COVID-19 Heightened Americans’ Animosity Toward East Asians | Laissez-Passer

  • COVID-19 Heightened Americans’ Animosity Toward East Asians

    Researchers from Chicago and New York presented findings suggesting the pandemic had amplified prejudicial workplace behaviors against Asians and Hispanics. Dr. Neeraj Kaushal and Sociology Professor Yao Lu of the Columbia University in New York, along with Xiaoning Huang, a distinguished professor at Northwestern University, Chicago, presented their findings in the PLOS ONE open-access journal, last April 13, 2022.

    Incidences of discrimination and hate crimes specifically directed against Chinese Americans have increased since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. While many instances of raciem,  discriminations and violence toward minorities occur in public places involving strangers, the researchers focused on studying the impact of the pandemic, on workplace attitudes toward racial minorities.

    Analysis of Data Collected from Surveys Revealed Pandemic-Related Animosity Toward East Asians

    Analysis was based on data collected from a survey conducted by Dr. Kaushal and her colleagues in August 2020, involving 3,837 working-age Americans. Each of the survey respondent received one of two survey versions. One began with a brief introduction about the COVID 19 before proceeding to questions asking about the personal impact of the pandemic to the respondents. The questions then led to a hypothetical workplace scenario to find out individual preference for a hypothetical colleague belonging to a certain ethno-racial group.

    The second version of the survey began with the hypothetical scenario and choice of hypothetical ethno-racial colleague, before asking a respondent how the COVID-19 pandemic had personally affected them.

    Statistical analysis of the survey responses revealed that respondents fron counties with highest rates of infection but with lower concentrations of East Asian residents, indicated society’s greater prejudice toward East Asians; but none for Blacks and South Asians like Indians. Pakistans, Sri Lankans or Nepalese co-workers. The same sentiments were also true to participants who lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.

    Moreover, the analysis suggested that initializing the survey with a description and sets of questions about the contagion, helped in lessening their acceptance of East Asians and Hispanics, even if only as hypothetical colleagues.

    The authors concluded that their findings highlight a facet of prejudice that intensified during the pandemic, but has largely gone underreported and excluded from current discussions. The researchers are concerned that workplace discrimination can have long-term impacts of alienating minorities as it would sow seeds of distrust throughout and across generations.

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