When I was at the Pomona Downtown Metrolink Station Jan. 30, transferring buses on my way home from classes, I was sick with a chest cold. I had a mask over my mouth to prevent spreading germs, and it was pulled up over my mouth.
A man, unprompted, yelled at me, “You know that mask was made in China, right?” I ignored him.
Comments and warnings like this pale in comparison to things that have been said to Asian Americans since the novel coronavirus broke in Wuhan, China.
People have made racist comments to a friend of mine because she committed two criminal offenses: coughing in public and being Asian.
Ryza Corcino, a third-year nursing student at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut shared with me some of the things that were said to her, and the way she wishes she could react. Her final reaction was the following six words: “I’m not even Chinese. I’m Filipino.”
This isn’t isolated to the greater Los Angeles area. This is a new step in a cycle of racism against Asians that is permeating through county lines.
David Duff, a first-year biology student at UC Riverside, heard a classmate tell the teacher’s assistant in his chemistry class to wear a face mask simply because she’s Asian.
There are even posts circulating on Twitter that all have the same message: It’s not acceptable to be racist to Asian Americans because of the coronavirus.
Growing up I heard plenty of stories from my older, white relatives about “the model minority.” Asian Americans are expected to be perfect.
My older relatives always said they were good at math and that made them less worthy of thinly veiled racist comments.
That tone would change on a dime, though. If I mentioned that I liked Japanese anime, suddenly we had to remember when the Japanese military bombed Pearl Harbor during World War II.
People are quick to turn their backs on the “model minority” the second something bad can be even marginally related to Asia.
It’s a roller coaster ride of hate. North Korea threatens to send nuclear weapons to the U.S., and we’re angry until K-pop groups like BTS rise in popularity, and we’re happy again.
Then a respiratory illness has an outbreak in China, and we’re angry again.
Racist cycles like this are common in the U.S., but as generations go by, they get a little better.
It’s still a terrible time to be a person of color in the U.S. without fearmongering due to a respiratory illness that has, thus far, killed fewer people than the common flu.
The fact is, it’s not OK to let racism against Asian Americans increase because of the coronavirus.
It’s not the fault of a random person walking down the street opposite of you that the coronavirus is spreading.
You don’t need to wear a face mask around Asian Americans to avoid a disease that they won’t give you.
What you see is not always what is really going on. Ancestry is not a marker for contagious diseases.
We should be respectful of each other and assuming that someone is going to pass a disease to you simply because they have heritage in Asia is the least respectful thing you can do.
Show Comments (0)