The Influence of Political and Social Figures over the Asian American Community

By Dara Lira

Everyone understands that there are problems in the world. Furthermore, there are inciting events and catalysts to those problems that create them, or make them worse. One of the issues my country, the United States of America, is currently facing is racism towards Asian Americans. The new surge of unwanted and violent actions towards this minority is due to the Coronavirus Pandemic currently plaguing our lives. However, from reading articles about the subject matter at hand, I realized there is a trend popping up in each of these sorts of events. There is always a political or social figure of importance influencing the opinions of the American people. More often than not, these people tend to sway the perception of the minority being targeted in a more negative light. 

A modern example that comes to mind is Donald Trump calling the Covid-19 virus the “China Virus,” or “Kung-flu,” painting the Chinese people and Chinese Americans in a negative light. As Donald Trump is a former American president, he had a lot of power and influence over the civilians in our nation. This occurrence itself may not have started the wave of racism towards Asian-Americans, but it was one of many inciting incidents that rapidly increased the violent outbursts towards the community. However, this is nothing new. I read some articles speaking about many historical events that gave Asian Americans a bad name, especially at the time. One of these incidents is the Japanese internment camps during World War II, in which many Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans were mistreated and hurt. Even Dr. Seuss, a popular children’s storybook writer, was the artist who drew racist cartoons about the Asian community, as shown below. 

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