[Yellow bar sliding to right to left revealing the title “Coping with COVID-19 (black font with white background): Unveiling Racism and Xenophobia” (yellow font with black background). Yellow bar sliding right to left and then fades.]
JOHN: Hello everyone. Listen to us. Across the world right now, people are feeling isolated and afraid due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). As schools and businesses close, people are concerned about their health, their families, their jobs and their future. All of these concerns make sense, and of course there’s nothing wrong with being afraid. But as people share news, fears and concerns, some people are sharing something else as well: racism [Racism spelled out in background with black font then fades] and xenophobia [Xenophobia spelled out in background with black font then fades] towards the Asian and Pacific Islanders.
JOHN: What’s xenophobia? Xeno means stranger, phobia means fear. Put them together and it means “fear of strangers.” Xenophobia is the discomfort, dislike or fear of outsiders or strangers. People who show attitude and behavior against a group of people are called xenophobes [Xenophobes spelled in background with black font and then fades]. Understand, while phobia refers to fear, xenophobes aren’t scared of foreign people in the same way that a person with coulrophobia fears clowns. Instead, their fears are synonymous with hatred that largely drives their disgust toward a specific community. Xenophobia should not be confused with racism as the terms are often used interchangeably. Xenophobia is a generalized dislike, discomfort or fear of strangers or foreigners whereas racism is directed against someone of a different race based on their beliefs that one’s own race is superior.
TINE: For example, thinking that Asian people are better at math is racist. Thinking that black people are more violent or more likely to steal is racist. Thinking that immigrants who arrive from other countries are violent criminals is racist. You are attributing qualities to another person based solely on their race.
JANELE: Up to now, we are only talking about thoughts. Because of racial discrimination, the issue becomes one of acting on racist thoughts. For example, in 2014, when the Ebola outbreak emerged, Africans and Black communities were targeted. Another example is on September 11, 2001, hate-crime against Muslims and individuals who appeared to be of Arab descent were targeted.
JEROME: In these instances, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 began, there are individuals who show xenophobic and racial discriminatory behaviors toward Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
KIMBERLY: People who identify as Asian or Pacific Islander are currently being subjected to discriminatory rhetorics and violent attacks related to the COVID-19 virus. This video is for Asians and Pacific Islanders who have experienced racial discrimination and xenophobic attacks amidst the rising fears of the COVID-19 virus. You’re not alone.
TINE: We hope this video also plays a role to educate and minimize the dangers of violent behaviors towards the Asian and Pacific Islanders communities across the world as we are seen as a virus or as a carrier of a virus.
JOHN: On Monday, March 16, the very first day President Trump used the term “Chinese virus” to describe the new coronavirus, COVID-19, the flames of his racist rhetoric was agitated by President Trump’s insistence on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” disregarding it’s accurate name. His decision fuels the stress and anger of those looking for someone to blame who are perceived to be associated with the virus.
TINE: We’ve already heard racist terms such as “Chinese virus”, “Wuhan virus”, “Kung Fu virus”, “Yellow Fever” and many more. There also has been a reported rise in anti-Asian racism in the US and abroad. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, discriminatory rhetoric and violent attacks against Asians and Pacific Islanders have surged in the past weeks as cases of COVID-19 escalate around the world as it became the new focus of the global outbreak.
KIMBERLY: Since March 19, 2020, there have been over 1,100+ reported cases [Over 1100+ reported incidents spelled in background with black font then fades] and the numbers are projected to be higher than the statistics provided as the majority of them remain unreported. There are several unfortunate incidents recorded and shared on social media platforms and media outlets that show Asian and Pacific Islander being victims of violence.
JANELE: Though the initial spread of COVID-19 occurred in China, it is important to know that COVID-19 is linked to geographic location and not to a specific race. You need to realize that diseases do not discriminate as everyone can be at risk. This vulnerability may cause fear but fear should not be used to justify blaming and shunning others. There are no words to capture these moments of uncertainty or to soothe feelings of violations or fear we’re experiencing.
JEROME: We are tired being confronted, abused, and hearing racist/xenophobic rhetorics. This type of violent behavior and racist remarks is unacceptable. Enough is enough!
DESIREE: All of us have a responsibility to help in correcting misconception and misinformation. The key to educating is to continue the conversation. Don’t only provide facts about the topic generally to the person you’re talking with, but explain why what they’ve said needs rethinking.
JOHN: This means that, to educate people about their harmful actions associated with the coronavirus, we need to understand not only the virus but also the racism. And if someone tries to play down racist phrases as a joke, educate them about the racial discrimination and xenophobic attacks many Asians and Pacific Islanders are facing right now. Make them understand the impact of their words and actions.
JOHN: If you’re unsure of how to respond to forms of racial and xenophobic violence, here’s what you can do.
TINE: When responding, always assess the situation and never put yourself at risk. Your actions don’t need to involve hostile confrontations.
JANELE: If the situation doesn’t feel safe, think about how you can support the target of abuse. Go sit or stand next to them and check if they’re okay.
JEROME: If you see someone being attacked or have experienced any form violence, please call your local law enforcement.
KIMBERLY: Tell someone responsible such as the driver if it’s happening on a bus or train, an employee if you’re in a store or a law enforcement if you’re in a public/private location.
DESIREE: Remember, standing up to racial and xenophobic behaviors can be a powerful sign of support. If you remain silent in the act of injustice, you are complicit on the side of the oppressor. It stops with you.
JOHN: We hope the words we tell you is enough to know that as members of the Asian and Pacific Islanders community. We are not the enemy nor the virus. It’s COVID-19.
KIMBERLY: [Name spells out Kimberly Han in yellow font. Below in white font spells Korean-American). The South Korea flag fades in and out.] I’m Kimberly Han. I’m Korean-American and I’m not a virus.
JEROME: [Name spells out Jerome Lagaya in yellow font. Below in white font spells Korean-American). The Philippines flag fades in and out.] I’m Jerome Lagaya. I’m Filipino-American and I’m not a virus.
DESIREE: [Name spells out Desiree Duong in yellow font. Below in white font spells Chinese-Vietnamese American). The China and Vietnam flag fades in and out.] My name is Desiree Duong. I’m Chinese-Vietnamese American and I’m not a virus.
JANELE: [Name spells out Janele Alarcon in yellow font. Below in white font spells Filipina-American). The Philippines flag fades in and out.] I’m Janele. I’m Filipina-American and I’m not a virus.
TINE: [Name spells out Tine Ganancial in yellow font. Below in white font spells Filipina-American). The Philippines flag fades in and out.] I’m Tine. I’m Filipina-American and I’m not a virus.
JOHN: [Name spells out John Pak in yellow font. Below in white font spells Korean- Chilean American). The South Korea and Chilean flag fades in and out.] I’m John Pak. I’m Korean-Chilean American and I’m not a virus.
[On a black background, yellow bar sliding to right to left centered in black font “Want to report your incident? Go to”. In white font, “https://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/stop-aapi-hate/”]
[On a black background, centered in white font reads “Deepest Gratitude To”. In a yellow bar with black font “Desiree Duong, Kimberly Han, Janele Alarcon, Jerome Lagaya, & Tine Ganancial”. In white font “Writer/Editor John Pak, Advisor Will Garrow, Ph.D. Statistic Reference: http://www.asianpacificpolicyandplanningcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Press_Release_4_3_20.pdf © April 17, 2020]