End… DiscriminASIAN


We set our scene. A global pandemic killing tens of thousands. So what’s the conflict? People with feelings of anger, confusions, and stress, needing to direct these ugly emotions towards something, anything. The victim? The Asian-American community. 

A rise of anti-Asian crimes and traditional racism as a whole have increased in the midst of the  pandemic, but is still unknown to people due to a lack of media-coverage. According to Cady Lang, writer for the Times-News, across the country, over 26,000 reports of anti-Asian hate occurrences have been reported betwe

en March to September 2020, all relating to Covid-19. Overall, hate crimes towards the Asian community have increased over 1900%. 

In San Francisco, a Thai man was attacked and later died due to injuries. Another Asian man was also attacked in Oakland, California. A Vietnamese woman was assaulted and robbed in San Jose. A Filipino man was cut by a box cutter in a subway in New York City. These are only some of the major cases in which violence against Asians occurred. While it is not officially confirmed whether they were specifically targeted for their race, people are still outraged at the lack of action from the police to address the crimes that are. And our leaders seem to be doing little as well.

During Donald Trump’s term, the former president of the United States banned foreign nationals from reentering the United States if they’ve traveled to China in the past 14 days, despite going against WHO guidance. A similar pattern has been going on in other countries, with businesses in Italy banning Chinese people from entering, and the Chinatown in London being borderline abandoned. Derogatory terms such as “the Kung-Flu” and “the Chinese Virus” were used by Trump to refer to Covid-19. As if the entire issue was some sort of joke.

But it is not a joke. “In junior high, they’ll call me Chinese on the school bus, and they throw pencils and  trash at me, and they use this stereotypical thing that Asians are all smart and all that stuff.” said Ijin Shim ‘24. 

After conducting four interviews with the Asian American students at West High, they’ve expressed their opinions on the matter and their personal views on the discrimination against Asians overall. 47.6% of those interviewed either experienced discrimination for being Asian themselves or to someone they know, while 52.4% agreed that Asian stereotypes have been more casually passed around since the pandemic began.

“Asian Americans and Asians have always been put in one of two positions, right, either inferior to white people or superior to other minorities,” wrote Sachiko Goto ‘21. “Even just seeing the news and watching this happen to other people, it’s like , it’s disgusting, but none of it is shocking.”

When the discussion of racial bias comes up in the United States, Asians are very rarely brought up, despite facing all sorts of discrimination and stereotypes. “Don’t fall for the stereotypes, even if you think they’re positive, they can affect someone’s mindset/view of the world very, very powerfully and you shouldn’t leave those things behind, and just go with your own assumptions” as told by Kamakshee Kuchal ‘24. While there are less reports of discrimination made by Asian Americans, the reason for this is due to the false belief that all Asians are intelligent and bound for success, rendering them invisible to the topic of racial prejudice. This is the result of the most prominent Asian stereotype, the Model Minority. 

“The term was coined in the 1960s in order to create a racial division between minorities and downplay the role of racism in the inequities of American society,” as stated by Richard Lee, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota who studies race and ethnicity. In a study conducted by Lee involving 165 Asian American high school students, 99.4%  had said to have experienced the stereotype at some point in their lives. “So many people, just about everyone around me has put me in that stereotype at one time or another. And it’s really subtle and it puts a lot of pressure on Asian kids.” mentioned Athena Wu ‘24 during her interview.

Along with the model minority, the assumption that all Asians are fundamentally foreign and never adapt into American society is another damaging stereotype; the perpetual foreigner. For example, in the Golden Globes awards of 2021, the movie Minari recently won the title of best foreign film, despite being shot in America, financed by American companies, and the director himself, Lee Isaac Chung being Korean-American. The film was barred from the best picture awards category, only because the majority of the film was spoken in Korean. This stereotype lives in people’s minds even if they don’t realize it.“It essentially denies your sense of being American, denies your feeling like you belong here,” says Lee, PhD, “And of course, not feeling like you belong is a horrible thing.”

Yes, denial of your true identity is truly devastating. So when your existence is ignored, you have every right to be angry at the people who are doing the ignoring. Such as the people behind the iOS 14, Apple’s mobile operating system. Which provides the user with the option to filter out any adult sites. Unfortunately, selecting to “limit adult websites” restricts any content that includes the word “Asian” in the URL. But this feature does not do the same to words such as “black”, “white”, “Korean”, “Arab”, and so on, which are also popular racial categories on pornographic sites.

“It’s abhorrent that the word “Asian” makes us think of porn rather than representing an entire group of people. The fetishisation of Asian people – particularly young girls and women – is fundamentally sexist and racist,” said Kate Isaacs, the founder of NotYourPorn – an organisation which aims to raise awareness of injustices in the pornography industry, during an interview with The Independant. “Ethnicities are not kinks. We cannot ignore the porn industry’s responsibility in the fetishisation of young girls and particular ethnicities – they should be held accountable like any other form of media. It’s upsetting that an Asian person could be searching for representation completely innocently online, only to find that tech companies see them solely as something NSFW.” It should also be noted that this setting filters out searches such as “safe sex”, “sexual assault hotline” or “sex education” but can allow users to look up up instructions on how to join a terrorist group. 

This is the sad truth we have to face: the existence of the pandemic has not been good for the Asian community as a whole, but the real problem is that the pandemic isn’t what started this. This hate has been around much longer than people are willing to believe, but nobody took it seriously until suddenly people were frightened by the sound of an Asian person sneezing. The struggles of the Asian community haven’t ever been properly addressed due to misinformation and racial bias. But just because their pain is different than everyone else’s, doesn’t mean their pain doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged.

Works Cited

“Apple’s ‘Adult’ Filters Stop IPhone Users Googling the Word ‘Asian’.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 4 Feb. 2021, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/apple-adult-filter-asian-iphone-b1797110.html.

“Asian Americans Then and Now.” Asia Society, asiasociety.org/education/asian-americans-then-and-now.

Columnist, Min Soo Kim. “Min Soo Kim: Fight the Virus, Not the People.” The Michigan Daily, www.michigandaily.com/section/columns/min-soo-kim-fight-virus-not-people.

“Countering Stereotypes about Asian Americans.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/monitor/2019/12/countering-stereotypes.

Lang, Cady. “Asian American Attacks: What’s Behind the Rise in Violence?” Time, Time, 18 Feb. 2021, time.com/5938482/asian-american-attacks/.

Salam, Maya, and Robert Ito. “’Minari’ Wins Best Foreign-Language Film, but Not without Controversy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Mar. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/28/movies/minari-foreign-language-film.html.

Vang, Bee, et al. “The Covid-19 Era’s Anti-Asian Racism Isn’t New. I Learned This the Hard Way.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 17 Feb. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-19-era-s-anti-asian-racism-isn-t-new-ncna1258184.

Yancey-Bragg, N’dea. “’Stop Killing Us’: Attacks on Asian Americans Highlight Rise in Hate Incidents amid COVID-19.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 12 Feb. 2021, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/02/12/asian-hate-incidents-covid-19-lunar-new-year/4447037001/.

Zijia Eleanor Song, Jennifer Vázquez. “Study Shows Rise of Hate Crimes, Violence Against Asian Americans During the Pandemic.” NBC New York, NBC New York, 12 Feb. 2021, www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/study-shows-rise-of-hate-crimes-violence-against-asian-americans-in-nyc-during-covid/2883215/.