PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - COVID-19 continues to grow and spread globally, and so does discrimination.
In Portland, restaurants have taken a hit, and just on Friday, local representatives hosted a round table discussion to hear how it’s affected the Asian American community.
Health officials have addressed that viruses don’t discriminate, but still, Asian-Americans across the country continue to be targeted because of misconceptions about the coronavirus.
“Discrimination may not have changed, but may have just surfaced more prominently,” Helen Ying, who serves on the board of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance: Portland Lodge, said.
Ying is also a national leader in the Chinese American community.
“Racism is deep," Ying said. "It goes way back in the United States history. It’s not new."
Ying says ignorance is playing a big part in why negative stereotypes continue to spread. Nationally, she says, the harassment is escalating.
Ying says a Chinese American business owner in San Antonio, Texas, was attacked two weeks ago. Another person was verbally harassed while they were at a hospital to visit a dying loved one, she says.
“To be confronted by somebody who did not know them, and just because of their skin," Ying said. "To make those kinds of remarks … it’s just so out of place. We have to know that we are all connected. We can’t just point our finger at someone else and think things are gonna go away.”
Ying says racial discrimination will only continue to get worse unless everybody chips in, learns the facts, and helps educate people around them.
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