Stronger Together

What citizens can do to curb xenophobia against Asian Americans


Courtesy photo-Creative Commons

An Asian girl wears a mask in public. 673 cases of discrimination against Asian Americans were reported in March. “It is natural for people to want to blame somebody for this crisis, but we cannot give in to hate.” – Seth Choi

Yoonsoo (Seth) Choi, Staff Writer

In March, 673 cases of discrimination against Asian Americans due to COVID-19 were reported to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. Students have been bullied at schools and a two-year-old Asian girl was stabbed at a Sam’s Club in Texas. In light of the xenophobia against Asian Americans, we as a student body must unite to support our Asian peers, friends, and staff. 

History has dire warnings about scapegoating Asian Americans during national emergencies. The White House estimates that up to 240,000 Americans could die from COVID-19, which means that the death toll is comparable to World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent tens of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans to internment camps for alleged espionage. Sadly, President Donald J. Trump repeated the same mistake when he called the Coronavirus the “Chinese Virus”, which paints the invisible enemy as Chinese and Asian Americans. 

Asian doctors and nurses are the true heroes of this pandemic. 157,025 Asian medical professionals all across the country are making sacrifices to save lives. Even though Asians only make up 5% of the population, they account for more than 17% of medical professionals. Asian Americans like everyone else are rising to the challenge to fight COVID-19.

The idea that Asians are the most responsible for community spread is simply not true. In the hardest-hit region around New York City, SARS-CoV-2 was spread primarily by European travelers. The data confirms that Asians are not more likely to carry or contract the virus. 

COVID-19 has touched every part of our society and caused enormous pain and suffering. People have lost freedoms, jobs, and loved ones. It is natural for people to want to blame somebody for this crisis, but we cannot give in to hate. This can be a moment when our polarized society can come together to support each other through this difficult time.