The sight of face masks can be agitating and anxiety-inducing. Under these conditions, they can trigger people to think the worst about their neighbors, and even inspire them to act on their most odious prejudices and impulses. There’s been a rise of violent anti-Asian discrimination, oftentimes targeting those wearing masks, all made worse by establishment publications like the New York Times who irresponsibly choose to use images of Asian people wearing masks in Asian-majority communities to illustrate articles about the coronavirus that include neither Asian patients nor locales. With each instance, all the most hyperbolically misanthropic associations that Americans have about face masks — an admission of disease, selfishness, stupidity, paranoia, gullibility, and greed — becomes further correlated with Asians, unfairly stigmatizing us as the culprits of a problem we didn’t create.
Connie Wang Read More