In recent weeks, there’s been a spike in racist violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities across the U.S., specifically targeting elders. And though initially underreported in mainstream media, the anti-Asian violence and harassment has started getting the attention it deserves.
Yet the impact of the COVID-19 virus itself on AAPI communities is getting far less attention, especially when compared with other racial and ethnic groups. That’s in part because the data is still so incomplete. Some data shows that the AAPI population has comparable COVID rates to the white population, while others show the opposite — that AAPI communities are among the hardest hit by the virus. Even within the AAPI population, some subgroups — like Filipino Americans — are being more heavily impacted than others.
“I think even pre-COVID, mental health is not necessarily a conversation that comes up,” Leezel Tanglao, multimedia journalist and project director of the Tayo Help Desk, says. “It’s often just tightly kept within the community, because again, you don’t want to let people know there might be something wrong with you. I think COVID has definitely kicked open the door to these conversations that, to be honest, needed to happen a long time ago. I think it’s only now that we’ve been able to talk more openly about what is happening in our community, how do we deal with it, and how do we talk more openly and address these issues that COVID has surfaced.”
Read more at WNYCStudios.com.