There have been numerous reports in the Australian media about the hate and racism coming out of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. All of this racism is directed towards anyone in Australia who is Asian. A quick skim of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Racism Incident Report, shows that the racism is not just targeted against Chinese Australians, but Asian Australians of all backgrounds. No Asian Australian is immune to this vile hate and insidious racism.
The worst part of all this is those who are being hateful and racist feel emboldened to do so because they have been given the green light by the Australian tabloid media and by Australian Government MPs to think making racial slurs on “Asians eating bats, dogs and cats” or that “Asian are to be blamed for the virus pandemic” is the right thing to do, and alas, we Asian Australians are suffering as a result of this.
On this site, we have already reported on a number of incidents which have happened recently including the Melbourne bus driver who was racially discriminated by a passenger, a racist tirade against Asian passengers on a Melbourne train and the racist dude cracking a whip outside of the Chinese Consulate in Sydney – and these are just a very very small percentage of incidents which have happened, are happening and will happen if the community doesn’t speak up against it.
Just recently, the story of the 2 Vietnamese Australian sisters who were victims of a racist tirade in Marrickville, Sydney made the news with the racist woman spitting and hitting on of the sisters before running off. From the video it is clear how emboldened the racist woman was, as though it was the “right” thing to do because obviously its ALL Asians fault for the virus. As disgusting and racist as this incident is, many Australians see this behaviour as acceptable and some sort of punishment for us just being Asian.
Actress and filmmaker Maria Tran who is also of Vietnamese Australia background experienced racism at a local shopping centre where a kid pointed at her and yelled out “corona, corona, corona”. Instead of the kid’s mother telling her kid that saying these things are wrong, the mother instead told her kid “… she’ll go away soon”. We asked Tran how she felt at the time when being the recipient of this casual racism and she told us:
“What I experienced first hand was confusing. It made me more aware at the subtleties of racism and in that moment, I felt really immobilised. It took me some time to decide whether to post about it, and when I did the amount of commentary followed indicated to me that it is a topic that needs much discussion.”
Tran used this experience to help others and interviewed the 2 Vietnamese Australian sisters from Marrickville who experienced the major verbal and physical tirade. Here is the video interview Tran did with 2 sisters.
In other acts of racism South, Australian councillor for the City of Salisbury Sarah Ouk was the recipient of an incident when she was about to cross the road to collect her groceries from her local shops. A car drove past and a man in the car shouted at her (via ABC News):
“[The driver] started to scream that ‘you Asians bring corona[virus] to Australia’,” Ms Ouk said.
“He stuck his head out and tried to do sneezing, coughing, and then he spat at me.
“I don’t know whether it landed or not because my back was towards him.”
She told ABC News that after the incident she started to feel confused and afraid:
“I crossed to the other side to go to Aldi with that fear — I was like ‘what’s happening? What did I do wrong?'” she said.
“I went in [with] all these mixed emotions … into the store, and then this couple was looking at me really weirdly, like I’m full of viruses or something.
“I was really devastated — no one deserves this,” she said.
“Everyone should have the equal opportunity to shop freely and shop safe.
“Racism … is not fair and it’s not right.
“Anyone does not need this kind of behaviour — it’s not on.”
In Melbourne, a wall in Box Hill, an area which has a high percentage of Asians and Asian Australians had racial slurs gratified across it saying:
“Shame on China, go home yellow dog”….
And similar type graffiti was also seen in Western Australia and other states in Australia. Founder and editor for Being Asian Australian site Erin Chew received an essay of racism targeted directly at her, accusing her of being a Chinese spy and threatening world war 3 against everyone who is of Chinese background.
These incidents will only continue to manifest itself in Australian society because it has not been pointed out by those in power and influence that this is not okay. As Asian Australians, we do not need to hide anymore, and it is time we all come out in unison against this hate. In saying that a group of Chinese Australians which include Jason Yat-Sen Li, Adam Liaw and Benjamin Law have penned a letter calling for Australia to stop this racism and hate.
And finally, our incident report has reported almost 130 cases of racism, ranging from the casual slur to physical intimidation , and this number only continues to grow. So please remember to complete it if you have experienced racism recently or know someone else who has.
It is high time we say NO to racism and NO to hate and stand up for ourselves. Keep safe and be vigilant fellow Asian and Asian Australian brothers, sisters and siblings. We are in this together.