Scripps Faculty Host Representative Judy Chu in Webinar on Anti-Asian Discrimination

By Katie Clelland ’21

On October 21, Scripps hosted a webinar addressing anti-Asian discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bessie and Cecil Frankel Chair of Music and Scripps Professor of Music Hao Huang led the webinar, along with US Congressional Representative Judy Chu of California’s 27th District and Janelle Wong, professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. The webinar commented on the political rhetoric blaming China for the pandemic, which in turn has led to an increase in harassment and physical assaults of Asian Americans.

“Violence and hateful rhetoric have no place in our society,” said Chu. “These incidents are not isolated. Stigma and misinformation make it harder to end the disease. Please have a plan to go out and vote, and make sure your voices are heard.”

Wong followed Chu’s remarks with quantitative data: Although 66 percent of Americans think it is inappropriate to call COVID-19 the “China Virus,” people still choose to employ this rhetoric on social media and in other public settings. Wong also revealed how the pandemic has impacted Asian Americans in other ways. “Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country, and COVID-19 has not only caused racial discrimination, but also impacted their health, unemployment, and financial well-being,” she said.

Huang hopes the topics discussed in the webinar will continue to spark conversation on this prevalent issue. “The goal of hosting of this webinar was simple: to bring to the attention of The Claremont Colleges community how COVID-19, pandemic-inflamed, anti-Asian bias is impacting the presidential and congressional races in November. Sadly, even progressive academic institutions have not addressed this issue in depth,” he said. “Asian American voters may play a key role in hotly contested races in swing states North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. To continue to ignore the plight of Asian Americans during and post COVID-19 is not only ignorant and unethical; it will have significant political consequences in these elections.”