Growing racism against Asian communities following the coronavirus pandemic has brought some right-thinking people together to support the victims of racial abuse and to empathise with people regardless of their identity.
At a time when the world is trying to unite, putting its worldly differences aside for the most urgent cause of tackling the spread of novel coronavirus, the worst side of mankind doesn't cease to disappoint with its hate-filled actions against a certain race.
This time, since the pandemic began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, Asian communities have been facing a wave of racist abuse in different parts of the world.
To help combat the rising tide of hatred, notable Asian Americans have teamed up for the “Wash the Hate” campaign, where Asian Amerians post videos of themselves washing their hands while sharing personal stories about how the coronavirus has impacted their lives.
Actress Celia Au, known most recently for her role in the hit fantasy/martial arts series ‘Wu Assassins’ wrote on Twitter. “There are serious concerns in the Asian American community about scapegoating and becoming the targets of misplaced fear and anger. Come join me and post a video to #WashTheHate. Let’s not discriminate and we can overcome Covid-19 together!”
Mulan actor Tzi Ma also joined the social media campaign to raise awareness about coronavirus-related harassment.
“So the next time you wash your hands, wash out the hate that you may have for your fellow Americans. Hate will get you sick, even if the virus doesn’t,” said Ma via Twitter.
Proud to be join a new campaign @WashTheHate. #Coronavirus-related violence on AsianAmericans is on the rise. We all need to do our part to stop the disease of hate, just like with #COVID19 itself. Post your own video using #WashTheHate on social. Be heard. Be brave. pic.twitter.com/DPVZjveBj0— Kristen Sze ABC7 (@abc7kristensze) March 18, 2020
“In my 40 years here in the US, I haven't seen this level of blatant attacks,” says Kristen and urges followers to take action. “Let’s just say ‘no’ to that, let’s refuse to go there. Please let’s wash away the hate and bring in the love!”
President Trump called coronavirus the “Chinese virus” for a week, prompting more harassment of Asian Americans, then last Monday he voiced support for the Asian American community in a press conference saying that he doesn't like the "nasty language" used against Asian-Americans around coronavirus.
“It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus… .is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!” Trump also wrote on Twitter.
It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2020
Away from the American shores, the French newspaper Le Courrier Picard sparked outrage with this headline on its front page which read ‘Yellow Alert’ and showed a Chinese woman wearing a mask.
People took to Twitter with the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I’m not a virus) to condemn the reference to ‘yellow peril’, a racist fear that East Asian people pose a threat to society.
The fear has gotten out of hand and turned into racism towards Asian-looking people in Europe as well. Xenophobic posts on social media as well as anti-Asian discrimination have seen a spike.
At the end of February, Jonathan Mok, a 23-year-old Singaporean student, was assaulted in Oxford Street near the London underground station. Mok walked past a group of young people but turned around and looked at them when he heard one of them saying “coronavirus”. Then he was punched in the face multiple times as another one said: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.” Mok suffered fractures on his face and might need to undergo reconstructive surgery.
Then in March, a subway rider harassed an Asian man on NYC subway and sprayed him with air freshener, and a 19-year-old teen stabbed four -including two children - in a racially motivated attack in Texas where he admitted that he was trying to kill the family at Midland Sam’s club.
The increasing frequency of incidents against Asian Americans in New York prompted State Attorney General Letitia James to set up a bias reporting hotline in its commitment to combat anti-Asian sentiment.
“As we face an unprecedented and uncertain time for New York, the United States, and the world, we must reiterate the fact that this pandemic does not give anyone an excuse to be racist, xenophobic, or biased,” said Attorney General James in a statement ( https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2020/ag-james-launches-hotline-combat-coronavirus-hate-crimes-and-xenophobic-rhetoric ) encouraging all victims of any hate crimes and bias incidences to contact her office.
As people associate coronavirus with Asians, Asian looking people fear for their security amidst an increase in hate crimes. Asian American groups set up a website available in six languages to collect and track incidents of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate, violence and discrimination as peopleboycott businesses, spray graffiti on properties and attack Asian looking people verbally or physically .
The STOP AAPI HATE centre believes the incidents will help inform future policy discussions, as more than 750 cases were reported since its inception in March 2019.
The article came from TRT World’s Eyes on Discrimination (EOD) Centre, which monitors and reports on offences, hate crimes and discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin and religion, or other related social categories. We promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.