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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

As coronavirus spreads so does reported incidents of racism


Last week, a cell phone video surfaced on social media showing a man on a New York City subway train arguing with a fellow passenger who is Asian, and then spraying Febreze air freshener at that passenger. This incident is one of the many ways anti-Asian sentiments are manifesting across the country according to Grand Valley State University professor Yan Yu, who studies racial relations within communities in the United Sates and among families in China.

“To me it is not surprising to see the increase of racism against Asians as the Coronavirus is spreading quickly worldwide. Historically, racism has always been heightened or intensified through all kinds of natural or human disasters.”

Yu says that while the coronavirus doesn’t discriminate between hosts based on race, ethnicity, nationality or immigration status –its the misinformation that’s sparking racism and attacks against the Asian American community. 

“So, in front of a pandemic we human beings are all equal. We have one common enemy now…that is the virus. So we need to work together to combat it.”

I am Michelle Jokisch Polo