Pandemic and the Virus of Racism
April 13, 2021
The Atlanta-area shooting spree targeting primarily Asian American women and killing eight people is a horrific book-end to a year that saw a 150% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Those who resemble the "face of the pandemic" — an image perpetuated by political rhetoric, public information campaigns, and news media — have experienced increased incidents of verbal harassment and shunning, physical assault, discrimination, and more. From mid-March 2020 to the end of February 2021, Stop AAPI Hate received 3,800 reports of racist acts against Asian Americans. The Anti-Defamation League has also tracked numerous incidents, from anti-Asian verbal harassment in public to racist signs in different states. What does racism have to do with pandemics? The answer should be “nothing.” Find out why it’s not, and how you can join the effort to change that.
Kim Yi Dionne is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California Riverside. She studies health interventions, politics, and public opinion and policy, primarily in African countries. She is the author of "Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa" (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and has written widely on the racialization of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and most recently COVID-19. Her latest co-authored article, “The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context,” was published in International Organization in 2020.
Russell Jeung, Professor and Chair in the Department of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, launched “Stop AAPI Hate” in 2020 to track COVID-19 related discrimination in order to develop community resources and policy interventions to fight racism. He is co-author “Family Sacrifices: The Worldviews and Ethics of Chinese Americans” (Oxford University Press, 2019) and an editor of “Moving Movers: Student Activism and the Emergence of Asian American Studies” (UCLA Asian American Studies Center, 2019).
The discussion is sponsored by Africana Studies, Asian Studies, and the McFarland Center.