I’m privileged to be on a powerhouse team with my WSU colleagues Drs. Stephanie Tong and Elizabeth Stoycheff on a new project that examines racist harassment, both online and offline, against Asians and Asian Americans, related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and we just released a White Paper that is FREE for download.
As Stephanie puts it on her SMARTLabs@Wayne website blog,
Though our popular media has reported diligently on the rising coronavirus infection rates, death toll, and financial effects, one “social stressor” that has seen comparatively less attention is increasing discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans. The origination of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China has led to a xenophobic response here in America. In the short period from March 19 to April 1, 2020, an astounding 1,135 harassment complaints were reported to the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council—an increase of 67.3% in verbal harassment and 10% in physical assault. Such numbers reflect the current vilification of Asians in America, whom many blame as the cause of the coronavirus.
So what did we do for our study? In May 2020, we surveyed 1,767 Americans, asking them about their current quality of life during the pandemic, their perceptions of increasing online harassment of Asian Americans, how they respond to this rise in pandemic-related racism, and any subsequent effects on their mental health. Our findings suggest that when people perceive the disruption caused by pandemic-related racial discrimination, and they are able to respond to it with resilience, they simultaneously report better overall psychological health. Notably, being unaware of increasing online harassment doesn’t mitigate its negative emotional and psychological effects among Asian Americans, as our first key finding shows. Instead, decreased attention to online racism seems to inhibit the activation of resilience and any subsequent positive impacts on psychological well-being.
Download and read the full White Paper HERE.