The coronavirus pandemic has been a gift for the grievance studies industry.
Just as student journalists rushed to make use of what they learned in their “studies” courses about racism — and then connect it to COVID-19 — now academics are “confronting the rise in anti-Asian and anti-Asian American racism” associated with the malady.
According to Inside Higher Ed, scholars have put President Trump and “other prominent figures” in their crosshairs due to their continued use of the phrase “Chinese virus.” Alleged “experts” assert this term “fuels xenophobia.”
In a supposed “outreach to Asian American communities,” the Journal of Asian American Studies “put out an urgent call for submissions” for an upcoming special edition dedicated to the coronavirus and racism.
San Francisco State University Asian American Studies Chair Russell Jeung even set up an online reporting form where people can document bias and hate incidents related to COVID-19. Descriptions are limited to “2-3 sentences.”
The form notes “As the virus COVID-19 spreads, numerous Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have reported experiencing microaggressions, racial profiling, hate incidents and in some cases, hate violence.” It says the collection of submissions “will be used for assistance, advocacy and education.”
The problem with the form is that there doesn’t appear to be a means by which to verify reported incidents. The system seems akin to that of the Southern Poverty Law Center which (allegedly) documented a rise in hate/bias incidents following Donald Trump’s election.
Samuel Museus, a professor of education studies at the University of California, San Diego, said he expects to see a spike in research related to discrimination against Asian Americans. He has begun analyzing discourse about the virus in the media and social media.
“A lot of the media coverage is talking about these incidents of discrimination and prejudice as emanating from the coronavirus, and in some cases talking about Donald Trump’s role in fueling it with the rhetoric that he’s used to talk about the pandemic,” Museus said. “I think that makes sense given the context that we’re in and the fact that those realities do play a role, but there’s not a lot of coverage of larger context and the fact that there’s a long history of physical illnesses being weaponized against communities of color in our society and used as a way to spark fear and animosity toward immigrant populations in order to advance political agendas.”
William López, the faculty director of public scholarship at Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity said he’s also seeking articles from those whose “scholarship speaks to the racialization of pandemics or other public health phenomena and the social consequences that follow.”
López said he hopes to get it out to the public “fast enough to make a difference.”