Since the start of the pandemic a year ago, cases of discrimination and violence against people who are Asian have increased, particularly against older adults. In one of the most egregious acts Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84, was knocked to the ground and killed while walking in his San Francisco neighborhood on Jan. 28. NASW offers its condolences to Mr. Ratanapakdee’s family and friends.
This most recent violence targeting the Asian community has often been fueled by hateful rhetoric from former President Donald Trump, who has blamed the origins of the COVID pandemic on China and used racist terms such as the “China Virus” to describe the disease.
The COVID-19 related hate times against Asians should not be seen in isolation. In fact, there is a long history in this nation of racial profiling and hate crimes against people who are of South Asian descent, mainly due to them being mistaken for being Middle Eastern or Muslims after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Hate crimes against people who are South Asian have also risen, particularly after the Trump Administration implemented immigration policies that discriminated against people from South Asian nations, including the Muslim immigration ban.
As a result, the recent COVID-19 pandemic-related hate crimes against Asians intersects with pre-existing racial and religious profiling immigration policies embraced by the Trump Administration. These egregious practices must be eliminated.
Social workers are dedicated to equal rights for all. This is enshrined in the NASW Code of Ethics. NASW also strives to train social workers so they better serve all Americans, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality.
NASW and its chapters will work with government officials and lawmakers to stop rising violence against people who are Asian and with local, state and national organizations to address discrimination against these communities.