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Study: COVID-Related Discrimination Has Outsize Impact On Racial Minorities

Speaker 1: 00:00 Research into covert related discrimination reveals that Asian Americans are two and a half times more likely to experience harassment than whites followed by blacks and Latinos. The center for economic research at the university of Southern California in Los Angeles has been tracking incidents of discrimination since the covert pandemic began and has documented some disturbing trends. Joining us is the author of the study yang new who is research scientist with the center for economic research. Thanks for joining us yang. Thank you for having that. And Natalia Molina, who is professor of American studies and ethnicity at USC, she studies the intersection of disease and race. Thanks for being with us here. So can, first of all, tell us more about this survey, which is based on a survey of 7,000 people across the country. What question would this particular survey, where are you hoping to answer? Speaker 2: 00:52 Well, it says already Marsh, we've been surveying a national representative, a sample of more than 7,000 people that as you mentioned, and tracking their experience and perception to meet the pandemic. Um, so in this particular study, um, we asked respondents if people thinking they might have the coronavirus acted as if they were afraid of them. So I don't know, harass them, treated them with less courtesy and respect or gave them poor service at restaurants or stores. So we consider those kind of experience would be indication of discrimination against people who are thought to have COVID-19 even if they weren't actually affected. So we see that this rate of discrimination actually peaking April at about one 10th of the population and has declined afterward and Asian Americans, as you mentioned, um, are the first racial, ethnic groups who had experienced substantial, uh, discrimination and followed by African American and Latinos. Speaker 1: 01:46 So just to make this real for us, could you give us some specific examples of this kind of discrimination that were reported? Speaker 2: 01:52 So I think he, in the survey, we specifically ask about their, um, daily experience that, um, attribute what to the COVID-19 that equal died, whether they see other, they feel other people acted if, as they were afraid of them, if they actually be threatened or harassed by other people, because other people think they might have Kobe. And if other people treat them with less carcass and respect, um, well, and gave them poor service at the restaurant, those stores. So those are the question we directly asked for respondents in the study itself. We also try to find the linkage between, um, like those there's experience to other potential drivers of this. So the Asian, um, racial ethnicities, one of them, and then people who wear a face mask, actually more likely to experience this discrimination as well. I could add to that as well. You know, I think one of the things that we're seeing is the ways in which social media helps spread these examples. Speaker 2: 02:48 And so I think one of the violent aspects about this kind of discrimination is that people are just going about their everyday lives. As you mentioned, you know, they're walking their dog, they're standing on a quarter, waiting for a bus or reporter is waiting to interview someone and they're objects of slurs. They haven't heard maybe since grade school, that child used against them, but now adults are using it in one of the most recent examples was a tech CEO in San Francisco who is eating his dinner at a fancy restaurant in the Bay area is almost done with his meal. And it's just so appalled by Filipino family, eating their own meals, singing happy birthday to their aunt, not interfering with his life at all, that he has to go off on a tirade asking them to leave the country. Uh, and so this is, I think part of the violence is that people are either going about their daily lives or they're doing what they're being asked to do, which is wear a mask, be protective of others. But because there's a stigma, you know, century long, over a century, long stigma, Asians being diseased carriers, if they wear a mask, which is what we're all being asked to do, they're seen as having a disease rather than seeing as caring for the common good. Speaker 1: 04:10 The survey shows that Asian Americans have experienced the worst prejudice, but why do you think other racial minorities are being subjected to COVID related discrimination? Speaker 2: 04:19 So one observation we had in the study is, um, when the discrimination kind of arose from March to April, um, this is particularly salient for, or, um, pronounced for African Americans at the time. Well, there was like a lot of media coverage on African-Americans like their disproportionate vulnerability to Colgate. So this increase of discrimination and actually temporal rainiest plea actually coincides with that media coverage. So it seems like while there could be a link between like a minority group, they might be more, um, impacted by that it had more house consequences. What would, they might be more effected by the Colgate and people do take that message. And they would actually, that could be a potential driver of the, of the discrimination Speaker 1: 05:10 Masks have indeed been a flashpoint haven't they have a lot of controversy, but Natalia, do you see them becoming, um, perhaps less of a focus of hurtful comments than before? I mean, perhaps they've been masking a deeper prejudice. Speaker 2: 05:24 Yes. Uh, I mean, I think what we're seeing is the