7 Ways We Can Help Fight Asian Racism and Xenophobia
The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to a wave of anti-Asian attacks. Here are some of the things we can do about it.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, many communities saw an alarming surge of anti-Asian attacks, with racist and xenophobic sentiments towards Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people fueled by former President Donald Trump and other officials’ remarks of a “Chinese virus” or “kung flu.”
According to data collected by Stop AAPI Hate, 2,808 reports of anti-Asian discrimination were filed between March 19 and December 31, 2020. Despite President Joe Biden’s recent actions to condemn those aggressions, hate crimes against the AAPI community have continued to rise across the U.S., with a spike in anti-Asian violence especially in California and New York, which have some of the biggest Asian populations in the country.
In the past few days, brands like Valentino, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger have publicly positioned themselves in support of the AAPI community – so far, over 6,000 posts have been tagged with #StopAsianHate on Instagram. Here are some of the actions we can take as individuals to help fight anti-Asian racism and xenophobia:
Have you asked how your AAPI friend feels? Whether you’re part of the Asian American community or not, listening to and sharing stories is a good start to understanding what the other person’s experience is like – as long as everyone’s comfortable with it, of course.
Amplify Asian American voices
When you hear someone making a racist remark and the situation feels safe, speak up about it. If you witness hate crimes or other attacks, consider reporting it if the victim agrees and feels comfortable with that. If you are in a position of power or privilege, use it to support AAPI friends and individuals and help them feel safe.
Perhaps your friends don’t feel comfortable with sharing how anxious they are with the current wave of anti-Asian violence but show you’re an ally and ask how you can support them – even if it’s just by being there for them.
Support Asian-owned businesses
Many businesses have suffered with Covid-19 but racism and xenophobia have added another layer of financial distress to Asian-owned restaurants and stores. You can support local businesses by ordering takeout or delivery from restaurants, for example. In New York City, the Welcome to Chinatown project offers a guide to Asian-owned establishments and collects donations to assist businesses affected by the pandemic.
Consider donating to organizations that fight against Asian American prejudice. There is Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks cases of racism and xenophobia in the U.S., Asian Americans Advancing Justice, which fights for AAPI rights and also offers resources and legal assistance for victims of anti-Asian violence, AAPI Women Lead, which amplifies female Asian American voices and stories, and many more.
Share your experience
Suffering – and reliving – a racially motivated incident can be extremely traumatic. But if you feel comfortable, consider sharing your story with friends, family, or even online: this not only helps raise awareness about the issue but might also give others a push to share their experiences as well.
And don’t forget to take care of your mental health: seek support if you feel like you need it – be it via professional care or just talking to someone close to you.