Michelle Meow, well known radio and TV host on LGBTQ+ and other issues, joins me on Everyday Conversation on Race, to talks racism against Asians during Covid-19. Michelle shares her background as the daughter of Laotian immigrants in Stockton, California and her experiences with racism. She offers her perspective on the increase of physical and verbal attacks against Asians, as well as how to stop them.
Key points from Michelle Meow:
- In order to understand the recent racist attacks against Asian people we have to talk about race and racism in general as a historical and systemic issua around mostly southeast Asians. The median income for families is $35,000. When her father died and her mother was left with five kids to raise, they moved into the projects and she became friends with more Black and Latino people.e
- We have to talk about race and racism on a systemic level and how it impacts all of us
- Everyone has bias and those biases are more acute during crises. Michelle is always checking her own biases.
She grew up very poor in Stockton, California
Views on the Covid-19 pandemic and racism
- This pandemic is scary and people need to stay healthy
- People are looking for other people to blame. The president has empowered people who are in extreme fear to blame Asian people for Coved- 19. As a result, elderly Asian people have gotten beaten up, yelled at, spit on and stabbed.
- Asian people are scared about the virus and also scared about being targeted by racists and people who have bought into what Trump has been saying in the media. It’s very painful for her to know that now Asian people have to be scared of getting beaten up by people who are also scared.
- If people did their homework, they would understand more about Covid-19, how it all began, the fact that the US was warned about Covid-19 and did not prepare. Instead of taking responsibility many people in the US government who should have been preparing us are blaming China and Chinese people.
- Scientists and doctors have talked about it for a long time and begged the world to pay attention
- With all the messages and racist beliefs being spouted from the White House and allies, there are concerns amongst Asians about bias and getting the right care if they do get sick.
- Even in other Asian countries there is discrimination and stereotyping of Chinese people. There have been incidents in Thailand of restaurants refusing to serve Chinese people.
- There are also incidents of Chinese restaurants in China refusing to serve Black people
What we need to do
- We should focus on how to keep humans healthy
- Understand racism and how racism is being used as a distraction to not look at government responsibility
- Covid-19 is a global pandemic and will take a global solution
- We are the wealthiest country with the most resources and are the most impacted. Most of us never thought this could happen in the US. Even that was racist, thinking it cou
ld happen in China or countries of people of color but not here.
- We have to pay attention to who is dying and that it is mostly Black and Brown people who are losing their lives. They are the essential workers in the frontlines of the public.
- Racism creates a barrier from people coming up with solutions.
- There are more good people who don’t want to give power to racists and haters.
- There are African-American and Asian leaders who have been reaching out to work together and stop racist attacks against any group.
What we can do as individuals
- We can speak up and intervene if we see or hear racism against Asians
- Offer to help shop for older Asian people who are afraid to get what they need
- Educate ourselves about historical and structural racism. Educate other people and speak out against hate and fear of differences.
ABOUT MICHELLE MEOW, Radio & TV talk show host
In her own words:
I’ve always dreamed big. As a little peculiar kid who grew up in Stockton, CA, I had an imagination that was too big for my little brain. I fantasized about a lot of things but as young as I can remember, I fantasized about being loved and accepted. The first time I tried to make friends with kids around my neighborhood, I was told to go “back to my country.” Born here in California, I didn’t know what they meant until the fights in the neighborhood became violent. The hatred you face from childhood to adulthood is dangerous and damaging. I hope one day we can change this for all of us. Why can’t we learn to love and accept one another for our differences and our similarities? That is the journey or quest I am on and the reason behind the “Michelle Meow Show.”