As the coronavirus swept through the nation, reports surfaced that Asian and Black Americans were experiencing increased discrimination. According to a Pew Research Center article published in 2020, 40 percent of Black and Asian adults noted that if they wore a mask in public, people they encountered appeared to be uncomfortable or suspicious. In 2021, one-third of Asian Americans reported that they feared for their safety, while 80 percent of Asian adults said violence against them was increasing. Anti-Asian racial and xenophobic attacks escalated worldwide to the point where the Human Rights Watch urged governments to take preventative measures against the violence and discrimination.
A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health examined COVID-19 related discrimination and concluded that the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated preexisting racism against racial and ethnic minorities and marginalized communities. Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Latino, White, and multiracial adults. It determined that all racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to experience COVID-related discrimination than White adults, while those who identified as Asian and American Indian/Alaska Native were significantly more likely to experience discrimination. Furthermore, people who speak little to no English, those with lower levels of education, and those with lower levels of income were also more likely to experience discrimination.
The study highlights the need to carefully craft messaging around public health crises in order to help prevent and address discrimination. Researchers noted that how diseases are named and discussed can have significant impact on subsequent discrimination. Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have guidelines that recommend against attaching locations or ethnicities to diseases to prevent backlash against members of the identified community.
March 3, 2022 – C. St. John
 Ruiz, N. G., Menasce Horowitz, J., & Tamir, C. Many Black, Asian Americans Say They have Experienced Discrimination Amid Coronavirus. Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. (July 1, 2020). Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/07/01/many-black-and-asian-americans-say-they-have-experienced-discrimination-amid-the-covid-19-outbreak/
 Ruiz, N. G., Edwards, K., & Hugo Lopez, M. One-third of Asian Americans Fear Threats, Physical Attacks and Most Say Violence Against Them is Rising. Pew Research Center. (April 21, 2021). Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/04/21/one-third-of-asian-americans-fear-threats-physical-attacks-and-most-say-violence-against-them-is-rising/
 Human Rights Watch. Covid-19 Fueling Anti-Asian Racism and Xenophobia Worldwide. (May 12, 2020). Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/12/covid-19-fueling-anti-asian-racism-and-xenophobia-worldwide
 Strassle, P. D., Stewart, A. L., Quintero, S. M., Bonilla, J., Alhomsi, A., Santana-Ufret, V., Maldonado, A. I., Forde, A. T., & Nápoles, A. M. (2022). Covid-19–related discrimination among racial/ethnic minorities and other marginalized communities in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 112(3), 453–466. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2021.306594
 National Institutes of Health. People from racial, ethnic, and other groups report frequent covid-19–related discrimination. Media Advisory. (February 24, 2022). Available at: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/people-racial-ethnic-other-groups-report-frequent-covid-19-related-discrimination?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery