The Untold Racism in America

Photo+by%3A+Steven+Senne+for+The+Associated+Press

Photo by: Steven Senne for The Associated Press

Serena Nguyen '22

A single cough is all it takes. The coronavirus that has been plaguing our world for 9 months now is very serious and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In our nation alone there are 2,000+ daily deaths from Coronavirus. Something else has also been on the rise since the pandemic began: racism towards Asians.

When news that the coronavirus had started in Wuhan, China, many Americans used this as an excuse to harass Asians. Racism toward Asians is nothing new, it has been going on for years and years, and it’s been extremely normalized.

Growing up, I was constantly bullied for the shape of my eyes – mocked for something that I simply could not change. It was only meant to be a “joke,” not something to take to heart. But I knew it was wrong, even if I was young, I knew that their “joke” wasn’t OK. And looking back they may have been ignorant kids who didn’t know what they were doing was wrong, but now, especially during the pandemic, these racist “jokes” began to happen more and more.

For simply being Asian, I became a “carrier” of the coronavirus. It didn’t matter if I actually had the COVID-19 because that’s what people labeled me as. And whenever I would stand up for myself, I would be told to calm down, that it was only a “joke.” But these “jokes” weren’t OK when I was younger, and they are definitely not OK now.

As people grow up and mature, they should learn that making jokes about someone’s physical features and saying that they are a carrier of the coronavirus simply because of their race isn’t OK. They should recognize that what they are doing is racist.

This racism is felt by many Asians and there are a few that have experienced it in our Regis Jesuit community. Some of these incidents happened during the pandemic and some before. Both illustrate the point that racism towards Asians has been long-lasting and will continue to happen. From the Instagram Page “blackatregsijesuit” there were several anonymous quotes left by people that have experienced racism within our community.

“My freshman year, my biology teacher sat all the East Asian students in one corner of the room. Then, frequently mixed us up and called us by the wrong name, though none of us looked anything alike and we’re different ethnicities (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, mixed race, etc).”

In this situation the teacher contributed to the idea that all people of one race are the same, stripping them of their identity and individuality. And this is something felt within all races, but it’s most commonly ignored when it happens to Asians because most people see it as a practical joke.

However, some people have taken it farther than just joking around. The Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate had received more than 2,500 reports nationwide within the first two weeks of launching. These reports included incidents where Asians were being harassed and attacked by strangers, being blamed and yelled at for “bringing COVID-19 to America.” Similarly, to how African Americans are being harassed and killed by police, Asian Americans are being harassed and killed by people in their own community.

These deaths and murders aren’t covered by the news, and especially with Black Lives Matter happening there were more “important” things to cover. And although BLM is important and the racism against African Americans is important it should not be the only racism recognized in the country.