According to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked.
Historian Joan Trauner refers to this phenomenon as “medical scapegoating,” describing public health responses in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Public health inspectors identified Chinatown residents collectively as culpable patient zero.
When H1N1 cases were confirmed in the United States in 2009, Latinx and Hispanic immigrants, especially those of Mexican heritage, were similarly scapegoated.
It is, in fact, one of many epidemics that have ultimately underscored the inequalities built into the social and institutional fabrics of the United States.