Asian American communities have been facing racial discrimination and economic losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In San Francisco, xenophobia and hate speech incidents towards Asian Americans have escalated. One day while using the restroom, business-owner Timmy Leong heard a man next to him cough and mutter, “cough from China.” Leong felt his adrenaline going and had to sit down for about ten minutes to calm down. Leong is not alone in this; since the coronavirus originated in China, several Asian Americans encounter this bigoted behavior, sometimes even in violent manners. In one incident, a 68-year old elderly Asian man was attacked while collecting cans in a cart. The man was struck on the back of his head by 20-year-old Dwayne Grason and lost his cart filled with recyclables. Grason was soon charged, but that does not erase the horror of the experience.
Asian American communities have also been hard-hit financially. In LA’s Koreatown, small businesses have struggled to earn the same amount of revenue as prior to the pandemic due to false social media rumors. Through Instagram, KakaoTalk, a Korean messaging app, posted that a flight attendant from Korean Airlines was diagnosed with COVD-19. She began experiencing the symptoms after dining at five restaurants in Koreatown. As the rumors spread throughout social media platforms, the business of the five restaurants declined significantly. Due to the rumors, Han Bat Sul Lung Tang, a well-liked beef bone soup shop, along with other restaurants, noticed 50% lowered sales. Fortunately, the owner of Han Bat Sul Lung Tang affirmed sales were back to normal after reopening. While the Korean soup shop was able to recover, some Asian restaurants have not been so fortunate and still struggle with reduced sales.
More awareness needs to be raised about the xenophobia, physical violence, and loss of business Asian Americans are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.