Over the last few months, as our country and our world have come to terms with the ongoing global pandemic, there has also been an alarming increase in anti-Asian racism and rhetoric.
While racism toward Asians is neither new nor surprising, COVID-19 has brought the matter to concerning heights.
The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of Washington (APIC) is disheartened by the attacks we continue to see on our communities and strongly denounces the Trump administration’s racist use of the “Chinese virus” in reference to COVID-19. These hate incidents have occurred around the world, from Asians being denied service at businesses, to being berated on public transit, to being beaten on the streets. Moreover, the rhetoric from our highest level of government perpetuates and often incites these attacks. And yet, despite widespread criticism, President Trump insists on referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and in doing so, othering and stigmatizing an entire community of people.
APIC condemns the use of this racist rhetoric because we have seen this before. We saw this with SARS and the same racist narratives of Chinese people as dirty and unsafe. We saw this with the Ebola crisis and the surge of anti-Black and anti-African messages in the media. We saw this with extremity during the HIV pandemic and the stigmatization of our LGBTQ community. Time and time again throughout history, marginalized communities have been scapegoated in the wake of a public health crisis. We refuse to continue to pay the price because of negligence from our administration and elected officials.
We insist our elected officials stop using “Chinese virus” and other terms like “Kung flu” that incite racism and stigma toward Asian people. In the midst of a public health and economic crisis, now more than ever, we must come together and support one another.
Our communities are resilient. We have survived colonization, war, and forced migration. We have survived racist policies like internment and the Chinese Exclusion Act. We have survived administrations that have stripped away our rights one by one. And we will survive this. Our deepest hope during this time is that we do not bear the burden of resilience alone — that we can breathe, rest, heal, and take care of our loved ones. In standing against racism, we hope instead to stand in solidarity and be resilient together.
To report and track incidents of anti-Asian racism visit standagainsthatred.org.