"I Am Not a Virus" - Fighting Coronavirus Racism

Source: NextShark

I am not a virus.

This statement was written on a sign by a Chinese-Italian man in Italy as he offered free hugs to passersby.

A Thai-American woman on a New York City subway was verbally abused by a man screaming about coronavirus. In a separate incident on the subway, another woman wearing a face mask was punched and kicked by a man who called her diseased. Similar incidents have been reported in countries all around the world.

As anti-Asian sentiment increases due to fears of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, It is easy to see how Asians and Asian-Americans are perpetually perceived as foreigners in the US and other countries.

The same goes for foreigners in China. Foreign countries have been infected with the virus, but it does not mean foreigners in China have it.

Harvard runs an Implicit Association Test that measures the time it takes for one to associate Asian and White faces with Foreigner or American. The vast majority of test takers have unconscious biases associating Asian faces with being foreigners, reinforcing our outsider status. It begs the question posed by many Asian-Americans of where do I belong? if not accepted in the US as American, and not accepted in Asian countries as Asian.

Its exhausting to constantly be reminded of my otherness, and this case is no different. COVID-10 does not discriminate based on age, gender, or race and youre as likely to get it from an non-Asian person as you are from a Asian person.

In Order to Fight Xenophobia:

  1. Don't support racism that happens and report it when possible. Don't spread videos that promote a biased standpoint or racist values.

  2. Call it COVID-19 or Coronavirus. Not Chinese Coronavirus which creates unwarranted negative associations. Stay away from Wuhan virus, Chinese virus, and Asian virus.

  3. Work to understand your biases the Harvard IAT test is eye-opening to anyone who wants to see more equality. Knowing your biases is the first step to balancing them.

  4. Dont shy away from people of Asian descent or businesses. Chinese restaurants are reporting drops in business. Overall consumer spending is down and its hurting the greater economy.