Thursday, March 5, 2020

Editors note: Below is the first part of the University of Minnesota Asian American Studies Program statement on campus climate and COVID-19 related racism and xenophobia. Be sure to click on the link here or at the bottom to read the full statement, list of co-signers, and links to additional information and resources.

March 4, 2020

"With the rise of concerns about the COVID-19 virus, there have been increasing incidents of xenophobia and racism targeting Chinese and other Asian people worldwide, including at the University of Minnesota. Acts of exclusion, harassment, and hate speech do nothing to prevent viruses and other illnesses from spreading; instead, such actions simply impair our abilities to work together as a community at a crucial time.

Asian American history has shown us how the stereotyping of early Chinese immigrants as carriers of disease was part of a larger pattern of racial violence and legal exclusion. More recently outbreaks of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and the Ebola virus were accompanied by a resurgence of suspicion and hostility towards particular countries, cultures, and people. As emerging infectious diseases become a global phenomenon, they can only be fought through solidarity and cooperation, rather than anxiety, stigmatization, and hostility.

Asian and Asian American students in our classes and in our AAS program have expressed that recent incidents on campus and in the wider society related to COVID-19 have left them feeling targeted and vulnerable. We feel it is imperative that the University of Minnesota, and all of us, work toward building a safe, supportive climate, free from racial hostility for all of our students, particularly in these anxious times."

Read the full statement here.


"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.