The Harsh and Invisible Social Impact of the Pandemic

During the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, some people state that they have suffered discrimination due to their Asian physical features.

The Woman Post | Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

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Particularly, those living in countries outside Asia, have faced racism that not only represented painful and unfair experiences for them, but also important personal reflections on identity, compassion, and systems of privilege and oppression.

In this interview, The Woman Post spoke with two women who have Asian ethnicities but do not fully identify as Asian. Lily, whose name has been changed because she preferred to remain anonymous. Lily was adopted from China by a Dutch family, at a very young age. She identifies as Dutch and recently became more interested in China. “Before, I really didn't care that I was born in China, because I felt Dutch. Also, because I didn't want to feel different; It's not something I want to constantly focus on, I don't want to define myself as an adopted person. However, it really touches me when I see that the Chinese are still treated differently. Especially after Covid."

Lily grew up in a small town and always felt weird. Not many foreigners lived there and she was known as 'the daughter of the blond woman'. "Sometimes I felt that others were looking at me." Despite not feeling like she encountered a lot of racism, there were times when people made 'jokes' such as assuming she wanted the hot sauce, saying she had brought Chinese food, imitating the sounds of the Chinese language or as she described it "said I'm made in China."


According to Lilly, this situation has worsened since the coronavirus began. At the beginning of COVID-19, some students wrote on the wall of a student building, where many Chinese live: "Go home, Asians." About this Lily says: “Since I am an adoptee, I associate myself more as a Dutch citizen than as a Chinese. But when I read something about Chinese racism, it always hits me."

Lily thinks that before Covid, many Dutch did not have many negative associations with China in the Netherlands: "Most of the stereotypes referred to hardworking Chinese who are good at math. However, after Covid, racism towards the Chinese people got worse, as of course the focus turned to Chinese food and people blamed China for the spread of Covid." Lily thinks that's a very black and white thought: “It actually started in China, but it spread very quickly due to international trade, tourism, overpopulation, and the late responses from many governments (not just China). With the bio-industry where animals are kept in small spaces, it could have started anywhere."

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