Racism is a Virus: REQUIRED Analyzing

In this world right now, there are two viruses being spread, and only one of them is making national headlines. The other virus that I speak of is racism. While I’ve spoken of racism in the past in this corner of the Internet, this is really the ugliest it has gotten towards the Asian American community in quite some time.

Ever since COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan, China and out into the world, there are people who are looking for someone to blame for the pandemic we are now in, and that blame and hate has been targeted towards people of Asian descent. Just within the last two weeks alone, the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center has had 1,100 reports come in for the United States – and those are just the cases being reported. From verbal harassment to full on physical assaults, it’s fair to see why it’s not the fear of coronavirus that’s keeping the community from wanting to leave their homes. It especially doesn’t help that Donald Trump has gone out of his way to call COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” multiple times (yeah he’s apologized, but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t genuine at all).

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Personally, I have not experienced any of this racism, but as a person of this community, I’m still going to talk about it. No one is denying the origin of COVID-19. It came from China – that much is true. But to put the blame on an entire demographic of people is not only racist; it’s also flat out stupid and dangerous. It’s this kind of behavior that has led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, the incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans, and the murder of Vincent Chin (more on him in a little bit). And no, Andrew Yang, we Asian Americans do not need to prove our “American-ness.” It’s on everyone else to educate themselves and not be racist.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, then you know I’m an advocate for storytelling as a valuable tool in education, regardless of whether it’s in the classroom or not. Today I’m recommending not one but three materials to look at and educate yourself on the situation at hand. (Also, while this is generally called Recommended Analyzing, consider this iteration to be required. I obviously can’t hold you accountable to whether or not you actually look at everything I’m about to provide, but consider skipping it all equivalent to failing a test you had plenty of time to study for.)

The first piece of content is both a commentary on the racism happening and an example of creative work done during this time period. In the song “Viral,” hip hop group Year of the Ox call out the racism happening in the present and in themselves. If you listen closely, you’ll hear how they were once on the other end of the accused both towards the Black community and towards anyone who resembled those responsible for the 9/11 attacks. While in another time, the Asian American community would be held to a high as the model minority, it’s these days where we’re the ones seen as the threat to society. Listen to the lyrics and watch the music video, all the way to the end:

The second piece of content comes from the YouTube channel, National Film Society. Co-founder and filmmaker Patrick Epino gives an excellent breakdown of why the racism that has been happening as of late needs to stop. Remember how I mentioned Vincent Chin earlier? Well, he is talked about at length here about who he was, what happened to him, and how we are getting dangerously close to a repeat if this behavior doesn’t cease. Watch Patrick’s video and listen to what he has to say:

Last but not least is a podcast episode from Paola Mardo, creator, producer, and host of the Long Distance podcast. While her podcast mainly focuses on stories from the Filipino diaspora, her latest episode focuses on the racism that’s happening in the overall Asian American community. Paola recounts on an encounter with racism she herself experienced just a few weeks ago, as well as her conversations with what’s happening with Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man and Devin Cabanilla of the Seattle chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society. Listen to the episode here, wherever you listen to podcasts, or on YouTube:

Do not take these resources lightly. What is happening right now is real, it’s very serious, and it needs to stop. If you don’t understand it all, now is the time to educate yourself.

If you or someone else you know have experienced an incident, please report it to the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center here. As for my non-Asian American readers, if you see a racist-fueled incident unfolding (regardless of whether or not it’s towards an Asian American), do something about it… or else you’re equally as bad.

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