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Vietnamese international student stands up against discrimination, stereotyping

First-year Feather reporter and AmeriStudent, Thy Pham-Nguyen is originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The senior international student plans on attending Fresno State in the fall.

Kori Friesen | The Feather Online

Thy Pham-Nguyen, ’20, joins The Feather during her last year at Fresno Christian.

As the COVID-19 virus spread from China to Europe, the spread of new cases has become one of the biggest health, lifestyle and economic threats to the globe and financial markets. The pandemic has also birthed a new round of racism and animosity toward Asians.

Today’s governments want to strictly control migrants, tourists and even multinational corporations. Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna Ivan Vejvoda calls into question the current state of the world and its functions.

“We always forget that we’re at the mercy of nature, and when episodes pass we forget and carry on,” Vejvoda said. “But this virus has put forward all these questions about the interconnectedness of the world as we’ve built it. Air travel, global supply chains — it’s all linked.”

As the virus spreads to Europe and beyond, Vejvoda said “it makes China seem a bit more fragile and dependence on China as ‘the factory of the world’ more iffy.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is now a global obsession. In addition to concerns such as the health of oneself, families and the community, many Asian people have faced criticism and discrimination, according NBC Bay Area News.

Due to National Public Radio (NPR) news, many people believe that it is the Asian community responsible for spreading the virus because COVID-19 comes from Asia. Jonathan Mok, age 23, from Singapore, has been living in London for about two years and attended University of London (UCL).

According to Channel News Asia, Mok was walking on Oxford Street at about 2:15 p.m., Feb. 24, when a group of four young people began shouting, “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.” He said he turned to that group because he did not want them to think he was scared or that “Asians are easily bullied.”

Kate Trifo on Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has birthed a new round of racism and animosity toward Asians in 2020.

“I felt really angry,” Mok said. “It is ridiculous people are being targeted for being Asian.”

Seeing Mok react, one of the individuals in the group shouted out in a challenge. The young group, three males and one female, then walked towards Mok and assaulted him. 

Recently in Hong Kong, Italy and other countries, businesses, hotels and restaurants have posted notices saying they do not welcome customers from China or that Chinese are not welcome.

Discrimination is a significant and growing problem in the world, especially in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. There are increasing reports of racial discrimination among Asians. On Twitter, some people are calling it “Coughing While Asian”, where people who either are, or look Asian, are recounting stories of being discriminated against on Twitter during the pandemic.

According to Market Watch, there was a video of a Chinese woman, Wang Mengyun, eating bat soup, which some see as evidence of China’s “disgusting” eating habits, even though the video was shot in Palau, Micronesia a few years earlier.

When Singaporeans gathered on the weekend to celebrate Lunar New Year, many openly joked about Chinese eating habits and the trend of eating “anything with four legs except the table and everything that flies except planes”. Many are continuing to spread anti-Chinese racism.

A meme even said, “there’s no need to worry – the virus won’t last long because it’s made in China”.

The striker Son Heung-min for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (an English professional soccer club) has become a victim of racism related to the coronavirus.

According to The Sun News, striker Son Heung-min continues to be discriminated against in Britain. This time they accused the Tottenham striker of the coronavirus.

The story begins with Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Man City in the 25th round of the Premier League. After the match, Son Heung-min had a quick answer with Sky Sports. The Korean player coughed twice and the situation was quickly memorized by uncultured fans.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Discrimination is a significant and growing problem in the world, especially in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fans point out that the racist expression of Asians was based on unfounded notions such as ‘the corona virus arrived in Tottenham’ and ‘Heung Min showed signs of the coronavirus.’

Another story worth mentioning is when a group held up a sign that read “Corona Time” with the intention of ridiculing the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak from Asia. This image was then posted on social networks.

Seen in the radio’s posts as well as on social networks, citizens reacted harshly to discriminatory acts as well as insensitive jokes before the COVID-19 virus broke out. Now most people just play along.

Since everyone is human, naturally, it is normal to be afraid for themselves or their loved ones getting sick. However, fear is not the same as disdain. People should turn fear into proactive help, staying clean instead of turning it into an synonym of discrimination.

Personally, I have not experienced any of this issue thanks to the Fresno Christian community for being peaceful and sensitive to this and other issues that are rising up out of this pandemic. Please help me and all communities rally and support each other during a most difficult time.

For those who have experienced discriminatory experiences, click on the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council website. Let’s stop hate together.

For more articles, read EDITORIAL: Humanity’s altruism swells amidst COVID-19, social distancing and Professionals, students share origins of political divide, solutions for change.

Thy Pham can be reached via email.

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