way that these tie rates are unleashed and they call on these, uh, racial scripts from, you know, many years ago, such as, you know, Asians as disease carriers, we see how uneven the Ameesha penis. So for example, as the study shows, Asians are more discriminated against for worrying mass versus, uh, African Americans who are being told to take off mass because they are, they are criminalized in the way that they're thought of racially. So yo case of African Americans going into Walmart with masks on, and, you know, the, the Walmart employee asking them to leave. So we see how it is an unleashing of this discrimination, but it is also playing on past racial stereotypes. Speaker 1: 06:13 Do you think Natalia, that these kinds of attitudes can actually hurt our chances of stopping the spread of the virus? Speaker 2: 06:19 Absolutely. I've spoken to people on, you know, not through a sustained study, like my colleagues, but you know, my neighbors, my friends, and then talking about, uh, points. And even when this was starting, you know, do you wear a mask on the Metro or not now we're under state, you know, now living in California, we're asked to wear a mask in public, but as we're seeing, you know, it's such a political flashpoint that it's still not seen as a symbol of protecting the common good. It is still paint plain on these past racial stereotypes. Another thing that we see in our study, um, is that, um, this kind of discrimination is associated with, um, more symptoms of anxiety and depression. And in the past literature, we've seen examples, for example, in 2003 SARS outbreak, we see like people who experienced such a discrimination are less likely to go to the, um, kind of seek for help with the extra needed, for example, if they're infected or if they suspect they're infected. So there could be this discrimination is, well, there is I think, CBO, CDC, and also who have called to stop this, um, discrimination. Part of the reason is, is actually against the disease control itself. Speaker 1: 07:30 Has there been any evidence that this kind of discrimination is, is reducing, um, as we learn more about the virus or Speaker 2: 07:37 So we do see a downward trend since April. So in the April time, I think the rate of discrimination is about one in 10 people. So it's slightly drops down a little bit until early June, um, to about 7%, but at the same time we see, um, so this is sort of like one of the things I want to study more is we see in recent, in the recent times, especially in the past month or two, um, we see among Asian group and Hispanics, there is a, like, they have forgotten, there's more of a fluctuation. So the rate has like kind of the tendency to go up again. So I'm really interested in understand why, although the overall trend is going down, but some of the group might being packed for other reasons that might rise again. I would also add to that, that while, um, our focus on, uh, racial incidents, you know, that as you know, according to the research from this study might show, you know, a dip we're also seeing the way that it's being placed out, played out in other ways, uh, structural ways, such as the implementation of laws. Speaker 2: 08:38 So we just learned this week that visas are going to be denied to foreign students. We know that the majority of those students are Asian. We know then that, that, while it doesn't call out a specific racial or ethnic group or nationality or country, we know it's another way of banning Asians from our country. And in that sense, discriminatory and going to be less questioned because, um, by, by many people, not all people, but, uh, people that are believing in this rhetoric of anti-Asian rhetoric cause of COVID are also going to be likely to accept these kinds of immigration restrictions that are seen as race neutral on the face of it. But in practice are clearly anti-Asian Speaker 1: 09:24 Here in California, Natalia advocates were pushing governor Newsome to, to, to boost funding, to fight bias. And so they want to add a cultural representative on the governor's covert task force. How do you think those proposals would make a difference? Speaker 2: 09:38 I kinda can't believe there is, um, you know, science is not objective. Science has never been objective Scientia. We may have data and we may study viruses, but then how we interpret that data, how we apply it, uh, how we see, you know, people wondering, can I go get a vaccine? We need someone that knows that communities are scared of, of science that they've had negative past experience with doctors with clinics. You know, the study has shown that people are going to be afraid to go seek healthcare, and that might affect people's. Uh, our, our, our infection rates, which affects all of us. There's a long history of distrust with communities of color and science and medical experts. And so we need someone to show that the social and cultural impact of that and how, even if we have a cure, will we must understand how this is also going to play into it. Speaker 1: 10:36 Well, I'd like to thank both of you very much for talking to us about these issues. We've been speaking with yang Lu is research scientist with the center for economic research at USC. Thank you, yang and Natalia Molina, who is a professor of American studies and ethnicity at USC. Thank you, Natalia. Thank you.

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The study found discrimination against people thought to have COVID-19, even if they weren't infected, peaked in April and has since declined, but it persists, particularly against Asian Americans.
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