Asian discrimination is now more prevalent than ever, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept through the entire world, killing millions, and hurting hundreds of millions more. Asian Americans have become the target of xenophobic attacks, much like Muslims were blamed and scapegoated after the 9/11 attacks. When someone is going through hard times, they often try to find someone else to blame for their problems. Former president, Donald Trump being one of the most prominent figures to spread Asian hate and discrimination coining the phrase “China virus”, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic-that saw his approval rating reach as low as 35%. After the backlash he received for his comments, he tweeted that he was in support of the Asian-American community, only to call COVID-19 the “kung flu” a few months later while at a Trump rally in Arizona. Using the platform that he has to spread misinformation against a highly marginalized group of people, is unjust and also unfair. It not just in the U.S. where this is xenophobia is normalized amongst political leaders, several political parties and groups, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and Germany have also latched onto the Covid-19 crisis to advance anti-immigrant, white supremacist, ultra-nationalist, antisemitic, and xenophobic conspiracy theories that demonize refugees, foreigners, prominent individuals, and political leaders. If major political leaders continue to normalize this sort of hate speech, it will only spell trouble for the marginalized groups. We can already see how the normalization of xenophobia has a caused a 73% increase in Anti-Asian Hate speech. This history of anti-Asian hate speech stretches all the way back to the 1800’s when the United States was becoming an economic powerhouse were lots of jobs and job opportunities were open for a wide array of people. When immigrants first arrived here, they were not almost instantly not welcomed, a reflection of the growing anti-Asian sentiment that came to its climax with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The act banned the immigration of Chinese laborers, much as the Page Exclusion Act of 1875, the nation’s first restrictive immigration law, had prohibited the entry of Chinese women. In modern American history, Asian Americans have been regularly scapegoated during periods of war and duress. World War II saw the imprisonment of around 120,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast — an estimated 62 percent of whom were U.S. citizens — in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the Vietnam War, refugees from Southeast Asia faced discrimination and hate on a daily basis, including attacks by Ku Klux Klan members on shrimpers in Texas. As I mentioned above, it is way too normalized at the highest levels of government as well as around the world which means that media coverage is stagnant and infrequent.
This of being referred to as other, all goes back to the idea of scapegoating and marginalization. The COVID-19 pandemic saw people of Asian descent marginalized into the “Chinese-looking” category, thus prompting a wave of hate crimes against all Asian people. This scapegoating stretches back During WW2, when Chinese and other Asian ethnicities wore shirts that said, “Please don’t hit, I am not Japanese.” It is very scary to see that marginalized groups today are still forced to live in fear that oppressors might hurt or kill them for looking like someone from China. Looking at a global perspective, Through March, there were also reported incidents of discriminatory actions against Asian-looking people in Nizhnevartovsk, Ekaterinburg, Tatarstan, and Makhachkala, among other places. In Italy, the civil society group Lunaria since February has collected over 50 reports and media accounts of assaults, verbal harassment, bullying, and discrimination against people of Asian descent.
Asians now more than ever, need to work together in the fight against Asian hate. Separated they are silenced, but together they are heard; using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, people of Asian descent can unite to make their voices heard. Small musicians like Rick Lee are using rap culture to bring to light the problems of Xenophobia. Even while filming the video, Rick Lee and his camera guy were given hate and it clearly shows how many people are against the movement to end Asian hate speech. People like me who are of Non Asian descent, should use our voices when we notice real hate being spread in school or on social media. Cancel-culture, originally used to de-platform the A-listers of our society for comments or things they have done and gotten away with without any repercussions, has turned into a far-left movement attempting to ruin the lives of people who have made one or two offensive comments. This far-left idea has proven to unite hate groups against the idea of progression and acceptance.
- Will the internet be the reason that Hate speech never dies? As it gives voices to those who do not deserve one.
- Do we as a nation really understand the difference between free speech and hate speech? Who should be the one to define the two ideas? Because the intersectionality between the two is prevalent now more than ever.