Separate Realities: Being Wuhanese and American Throughout COVID-19
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Navigating the coronavirus pandemic as a Chinese-American college student and journalist in the U.S. with roots in Wuhan was full of surprises. In particular, the first months of the pandemic showed me the importance of being able to empathize and connect with experiences outside of our own realities. The delayed response to coronavirus in the US was exacerbated by an inability to listen to the voices of other nations experiencing the crisis prior to its landfall in the US. By othering Chinese-Americans, we lost precious time in responding to the pandemic and exposed a deep-seated indifference to diverse voices in our society. In my own experiences as an American university student reporting on the realities of my family’s hometown in Wuhan, I observed first hand the inability of my fellow Americans to recognize the Chinese experience with coronavirus as indicative of our own future, and the refusal to learn from Asian strategies against the spread of coronavirus. In an interconnected world that requires collaborative solutions, COVID-19 has emphasized the dangers of U.S. cultural isolationism, systemic racism, hubris and the uncompassionate responses that are the result.