This study aims to examine the underlying causes of the hate against Asian Americans in relation to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Using discourse analysis, the author analyzes interview data collected before the outbreak of the pandemic in the Bay Area of the United States. Anti-Asian sentiment did not start after the beginning of the outbreak. Rather, it has existed in American society, and people in the Asian community have faced prejudice and hate incidents before the outbreak as well. This study examines the discourse in two ways: discourse as practices and discourse as language in use. Through the analysis of interview data, this study aims to 1) shed light on Asian Americans’ experiences and reveal the racism Asians are subjected to; 2) examine how the discourse affects the identity and situation of Asians under a certain dominance; 3) analyze how discourse reproduces systemic violence against Asian Americans. The analysis shows that the same discourse which has positioned Asians as the “other” is reproduced both socially and politically and that is a reason for violence against Asian Americans. However, it is further revealed that Asian people construct their identity through these discourses, by either internalizing or opposing them.
Keywords: Discourse analysis; COVID-19; racism; hate crime; Asian Americans
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