Asian Media Access

Understanding and Stopping Anti-Asian Hate During the Pandemic (#4)

Janie Ye
Wayzata High School

The COVID-19 pandemic was a global health crisis that resulted in over 3 million deaths and shutdowns of entire industries. The first reported case was in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019 and US lockdowns began in 2020 to prevent the spread of the disease. The emergence of COVID-19 and its contagious spread throughout the globe brought extreme changes to modern society. Among these changes included increased discrimination towards Asian Americans. Racially motivated hate crimes spiked in America because of the supposed origin of the disease in China. This and other social, physical, and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are still felt today and will continue to affect future developments in the United States.

A significant increase in the amount of hate crimes and violence towards Asian Americans was a change brought to the United States by COVID-19. According to Pew Research Center, “about one-third of Asian adults (32%) say they personally know an Asian person in the U.S. who has been threatened or attacked because of their race or ethnicity since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020”. Other surveys also reveal a surge in the amount of violence directed towards Asian Americans because of the pandemic. The fact that hate incidents are more than likely underreported exposes the true magnitude of the problem.

During the pandemic, Asian Americans experienced a multitude of hate crimes and discrimination. Students faced hostility in school and adults faced violence in public. Many changed their daily routines to avoid discrimination or violence in public. Prejudice towards Asian Americans, which was already a problem in the US before COVID, increased substantially during the pandemic. Racist attitudes towards the Asian American community intensified and despite numerous media reports, anti-Asian hate crimes did not lower until after the pandemic.

Long term effects of the hate towards Asian Americans during COVID include impacts on mental health and lasting fear of discrimination in the future. Although these hate crimes are becoming more publicized and less frequent, the toll of racism during the pandemic towards Asian Americans has been high. Thanks to various organizations and activists, discrimination towards the Asian American community has become less common, but the public should not forget how Asian Americans were treated during the pandemic. It can serve as a valuable lesson on the development and effects of racism in society.

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