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Anti-Asian Hate Crime and Racial Politics in Post-COVID U.S.
2021-05-04 View : 404 KANG Miong Sei

Anti-Asian Hate Crime and Racial Politics in Post-COVID U.S.

Kang Miong Sei

 

 

(miongsei@sejong.org)

 

 

Senior Research Fellow, the Sejong Institute 

 

English Abstract


   Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of hate crimes against Asians in the U.S. increased. On March 16th, a young white man shot 8 Americans, including 6 Asians, in Atlanta, Georgia. The U.S. media defined this as a hate crime. Racism is the most serious social conflict in the U.S., a country of immigrants. Since the U.S. underwent a civil war over the abolition of black slavery, race conflict has been the core of the political conflict. Although discrimination against Asians is not new, it has expanded into a physical attack since the outbreak of COVID-19. After the COVID-19 outbreak, between March 2020 and February 2021, 3,800 racist incidents occurred across the U.S.

 

 

The structural cause of the surge in racial hate crimes is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the first outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in Wuhan, China, the number of confirmed cases has increased significantly worldwide, and fears of infection have spread. Fear requires a scapegoat, and Asians, represented by China, were targeted. What fueled the structure of racial conflict is Trumps race politics. President Trump used terms like "China virus" and "Kung flu" at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and fueled hatred against Asians. The words of political elites spread to the public.

 

According to the American National Election Studies, the percentage of respondents who believe that the coronavirus was intentionally developed in the laboratory varies greatly depending on the party they support. 66% of supporters of the Republican Party believe that the virus was created in the laboratory, while only 19% of supporters of the Democratic Party believe so. Assuming that the laboratory reference comes from China, Republican supporters are more likely to criticize Asians than Democrats or nonpartisan supporters. Since a political leader like Trump called COVID-19 a "Chinese virus," Republican supporters must believe that the coronavirus originated in China.

 

 

   The political polarization of American society has reached its limit, as shown by the storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on January 6. The U.S. needs to lay the foundation for inclusive democracy. In the midst of the current polarization, which is in a devastating stage, the choice of Asian voters will have a significant impact. Asian Americans believe that the social exclusion of the Republican Party has become more overt through the COVID-19 pandemic. The presidential election process was one example. Biden criticized President Trump for provoking aversion to Asian Americans by continuing to use terms like "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus." The Democratic Party's racial base is a coalition of minorities. The Biden administration and the Democratic Party should keep in mind that African Americans dislike of Asians will lose Asians support of the party.

 

※ Translator’s note: This is a third party’s unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.

※ This article is written based on the author’s personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.