Simply Being Asian Has Made Me a Villain in People’s Fear of Coronavirus
With the rising fear of coronavirus, increased racism isn’t too far behind
In lieu of the recent coronavirus epidemic, it’s kind of hard to avoid the news these days. This past January, news of the coronavirus had been announced to the public. Shortly after, more and more cases have been discovered and on the incline spreading across not only Asia, but countries across the globe as well.
With the increase in cases of coronavirus found and fears now turning into widespread panic, health officials in various countries are taking on more serious and immediate actions to combat the spread of this newfound strain of disease. In addition, it’s no surprise that these actions have instilled an accompanying increase of racism and xenophobia amongst individuals within the US and all other countries in general — and those fears have been specifically harder on those of us with Asian decent, myself included.
Aside from the fact that I already struggle with my own issues of identity, these rising fears due to coronavirus and increasing acts of subtle racism are taking on even more of a toll my ability to come to terms with my issues of identity. And it’s more emotionally taxing now than it was prior to the outbreak.
And of course, it couldn’t be a more coincidental time that I had recently taken a trip to the Philippines last week (which had in fact been planned long before news of the outbreak) now making me a victim of these subtle acts of racism that I’m finding myself coming into contact with.
Before my trip, when news of coronavirus first hit, I had only received minor comments, mostly in a “joking” sense, where people were warning me of my travels to the Philippines. In an effort to reassure people that I’d be fine, I confirmed that I was flying directly in and out of Manila and that the area in which I was traveling to had not been one where cases of coronavirus have been found. However, upon returning back from my trip, and cases of coronavirus still continuing to spread, my efforts in trying to reassure people that I was fine have been much more difficult.
The “joking” tone in which I had initially received prior to my trip have turned into serious concerns and the notion that I was now a “threat” to people, has become a reality. No words of assurance were possible now that people’s fears have manifested into actual calls for defense.
This is not my first time encountering moments of bias or prejudice purely based on my ethnicity or the color of my skin. This was not at all a new experience for me. However, what is a new experience for me is not being able to make people understand their bias or prejudice in a way that didn’t counteract the “valid support” that they had due to the current health crisis that’s amidst.
It’s hard on its own being treated slightly differently because of my Asian background, but it’s much harder having to face it in times of crisis like this. I’ve never felt as uncomfortable or worried about potential words or actions from other people like I had been in the past. And as upsetting as it is to admit, I don’t expect this going away anytime soon.