How Outbreaks Like The Coronavirus Can Give A Platform To Prejudice

By Kaely Monahan, Mark Brodie, Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, February 10, 2020 - 1:18pm
Updated: Monday, February 17, 2020 - 10:24pm

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As fear of the new coronavirus continues to spread, Chinese and other Asian Americans have been feeling the impact.

The Phoenix Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival celebrated the Chinese New Year over the weekend. Meng Ansley was one of the organizers, and she said news of the coronavirus did have an effect on this year’s festivities.

“We did see some impact. We did not have as high attendance as last year — maybe about 30 to 40% less than last year," said Ansley.

She said food vendors in particular noticed a smaller crowd than usual. They saw fewer children and members of the Chinese communities attended.

Business that cater mostly to Chinese customers told her they’ve seen more of a drop in business than those that cater mostly to non-Chinese folks. That meant the festival actually had to cancel some of its activities because of a lack of participants.

Tevinh Nguyen
Katie Campbell/KJZZ
Tevinh Nguyen.

The festival was prepared, though. In addition to the traditional dances, crafts, musical and martial arts performances and food, the festival also had the tools to ward off germs in general.

“We had sanitizers and wipes and tissue paper on the tables and every booth. This is a big flu season, so, generally, everybody’s taking precautions. It’s not just because of the virus.”

Some students at Arizona State University have felt the social effects of the virus, too.

Tevinh Nguyen is the president of the Asian/Asain Pacific American Students’ Coalition and has been hearing from his peers about recent encounters with racism from other students.

He joined The Show to talk about what is happening on campus.

The Show also talked with Louis Mendoza, the director of Arizona State University’s School of Humanities, Arts and Culture. He’s written about how disease outbreaks can often give voice to racist agendas.

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