Dealing With Both The Virus And Hate Crimes As Asian Health Care Officials

During the pandemic, Asian hate crimes have increased immensely. The Coronavirus led to false blame towards Asians, specifically Chinese people, for “starting the virus” even if they have lived in America their whole lives. An analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, supported this claim by including the statistics of the rise in hate crimes towards Asians this year.

“anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 of the largest US cities and counties rose by 164% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period the year before”

Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University

The normalization of these hate crimes cause concern for the safety of Asian-American health care workers. CNN got the chance to interview a few Asian health care officials and ask about their experience as an Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI).

Kathleen Begonia

Begonia is a Filipino nurse in New York. She stated how she started to feel unsafe as the rate of Asian hate crimes rose. Now, she avoids public transportation and carries around pepper spray.

“I actually signed up to take self-defense classes because I still carry my childhood experiences of racism with me,” Begonia told CNN. “I don’t trust that anyone else can take care of me, not even police, so I make sure that I can defend myself. I run every day and keep fit in case I need to defend myself.”

An Interview with Kathleen Begonia by CNN

Begonia and her family have experienced normalized racism towards them since she was a child and wants others to know that as a nurse, she will never judge any patient by their race and hopes others will learn to do the same.

David Wu

Wu is a Chinese-American who helps with Covid-19 monitoring and vaccine delivery in Chinatown, which has been struck especially hard by xenophobia and ignorance.

“Businesses in Chinatown was significantly slowing down because people thought it would be the first place where the virus would appear,” Wu said. “We wanted to give employees from Chinatown who were laid off and stressed out a place in their community, a place they can trust, where they can get a vaccine.”

An Interview with David Wu by CNN

Some Chinese Americans and other AAPIs find it concerning to get vaccinated at other public vaccination sites where they are susceptible to racist remarks, so having one in a community with people of the same color can be very reassuring. Wu does a great job at creating a safe space for fellow Chinese Americans in America and they are all grateful for his work.

The fact that people need to make separate vaccination sites in smaller communities where POC live reflects on society and how they are handling the normalized racism.

Categories: Society