microaggressions to deadly physical attacks — and Asian Americans have wrongfully received the brunt of this aggression, with media misrepresentation and xenophobic, unsubstantiated claims from world leaders creating unwarranted hostility.
Though every Asian American hate crime committed in the past year cannot be attributed to the pandemic, groundless misinformation about the origin of the novel coronavirus has contributed to the hostility many Asian Americans face daily.
The Campanile stands with the Asian American community and denounces racist and xenophobic acts, no matter their size or perceived significance. If we are to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to do it together as a community through respectful, kind interactions.
We implore our readers to not be bystanders. If you see anti-Asian racism, or racism of any kind, speak up. Microaggressions often go unnoticed by perpetrators, yet they can leave victims with lasting feelings of shame and fear.
Racism and xenophobia permeate even liberal-leaning places like the Bay Area.
On Feb. 13, a homeless woman in Mountain View stole food and clothing from an Asian-owned business, saying she didn’t have to pay because the business owners were Asian. She also shouted racial slurs and spat on them.
Palo Alto is not immune to the surge in hate crimes being committed against Asian Americans across the nation every day. Even if you don’t fall victim to them, hate crimes are real and demand our attention. Cracking a joke calling the pandemic the “kung flu” or following in President Trump’s footsteps by calling COVID-19 the “China virus” may seem inconsequential, but it perpetuates anti-Asian sentiment and spreads the message that Asian Americans are to blame. It can be uncomfortable to correct our peers, but even by not speaking up after hearing a racist joke, we are enabling a culture of anti-Asian racism to persist.
Speak up, be present and be supportive. Check in with your friends and peers. Our battle in fighting the pandemic is far from over, and the only hope we have is in coming together.