The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread hysteria across the globe. We’re all suddenly staring at the barrel of a gun waiting to be shot at randomly. We’re playing Russian Roulette when we go outside. “I wonder if someone will violently approach me today”, “am I going to be another victim?” All these things run through our heads as East Asian Americans and right now, all of us are being lumped together because we “look Chinese”. Discrimination is not a new concept. We’ve learned about the hate crimes against Native Americans, African Americans, the LatinX American community, the Muslim American community. Unfortunately the pendulum landed on us and now it’s our turn to face head on discrimination in our own country.
Discrimination against Chinese Americans is also not something new, but it was never covered much in textbooks. Back then, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 affected immigrants coming to America. It was the first act to target a specific racial group and prohibit them from entering the country. The act was repealed in 1943 which allowed a certain quota of Chinese immigrants to come into the country. Now the Asian community has settled their lives here and a large generation of Asian American rose. We’re all American, but that doesn’t take away from that fact that now, we’re not being treated as such. We’re not even being treated humanely. I think the worst thing we can do right now is perpetuate the stigma that China deserved the virus and that everyone who “looks Chinese” has the virus. The worst thing we can do is invalidate the blatant discrimination towards the Asian American community. Even if you subtract racism from these hate crimes (ex: beatings on the street and being called a chink, etc…) at the end of the day, harrassment is harrassment.
What I’m asking everyone to do is educate yourselves. Learn about the Chinese Exclusion Act. Learn more about us as a whole. Learn more about us as individual people. Hear our stories, listen to what we have to say. Stop scrolling past these videos of people getting beat for being Asian. WATCH IT. This happened before to many groups of people, and this is now happening again. What we can do as a community is support each other and look back at all the mistakes we’ve made when other groups were being discriminated against. What went wrong and how can we end the discrimination. Almost everyone in this day and age has experienced some form of discrimination. So stop invalidating the discrimination against others. Don’t walk away from others. Stop saying “it’s your turn, you’re on your own.” Being alone never solved anything. Right now, we need to work together, join communities, and be a team to end the discrimination. The biggest issue we have right now is that people are not hearing us, they are not seeing us, and no one really cares. I’m asking everyone to open their eyes to the reality we’re facing.
We need support right now more than ever. This is a worldwide pandemic. WORLDWIDE. This doesn’t JUST affect the Asian American community. This affects the world. Right now, the world is against us and you all need to realize that. What you can do is reach out to people. Watch the news. Listen to the hate crimes. Listen to how BAD they’ve become in such a short period of time. I think people were looking for a reason to be hateful towards another group of people and now they have a “reason” for doing so. We’ve become a victim of scapegoating. If you witness hate crimes or discrimination, do something about it. Stop ignoring us. Stop ignoring our lives. This should be a lesson for everyone. Discrimination, ironically, doesn’t discriminate. We’re all going to face it one way or another. There will ALWAYS be horrible, hateful people out there. We need to stop walking away from each other.