The coronavirus pandemic has direly impacted the economy and job market throughout the U.S. as unemployment rates reach an all-time high in April at 14.7 percent, according to The Balance. However, although work is picking back up, Asian job candidates are in danger of facing racial hiring discrimination due to the racist scapegoating they’re experiencing in relation to the coronavirus.
The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council reports that as of July 15, there have been more than 2,300 self-reported incidents of bias against Asian and Pacific Islander people throughout the country. In addition to this bias Asian and Pacific Islanders are facing, there have been 500 reported hate crimes against Asian people in the U.S. since the onset of the virus.
This discrimination is fueled by insinuating commentary made by President Donald Trump who refers to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”. The group Stop Hate states that reports crimes of hate against Asian people peaked the week that the president first publicly used the term.
This racialized language places fault for the virus on Asian people, who are commonly and wrongly grouped as a monolith of people solely from China. NBC News reports other instances of the president promoting the use of such language, referring to the virus as the “Kung-flu” and the “China plague”.
These social stigmas around Asian people during these tumultuous times has traversed to discrimination at work and in the job market as well. A report by UCLA demonstrates data that shows how Asian people have been disproportionately affected by lay-offs.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Asian people had an unemployment rate comparable to white people, however, by May 2020, there were stark differences between the two populations unemployment and jobless rates. According to the UCLA report, While for white people, the unemployment rate was at 12 percent and the jobless rate was at 16 percent, for Asian people, those numbers jumped to 15 percent and 21 percent.
While it is illegal to deny hiring a job candidate due to their race, a Forbes contributing employment lawyer suspects that these conscious or unconscious biases might arise. Title VII protects employees from racial discrimination, but these situations still oftentimes occur. An experienced racial discrimination employment lawyer can ensure that these rights are protected.
More than the harmful effects of peoples’ job prospects, racial discrimination can also affect Asian peoples’ mental health. Some effects of racial discrimination include post-traumatic stress, depression, and mental anguish.