Behind the Scenes: Anti-Asian Sentiment

“Don’t go out. It’s very dangerous. The virus is at its peak.”

“Don’t go out. What if you catch the disease?”

“Don’t go out. You’ll get hurt. Someone could kill you like they did to the others.”

My parents have said a variety of these statements to me every day since quarantine started last year in March. When I first entered high school, they were afraid I would get kidnapped because of my small stature. Needless to say, they’ve lightened up on that idea as I grew older.

However, as the pandemic started to gain traction, my parents grew increasingly worried about how I would be able to go outside when so many Asians were getting hurt. Likewise, I grew more anxious for them whenever they had to go to work. More and more people began to blame Asians for the start of the pandemic. With that kind of anger in their minds, people turned to violence in order to satisfy their hatred. 

The growing anti-Asian sentiment proves to be a detrimental part of society, and as it continues to harm the people in our community, we will end up living in a world where it is normal to hurt those for something they cannot control.

As hate crimes continue to increase towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations, I’ve developed a more distraught outlook on today’s society. 

Ever since Covid-19 surged in the US, statistics have shown that hate crimes towards Asians have increased substantially. According to, the highest number of recorded hate crimes in a decade occurred in 2019. Furthermore, revealed that the NYPD reported a 1900% upsurge in anti-Asian sentiment since 2020.

Although I haven’t experienced someone hitting me or throwing something at me because of my race, I’ve had a fair amount of nasty looks and the occasional shove against the shoulder when going outside to run errands.

Discrimination is very prominent in our day and age no matter how hard we choose not to believe it. The chances of me getting discriminated against weren’t super high, but they were never zero. 

I remember going to the Brigade Drill Competition in February of 2020. During this time, the pandemic was starting to gain attention as there were several cases being reported in neighboring states. My team members were predominantly Asian and we were traveling to a school that was predominantly white. The other schools that also attended were also predominantly white. 

My team members around this time were getting sick, not because of Covid-19, but because of the change in seasons. It was getting colder and with all of our late practice days, many of us began to feel the chill of the winter.

Needless to say, there were a lot of nasty glares during our time at Brigade. Some of them called us racial slurs behind our backs, some pulled their eyes back to mock our eye shapes, and some even tried to take pictures of us while we were trying to support our team.

The advocacy group, Stop AAPI Hate, is a nonprofit social organization that runs the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center, which tracks incidents of discrimination, hate and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States.  

Stop AAPI Hate has received more than 2800 hate incident reports, and out of the 2800 reports Stop AAPI Hate has received, states that “70.9% of attacks were verbal harassment, 21.4% of attacks were shunning, 8.7% were physical assault, 6.4% were coughed/spat on, and the rest were workplace discrimination or refusal of service.”

Several incidents of verbal and physical assault towards Asians have increased to the point of severe harm and even death. 

According to, 84 year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was shoved to the ground by 19 year-old Antoine Watson on January 28 and passed away two days later.

In addition, a 64 year-old Vietnamese grandmother was assaulted and robbed in San Jose, California, a 61 year-old Filipino man had his face slashed with a box cutter in a NYC subway, and a 91 year-old man was thrown to the ground in Oakland, Chinatown.

In Asian households, the elderly are viewed as a priority. They’re the most honored and must be treated with respect because their time in the world is running its course. Whether it’s cutting up fruit for us when we get sad or calling them from the other side of the world once a week, our elders are important to us.

For elders to be treated with disrespect in America shows the poor and racist character of some people in our society. These people are willing to harm and even kill our weakened family members because of their racist beliefs. They have families to spend their remaining moments with, families that will shower them with the love and respect they deserve.

Those who take the other side of this argument might say something along the lines of, “It’s okay to treat Asians like this, because they started the virus.” However, these sentiments are based on racist ideologies. You can’t justify the action of killing someone because of their race. You can’t justify harming someone else, especially an elder, because you’re upset that a virus originated from an Asian country.

Even if the virus originated from an Asian country, it’s our responsibility as people living on Earth to try and combat the pandemic as quickly and efficiently as possible. Taking precautionary measures and practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and wearing masks, is the first step. You can’t blame an entire race for things that your fellow citizens can’t even take accountability for.

Those who don’t wear masks, those who don’t practice social distancing, and those who travel the world when there are people struggling to survive cannot blame the Asian race for their shortcomings. It takes effort and teamwork to navigate something as big as a pandemic. 

Although we live in a time of hardship as we battle a deadly virus, the biggest virus of them all is hate.