Harvard Students Launch Racist Incidents Map Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

CAMBRIDGE, MA - MARCH 10:  A person walks through Harvard University's campus with a box in Cambridge, MA on March 10, 2020. All Harvard courses will move to remote instruction beginning March 23 as a result of a growing global coronavirus outbreak, University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced in an email Tuesday morning. The University will also ask students not to return from spring break. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Harvard Students Launch Racist Incidents Map Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Xenophobia has been on the rise since the pandemic.

Published April 14th

Written by BET Staff

The coronavirus has brought out the best in some people who are willing to help their communities, but sadly, some people are showing their worst parts as well. 

Bigotry toward Asians has been on the rise, especially with President Trump insisting on calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” according to CNN.

And now two Harvard graduate students are fighting back with technology.

Boram Lee and Ja Young Choi have created a Google map to track incidents of racism toward Asians. Lee said he was inspired to create the map after his own experience, telling WSBTV, “Someone swore at me at Harvard Square, and someone followed me to make a point to say that China is not good, at Union Square.”

Lee continued, “It just struck me a lot, because I have been living here for the past six years and it has never happened before ... I thought these incidents were not grave enough to report to the police, but then I just didn’t want to wait for something more grave to happen that’s equivalent to a hate crime.”

Choi added, "It just made me really wary of just going outside grocery shopping. This situation is already a stressful situation for everybody. It's a global health crisis. And on top of this, there's another layer of anxiety. And I just wanted to address this in some kind of an active way."

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On April 10, CNN reported that researchers at the Network Contagion Research Institute reported, “Coronavirus pandemic has coincided with a surge in Sinophobic, or anti-Chinese, sentiments.”

Alex Goldenberg, an analyst at the institute, told CNN, "We are seeing instances where this Asian conspiracy is seeping into the mainstream, and an outgrowth of that could very well be violence.” 

The submissions on the map from the Harvard students are mostly from Asians in Boston but there are reports all over the country. As of now, the map is a support system but Choi and Lee reportedly have plans to share the data with police and Harvard. 

They may also launch a hotline.

Click here to see the map. 

For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

(Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)


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