In the New York Times Op-Doc below Katherine Oung, a 11th grader in Florida, discusses the spread of anti-Chinese racism in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and suggests that racism spreads like a virus as well.
- As a first step to responding to the video, consider following our see-feel-think-wonder thinking-routine. Capture your feelings in writing before sharing your ideas out loud, with a friend, classmate, or family member.
- On your own or over Whatsapp, Google Hangout or with family, share your responses to the film. Use the following questions to guide discussion.
- How do you explain the spread of anti-Chinese racism in response to the Coronavirus?
- One of Oung’s classmates notes the spread of the virus in Italy and explains that she doesn’t hear people making anti-Italian comments about the virus. How do you explain the different responses?
- Some people have asked if there is anything wrong with calling the Coronavirus a “Chinese virus.” How might you respond to the question?
- Oung notes that other pandemics have spoked xenophobia. What do those responses suggest about the way people respond in times of crisis?
- How is racism similar to virus? How is it different? What would you recommend people do to stop the spread of anti-Chinese racism?
- If you overhear (or see them online) anti-Chinese comments in response to the Coronavirus, what is your responsibility to respond?
- What are some possible ways you might intervene in response to anti-Chinese comments directly? What are the ways you can respond indirectly?
- How is Oung’s story a form of anti-racist action? What impact can she have by telling her story to friends, teachers, and other adults?
- What impact might she be able to have by sharing her story in the New York Times?
- What risks does she face by telling her story publicly? Do you think it was worth it? How would you evaluate the impact of her decision to go public?
For context on anti-Chinese racism and COVID-19 see this article from People Magazine.