How Racism is Changing the Face of COVID-19

This article was written by Bethany Morris, a content writer for the Immigration Advice

Service, an organisation of immigration lawyers based in the UK and Ireland.

The Western response to Coronavirus has become dominated by racialised blame games

from the media and government officials alike, fostering an increasingly hostile environment

for Asian communities across the globe. Hypocrisy in the Western response is also rife; as

the supposedly most ‘progressive’ nations in the world struggle to contain Covid and appear

conflicted about when to prioritise human life over economic stability, whilst countries that

find themselves the victims of Western criticism and racial prejudice are managing the

pandemic most effectively.

Since the outbreak reached the Western world, hate crimes against the Asian community

have risen. In the US, the Anti-Defamation League have been tracking racist online activity

which targets Asian communities, reporting that many platforms have seen material “linking

the coronavirus to racist and antisemitic slurs and memes”.

Away from the virtual world, this abuse has spilled over into reality. In London, Jonathon

Mok, a 23 year old Singaporean student, was assaulted in a racist attack and in the US, in

the past month alone, Asian-American organisations have reported almost 1,500 incidents

of racial abuse, coming just two months after the FBI assessed that hate crimes were likely

to rise across the country. In an open letter to Assistant Attorney General Eric S Dreiband,