Columbia Explores the Rash of Coronavirus-Related Bigotry

April 05, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health have been examining its spread and ways to prevent new infections. At the same time, the School is tracking a parallel epidemic in racism and xenophobia directed at people of Asian heritage and other minority groups.

During a recent virtual discussion moderated by Raygine DiAquoi, Assistant Dean of Diversity, Culture, and Inclusion, faculty members Robert Fullilove and Merlin Chowkwanyun examined the scope of the current problem alongside its historical precedents, while identifying potential avenues to combat hateful remarks and behavior.

Even before the first cases of the virus spread to the United States, Asian-American communities in New York City and across the country have experienced increased racism and xenophobia. According to U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), over 1,000 hate crimes have been reported against Asian-Americans since early March, including verbal attacks, physical assaults, and other crimes. This week, the FBI released a warning that a surge in hate crimes against Asian and Asian American communities was likely, endangering the safety of these communities.