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COVID-19/Coronavirus xenophobia and racism -- taking a stand and providing resources

April 10, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, Asian and Asian Americans at the university, in Minnesota, throughout the country, and across the world have been racially targeted directly and indirectly. These xenophobic and racist acts are deplorable and cannot be tolerated. Below are some recent racist and xenophobic events on campus, in the Twin Cities, and across all of Minnesota

Now more than ever, it is an important reminder that we all are responsible for taking a stand against it. Read the statement against xenophobia by the UMN Asian American Studies Program which Psychology has since co-signed. If you see such behaviors or hear such comments in meetings and classrooms, as well as via zoom and social media, it is our moral obligation to speak up, intervene as a bystander, and check-in with the intended targets to make sure they are safe and have support. 

MN Governor Walz also has launched a discrimination helpline and online portal to report these racist acts and crimes. 

Psychology and higher education associations have provided resources to prepare and address these issues.

And it's important to recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to widespread stigma and fears about wearing a face mask and a disproportionate impact on Latino and African American communities, in addition to Asian Americans

I encourage you to take time at the start of your classes and student meetings to check in with your students to see how they are coping and use that time as an opportunity to address racism and xenophobia against racial and ethnic minority and international students. Students are looking to faculty and staff to speak up and offer support. This pandemic is affecting all of us but some groups and communities are unfairly at greater risk and vulnerability.

Please take a moment to click on the links, read the stories, and share the resources with your students and colleagues. Thank you.

Richard Lee, PhD
Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Associate Chair for Research
Department of Psychology | University of Minnesota