Asian Americans make up around five and a half percent of the U.S. population. And though anti-Asian racism has always existed, the COVID-19 pandemic is believed to be the leading cause behind this spike in anti-Asian sentiment. From online racist posts to real-life hate crimes, the situation of Asians in the Western world (especially in the U.S.) is getting worse and, increasingly, out of control. Asian people are threatened by verbal harassment, workplace discrimination or refusals of service, physical assaults, and many others.
Being a minority group with different cultures and physical aspects, hate and dislike cannot be avoided. In the past, hate and dislike mainly happened online, but recently, while hate speech and racist behavior online increased, it also set the stage for real-life violence.
The virus was first identified in December 2019 in China, with the first outbreak occurring in Wuhan. Though it is not known precisely where the first case originated--China has speculated that it may have originated somewhere else--many people believe the virus started in China.
As Covid-19 began to spread at the beginning of 2020, former U.S. President Trump attacked China and politicized it, referring to it as the “China virus.” Conspiracy theories abounded. Many said it came from a wet market; others claimed it had been produced in a lab. Asians became the new “boogeymen,” viewed as carriers and spreaders of the virus. Within weeks and months of this official vitriol, the situation of Asians in the West, especially in the U.S., worsened: racist attacks online increased in severity; Asians were threatened with verbal abuse on the street; harassed in the workplace, discriminated against, refused service, and assaulted physically. And now, Asians have increasingly become the victims of deadly violence.