In several occasions, the US President Donald Trump called the Novel Coronavirus as "Chinese Virus" which made the situation worse for Asian Americans. Even though Trump later said that the Asian American students should not be blamed for the outbreak, in the past few weeks the US noticed several racially motivated attacks.
While the FBI believes that such attacks will increase as infections grow in the US, Asian Americans decided to use social media to organize and fight back against such attacks during the Coronavirus pandemic. It has given rise to hashtags such as #WashTheHate, #RacismIsAVirus, #IAmNotCOVID19 and online forums to report hate in the past two weeks.
Coronavirus Pandemic fuelled racial attacks
A victim of the racial attacks, Kyle Navarro, a Filipino national, was kneeling down to unlock his bicycle and he noticed an elderly white American was staring at him. The man spat towards Navarro and then kept walking. A school nurse in San Francisco, Navarro took it to Twitter and started a conversation about racism on social media.
Like Navarro, there are many Asian Americans who are currently facing racial abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic which started in China's Wuhan in 2019 December. Considering the threat to Asian Americans, California-based groups Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council, while New York's attorney general also launched a hotline. Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action said, "With the rising stress and anxiety, we knew we'd see a rise in hate incidents."
However, it should be noted that the centre has received over 1,000 reports from across the US. The situation became so worse that as per an FBI report an Asian American man and his two children were stabbed at Sam's Club in Texas last month. When the police interrogated the 19-year-old suspect, he said that he thought they were "infecting people."
Sufferings of Asian Americans
There are over 20 million Asian people currently living in the US. Earlier, when former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang urged fellow Asian Americans to display more "American-ness," the 45-year-old political commentator, faced a huge backlash. As reported by Associated Press Choi said, "We don't have to prove our worth and that we belong, that we're exceptional. And we certainly don't have to believe that this is something that we should ignore."
Meanwhile, Trump backed off from calling Coronavirus as "Chinese Virus" and mentioned in a press conference that Asian Americans should not be blamed "in any way, shape or form." But the Democrats in US Senate and House believe that the damage has been made already.
After the nomenclature of the virus outbreak, several celebrities such as Celia Au, star of the Netflix show "Wu Assassins," and others started posting their comments and released the anger on social media with #WashTheHate. Whether the abuse is verbal, virtual or physical, younger generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are now using social media platforms to speak up against the racially triggered attacks.
However, Helen Zia, a Chinese American author and journalist from Oakland, California claimed that "The level of anger ... it's already here. For Asian Americans, there's the virus of COVID-19 and there's the virus of hate. The hate virus is also going to get much worse."