ICS Analysis

Rising Xenophobia and Anti-Asian Racism amid COVID-19: A Theoretical Lens

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, news articles have reported increased incidents of racial abuse, verbal harassment, cyberbullying, vandalism, physical assault and other forms of mistreatment toward others, particularly Asians. People of Asian descent and appearance have been stigmatized for spreading the virus. Sinophobia, xenophobia and anti-Asian racism have become widespread in the shadow of the current pandemic. This article attempts to explain the rising instances of racism and discrimination through the lenses of information asymmetry, political opportunism, social stigma and social identity theories. Such a discussion in the context of COVID-19 allows a deeper understanding of how racism against people of colour operates and legitimizes at individual and institutional levels.

Keywords- COVID-19, xenophobia, sinophobia, racism, stigma, social identity .


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