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To Be Asian With a Face Mask During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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People wear surgical masks in fear of the coronavirus in Flushing, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens on February 3, 2020. (Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images)

When Santa Clara University’s provost sent an email reminding people to be aware of their racial biases around the coronavirus, Sherry Wang, a professor in the school’s Department of Counseling Psychology, responded to add some more context.

“I think that this is also an opportunity to remind each other about the historical legacy of racializing infectious diseases against People of Color,” Wang wrote to her campus community.

As a professor who is also Asian American, Wang says she both is and isn’t protected from the sinophobic fears around the coronavirus, and she’s making calculations of her own over whether or not to wear her face mask in public.

Guest: Sherry Wang, assistant professor of counseling psychology at Santa Clara University

For more up-to-date info about the coronavirus, visit KQED and NPR‘s websites, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


We also mention an Instagram post from UC Berkeley where xenophobia is described as a “normal” fear. Read more here for context.

And hey, we’re having our first meetup of the year this Friday, Feb. 7! We’ll be at the Mare Island Ferry Taproom in Vallejo from 5-7 pm. If you’re coming from San Francisco, you can take the ferry and it’ll drop you off right there.

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