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Wednesday Worklaw Alert: Studies Show Asian Americans Suffer Increase in Discrimination due to COVID-19

November 11th, 2020 Allison Frison

Recent studies have exposed a significant link between increased reports of racial discrimination towards Asian Americans during the pandemic and deteriorating mental health. Charissa S.L. Cheah, PhD, of the University of Maryland and her colleagues recently published a study in Pediatrics detailing the detrimental impact of increased racism brought on by COVID-19. Researchers conducted a survey of 543 Asian American parents and 230 of their children and wrote, “This study revealed that a high percentage of Chinese American parents and their children personally experienced or witnessed anti-Chinese or anti-Asian American racial discrimination both online and in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The results of the survey speak for themselves; half of the participants reported at least one incident of racial discrimination related to the pandemic. A significant amount of participants also experienced racism online due to COVID-19. Lastly, over 75% of participants suffered indirect COVID-related racial discrimination, such as overhearing derogatory jokes or comments. Researchers included information linking this increase in racism to a corresponding decline in mental health in participants. While this study cannot prove that racial discrimination leads directly to poor mental health, it certainly has exposed a deeply upsetting relationship between the pandemic, racial discrimination, and mental health. 

More Evidence of Racial Discrimination Affecting Asian American Mental Health 

Other studies have corroborated these findings. An editorial written by Tina L. Cheng, MD, of Johns Hopkins University and her daughter Alison M. Conca-Cheng, a medical student at Brown University, said that Cheah and her colleagues’ study supports recent findings that “4 in 10 Americans reported that it has become more common since COVID-19 for people to express racist views about Asian Americans.” 

A new paper written by Washington State University researchers also substantiates these upsetting findings of COVID-related discrimination. Researchers at WSU surveyed over 400 Asian Americans and found that around 30% had experienced more discrimination during the pandemic than before it. They also found that around 40% of participants had noticed health impacts as a result of this discrimination. Sara Waters, an assistant professor at WSU, commented on the study, saying “Some of those were very hard to read. One person described walking past a group of children who told her to go back to her country and called her ‘Coronavirus.’ Another was threatened with a knife. Terms like ‘kung flu’ and ‘China virus’ were very common in responses.”

Seek Legal Assistance Today 

Our firm is dedicated to assisting any Asian American experiencing racial discrimination in the workplace, or any other type of workplace discrimination. The law defines discrimination as unfair or unequal treatment based on certain characteristics or protected statuses, such as race, gender, age, national origin, or religion. If you have been discriminated against on the basis of  a protected status, seek legal assistance from the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.