Local News

"There is fear." Asian community struggling with discriminatory attacks over COVID-19

Posted February 12, 2021 7:29 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2021 9:59 a.m. EST

There have been dozens of violent, unprovoked attacks against Asians and Asian Americans across the country in the past year, including in the last few weeks.

A local mental health expert says the effects of these attacks are trickling down to North Carolina Asian communities.

"There is fear! There’s fear and some trepidation of this could happen to me," says Jeanie Chang, a marriage and family therapist with Your Change Provider, PLLC.

Chang says her clients have tripled in the last year and a lot of them sharing similar stories.

"At the start it was much more of a worry, because there was a lot more attacking early on with the 'China Virus' and all the labels that we heard," Chang said.

She says the violent attacks against Asian-Americans across the country is causing fear here in the triangle. Some are scared to even leave their home.

"I’m seeing a lot [of] secondary trauma, which is hearing an account from someone else seeing it on the news. When you watch something and it’s distressing, that can also be traumatic," Chang, said.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition addressing anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, it's received 2,583 reports nationwide since its launch on March 19. The types of discrimination include verbal harassment, physical assaults, workplace discrimination and being barred from establishments and transportation.

Stop AAPI Hate documents incidents like this one out of Texas, where a parent says:
"My son [nine years old] was on a summer camp field trip. While there, a girl from his camp group told him that all Chinese people have the coronavirus. She said that Asians brought the virus. The constant insults ended up making him cry."

Chang is hopeful that the new administration will help address some of the issues affecting Asians and Asian Americans here and across the country.

"They question, is it the pandemic? Or is it the discrimination? Even Asians struggling with that, we don’t know which one is which," Chang said.

Chang says shedding light on these issues and talking about them is a start.

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