Back in the early days of the pandemic, there were already warning signs for the Chinoy community and Asians around the world.
I remember my philosophy professor talking about the discovery of the coronavirus in Wuhan when my seatmate told me: “Ikaw ah, mga tao mo [you ah, your people]” and that I should go back to China and be with the virus.
Granted, it was a joke so I laughed it off while pretending to hang my head in shame.
Then my friends would tell me about service workers and commuters recoiling from them because they looked Chinese. “People looked scared of me when I was commuting. I have very Chinese-looking eyes, but I’m half-Filipino.” says Alicia Chiu.
Unfortunately, it is not just those with Chinese blood who suffer these injustices.
Mrs. Santos, a professor who teaches in the U.S. says she was called a “virus” and was shouted at by customers to leave her local grocery. She is Filipino.
“I have never seen the Chinese be more sorry just for being Chinese. I have also never felt more ashamed for having a Chinese family name.” wrote a Chinoy High School student, in an opinion piece about coronavirus racism.
On March 15, Chinese-Filipino Danilo Yu Chang was attacked in San Francisco on the way back to his office. He was not robbed. He was beaten unconscious simply because of his race.
“’Wag sila matakot lumantad. Hindi magiging aware ang mga tao na talagang totoo ito kasi sinasabi nila robbery lang ito di ba, just a simple mugging, pero minsan hate crime na, hindi pa nila nire-report,” said Yu Chang.
(They shouldn’t be scared to come out. Because people are not going to be aware that these are real. People say it could just be robbery, just a simple mugging. But sometimes, these are hate crimes. They’re just not reported.)
Almost every Chinoy (and other Chinese diaspora) has experienced some form of racism or micro-aggression due to the virus. With the onset of another enhanced community quarantine and hate crimes on Asians all over the world, what can be done?
1. Support the #StopAsianHate movement by signing petitions and sharing social media posts
Sign this petition and help the movement reach its target of 2500! As of writing, it needs about seven hundred more signatures to reach its goal. Once done, Manhattan DA and local governments in America will investigate hate crimes against Asians, and make more active steps to put a stop to them.
2. Encourage others to stop calling it “the Chinese virus” because it is a global pandemic
The coronavirus is many things, but it is not just the “Chinese virus.” This is a pandemic that affects the entire world, and antagonizing one race does nothing to help it. The only way we will survive this situation is together.
As said in ABS-CBN’s article reporting on Danilo Yu Chang’s attack, “This has been attributed to former US president Donald Trump’s rhetoric last year calling COVID-19 the ‘Chinese virus.’”
3. Speak out against Chinese stereotypes
While it is true that the Chinoy culture is distinct from the mainland Chinese, it does not mean we should tolerate racism towards them. In the same manner, we should also defend our fellow Filipinos when they are being discriminated against.
There are racist stereotypes about Chinese people being bad-mannered cat/dog-eaters, and then there are stereotypes about Filipinos on many fronts as well. As Chinoys, we can dispel these ideas by proving people wrong through our actions, acknowledging that Sinophobia does not only affect them, but affects us and overseas Chinese around the world, and acting accordingly.
4. Support Asian representation in media
Representation is important because it humanizes people, creates empathy, and prevents one from being “othered.”
With the first Asian superhero on the way, let us continue to support Asian-led films! Not just Chinese films such as “Over the Moon” and “Bao,” but Filipino films as well, such as the Pixar short “Float.” There are also dramas that are uniquely Hokkien, such as “Little Big Women” out on Netflix.
As of writing, the U.S. Senate has finally passed a bill to stop Asian hate crimes.