A World Without Racism is Equal
The Fight For Asian American Equality
The pandemic has negatively affected the way Asian Americans are treated in the US. There has been a severe increase in hate incidents directed towards Asian Americans. In fact, by some accounts, it has increased by 150%. Some evidence suggests that the increase in violence is linked to people blaming Asian people for the cause of the pandemic. The issue might go deeper than that, however. According to research, there is a stereotype that Asian people are meek and passive, which may cause people to think that they are easy targets and making them more susceptible to racial attacks.
Many people have shared their personal stories with TIME on how they have been treated during the pandemic. Justin Tsui shared his story about the time he was approached by a stranger on his way home. The stranger asked Tsui if he was Chinese, and Tsui replied yes. The stranger then started telling Tsui to go back to China and calling him a racial slur- claiming that Asian people were responsible for the pandemic. This made Tsui uncomfortable, and the stranger kept coming closer, forcing Tsui to take a step back towards the edge of the subway platform. The stranger even followed Tsui onto the subway, sitting across from him and saying “I’m watching you”. These kinds of stories unfortunately are becoming more and more common throughout the pandemic. This needs to be a wake-up call to show people that change needs to come.
Racism towards Asians is not a new occurrence in the US sadly. Racism towards people of Asian descent dates back to the 19th century when Chinese immigrants started coming to the United States looking for work. This was not a welcomed change to people during that time, and they were concerned that the new immigrants would pose an economic, health, and moral threat. Soon after that, the Asian Exclusion Act of 1882 was enacted making Chinese immigration impossible. There have now been acts have been signed such as the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, but that is still not enough to counteract the hatred and racism that is going on.
Despite all of the negativity, there are positive actions people can take to spread awareness. Things such as addressing negative stereotypes and countering them, encouraging people to tell their stories and perspectives, and so forth are all things that can help continue the journey of equality for Asian Americans. Organizations and leaders also have a responsibility in addressing issues Asian Americans face, such as workplace discrimination, increased unemployment, poor access to healthcare, etc. Everyone needs to come together to help improve the lives of many Asian Americans.