Coronavirus fear turns racist as attacks on Asian Americans rise sharply in US: 'Could have been foreseen'
As the novel coronavirus spreads its wings in the United States — with more cases being reported every passing day — the virus has not only triggered fear but racism as well. Just because the virus originated in China, there has been an increase in racist attacks against Asian Americans in the country amid the coronavirus scare, with many calling the community "diseased."
In a possible hate crime incident in New York City in February, a man assaulted an Asian woman wearing a face mask at a Chinatown subway station after, calling her a "diseased b***h." In another similar incident later that month, a man on a Los Angeles subway, proclaimed that Chinese people are filthy, saying "every disease has ever came from China." He was referring to reports of the new coronavirus having originated from an animal market of Wuhan in China.
"These racist attacks could have been foreseen," Terence Fitzgerald, an expert in Reproduction of Racism in US Society and Institutional Oppression, University of Southern California told MEA WorldWide. "Even in the face of the false narrative that depicts Asian Americans as 'The Model Minority,' Asian Americans, not unlike other historically marginalized people of color, operate mainly from the position of the oppressed."
Between January 28 and February 24, there have been over 1,000 reported cases of racism and xenophobia towards Chinese communities and Chinese Americans in America, with at least 37 known cases every day, according to the latest report by the Asian American Studies Department in San Francisco State University.
"Historically, Asian Americans were not only negatively seen as having peculiar customs, morally corrupt, and hideous, but more importantly, they were seen as 'The Outsider' to White America," Fitzgerald explained. "Racialized outsiders have always been seen as a threat in this country."
The expert added that the people in America have begun falsely viewing the entire Asian American community in the country as the ones responsible for the spread of the virus. "The attacks today are essentially rooted not only in the fear of the virus but also a racialized reality that falsely sees all Asian Americans at fault for the spread of the virus," he said. "They are seen as the outsider who brings a virus that threatens the economic, physical, and psychological lives of Whites."
Covid-19 has claimed at least 32 lives in the United States, with over a thousand people being infected with the disease, as of Wednesday. Coronavirus is spreading at a rapid pace in several countries across the world, with a combined death toll of over 4,200 and 115,800 infections.