Session: Social Work Researchers' Response to Anti-Asian Discrimination during the Covid-19 Pandemic (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

44 Social Work Researchers' Response to Anti-Asian Discrimination during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Thursday, January 13, 2022: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Mint, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Asian and Asian-Pacific Islander-Focused Research
Dennis Kao, Carleton University, Misa Kayama, MSW, PhD, University of Mississippi, Shinwoo Choi, Texas State University, Altaf Husain, PhD, Howard University and Meirong Liu, PhD, Howard university
The last year has witnessed a significant increase in the number of anti-Asian discrimination and assaults. From 2020 to 2021, there have been nearly 3,800 reported attacks against Asian Americans, many of which targeted women and elders (Jeung et al., 2021). These events, as well as the spa shooting in the Atlanta area represent, to many, as the grim culmination over the year in which anti-Asian violence has increased across the U.S. But this year is only part of a history that began long before 2020. The United States has a long and well-documented history of both interpersonal and structural anti-Asian discrimination. The current pandemic reinforces the long- standing negative stereotypes of this rapidly growing minority group.

Asian Americans recorded the fastest population growth rate among all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. in the last two decades (Pew Research Center, 2021). Increasingly, scholars have recognized the need for a more integrated model of the theory on discrimination, its impacts on mental health, and coping strategies developed within Asian American communities. This integration must be deeply mindful of the diversity among Asian Americans reflecting distinct socio-historical, cultural, and political contexts of each community.

In this roundtable, we will first provide an overview of the history of anti-Asian discrimination in the U.S. It will be followed by a dialogue on how theoretical frameworks, for example, minority stress theory, are applied to examine the relationships between discrimination and mental health outcomes of Asian Americans. We will then present current empirical studies on discrimination of all forms and its impact on Asian Americans. We will also highlight diversity of the Asian American communities and discuss similarities and differences in their challenges and coping strategies.

For example, the first presenter will explore the relationship between anti-Asian racism and well-being in the social media space during the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications for social work. The second presenter will discuss the social isolation and psychological distress experienced by Japanese parents and their children as they acculturate to local communities and schools in the U.S. The third presenter will examine Korean immigrants' perceptions on the increase of anti-Asian racial discrimination, its negative impact on their psychological distress, resilience, and utilization of social support. The fourth presenter will discuss the role of religion and spirituality in buffering the impact of intense anti-Islamic bigotry in the lives of Asian American adolescents who self-identify as Muslim. The fifth presenter will review the work on challenges and coping strategies of East Asian graduate students in the U.S.

Using these empirical studies, our goal is to stimulate conversations with the audience to promote the understanding of the interpersonal and structural racism, its impact on the mental health, and coping strategies of Asian American communities. We will also discuss challenges in conducting research on anti-Asian discrimination, strategies for further integration across the studies, emerging areas of scholarship, and implications for social work research, policy, and practice.

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