On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 243-164 approving a resolution that condemns racism against Asian Americans related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, voted in support of the resolution.
“I rise today to condemn the xenophobic, anti-Asian rhetoric that President Trump and his allies have been using to distract us from their woefully inadequate response to COVID-19,” Takano said on the House floor. “By referring to COVID-19 almost exclusively as ‘the China virus,’ the President is fueling racism and inspiring violent attacks on Asian Americans and Asian immigrants.”
In an interview with readynewsy on Thursday, Takano explained why he was motivated to speak out.
“It’s actually almost diabolical for an American president to intentionally ascribe a race or some sort of mass blame,” he said. “The real intent is to shift blame and by shifting blame they’re going to hurt the many, many Asian Americans in the United States.”
A new study out of California released by Stop AAPI Hate on Thursday found that there is a rise in racism, especially against Asian American youth.
“Hearing the President and how he talks about COVID-19, hearing other elected officials, now, basically that language has been weaponized against our young people,” said Manju Kulkarni.
Kulkarni is a spokesperson for Stop AAPI Hate and the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. She said discrimination against youth account for almost 20% of all reports.
“It indicates that this problem has even seeped to our younger populations,” she said. “We are very concerned this will stay with us as a backlash against our community members for some time.”
Stop AAPI Hate tallied 2,583 reports of anti-Asian discrimination across the country since the pandemic started. Over 40% of those cases happened in California, with 20 incidents in Sacramento County.
“I didn’t want to just sit back and watch this occur,” said Rebecca Wu.
Fifteen-year-old Rebecca Wu interned on the study after she experienced discrimination on her way home from school in Los Angeles in March.
“They’d call me racist names. And I’ve heard people say racist jokes,” she said. “They would blame us for bringing coronavirus to America.”
Wu said she was motivated to help on the study to advocate for her community and hopefully enact change.
“This honestly worries me, because it’s scary to think that people who are supposed to be representing our community, representing our nation, are using these harmful terms,” she said.