Talking to kids about xenophobia

Hate incidents against people of Asian descent are up since COVID-19 was first reported. Here’s how parents can help kids make sense of that.

The stories are troubling—and sometimes frightening.

In California, a child grabbed a Singaporean woman by her arm and said, “Go back to your country. You are the reason my father died.” In New Jersey, a group of young men stalked a Korean couple pushing their one-year-old granddaughter in a stroller, saying they were all infected with coronavirus. And in the United Kingdom, an eight-year-old girl tells her best friend, who’s Chinese, that her mom won’t let her play with Chinese children anymore because they’re “virus carriers.”

These types of accounts have been on the rise ever since late 2019 outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. Between February 9 and March 7, news articles reporting hate incidents against people of Asian descent around the world increased by 50 percent, according to San Francisco State University Asian-American Studies, which partnered with the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action to launch Stop AAPI Hate to collect anti-Asian hate incidents. Since March 19, the center has received reports of nearly 2,000 incidents. And according to the Center for Public Integrity, 30 percent of all Americans and 60 percent of Asian Americans had witnessed an Asian person being blamed for COVID-19.

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