micro to macro (the social effects of covid-19)

Feeling comfortable in your own skin is difficult. Especially when you’re a minority. It’s inevitable to receive some sort of marginalization because of the color of our skin. There are minority groups that speak up about their struggles with discrimination and are very proactive when it comes to standing up for themselves and their communities. But for Asian Americans, we tend to keep our matters more lowkey. From our history to the way we were raised by our immigrant parents, there are multiple reasons why we don’t project our voices as loudly as other minority groups. 


Comparatively, Asians don’t deal with a lot of outright racism. When we do face discrimination, they’re usually subtle microaggressions that wouldn’t provoke confrontation. It’s common to get the “Where are you from?” and “But where are you really from?” and “Your English is good” and “Oh, I have an Asian friend” and “You look smart”, etc (this list will really go on forever). These microaggressions probably stem from the ‘model minority’ stereotype that is placed on us. We pay our taxes on time, we are obedient, and we go to school to be doctors. Unfortunately, we are encouraged by our parents to just let these moments go past us because, as minorities who immigrated here for a better life, we need "to be grateful for the opportunities that we were given. These are the consequences that we must face in order to make a comfortable life for ourselves in a foreign land. Just ignore what others have to say about us and focus on building our own future for ourselves."

The start of 2020 was scary. I received news from my relatives in China about the coronavirus outbreak but it never occurred to me how lethal it was until a few days passed and the numbers exponentially rose. Naturally, I began to really worry when they decided to quarantine themselves as the number of patients in their own cities were growing. But as my concern for the virus was rising, so was the hate that Asians and Asian Americans were receiving. I’ve come across multiple videos, heard multiple stories, and read multiple tweets/comments of violence towards Asian-Americans that were hard to read. 


It seems that xenophobes are taking the opportunity to use this pandemic as the gateway to fully express their hate and disgust for people that are or look like foreigners. In a global emergency like this, people look for someone to blame, reasons to blame them, and then ways to exert that resentment. Unfortunately, microaggressions turn to ‘macroaggressions’ as hate crimes toward Asian/Asian Americans increase during this pandemic. I’ve noticed that because of the rise of violent and hateful encounters with xenophobes, the Asian American community has spoken up more than ever about the discrimination we face that isn’t discussed as often. I'd like to just share a very touching music video (cc on) that a Hong Kong artist, G.E.M., sang and produced in response to the outbreak. I hope it gets more recognition and encourages people to think before making a coronavirus joke or commenting/posting something insensitive online.