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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2021 Abstracts

Discrimination Against Asian Americans During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presenters: Olivia Mauchley, College of Social and Behavioral Science, Sociology
Authors: Olivia Mauchley, Claire Dinehart, Dr. Akiko Kamimura
Faculty Advisor: Akiko Kamimura, College of Social and Behavioral Science, Sociology
Institution: University of Utah

The purpose of this research is to examine instances of discrimination against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. For several weeks at the beginning of 2020, President Trump downplayed the presence of COVID-19 in the United States, calling it the “Chinese Virus”. The deliberateness of this word choice to describe a virus as “foreign” dismisses the impact of the expression on Asian Americans. Since his remarks against China have been made, racist acts and harassment have surged throughout American society. It is important to collect statements and documentation from individuals who have faced discrimination in order to understand the social effects and outcomes it may have. Data were collected through the dual usage of focus groups, held online via Zoom, and online-administered questionnaires. Participants for this study are undergraduate students at the University of Utah who self-identify as Asian Americans. Prospective participants were contacted through email and were primarily recruited from Asian American student and community groups such as the University of Utah’s Asian American Student Association. Additionally, the social media analyzer Netlytic was used to collect personal statements posted online by Asian Americans regarding discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. The preliminary results of this study indicate that acts of discrimination and feelings of prejudice have increased among Asian American students. Participants also expressed feelings of fear for their safety and anxiety surrounding the pandemic situation.