Naming the anti-Asian racism of U.S. COVID-19 policy


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It started as the “Chinese virus.” Then the “kung flu.” Then came the boycotts of Chinatowns, the rise in harassment, assaults, and murders. The recognition of hate and discrimination against Asian Americans was long overdue. However, anti-Asian racism doesn’t just manifest in hate speech or violence; it has undermined the U.S. COVID-19 policy response. In 2020, American media narratives frequently painted Asian nations’ success in controlling COVID-19 as the result of submissive culture, authoritarian governance, or both. Across the political spectrum, leaders parroted this framing, and invoked Americans’ independence as the rationale for why our government cannot do more: public...