13 reasons why racism towards Asians causes anxiety and depression

Pervasive racism, poor treatment, and exclusion towards Asians in SF causes depression, anxiety, and worse.

San Francisco is known to be diverse, open-minded, and “progressive.” It’s one of the urban areas of the US with the highest Asian populations. However, racism is rampant against Asians in SF — especially people of Chinese descent. Some of it is overt — being called “chink,” for example. But most of it is microaggressions, which is insidious, constant, pervasive, passive-aggressive. It’s hard to prove, and often complicated, so it keeps going on, unpunished. Asians suffer from high rates of depression, anxiety, poor health (mental and physical), emotional pain, a poor quality of life, and high rates of suicide. It’s due to the all-out, constant discrimination and a poor treatment against them.

Here’s a summary:

  1. Younger and older Asian women have the highest rates of suicide of all ethnic groups in the US.
  2. Asians are by far the most bullied group in the US — over half of Asian teens are bullied.

3. Whites are most likely to have a negative reaction to an Asian face than any other ethnicity they’re being shown.

4. A resume with an Asian name is least likely to get callbacks — even if her resume is better than one with a white name.

5. In grad school mentorship inquiry emails, Chinese female names are least likely to get a response. White male names are most likely to get a response.

6. Despite San Francisco’s large population of Chinese since the 19th century — it took until the 2000s for the first Asian American to become mayor of SF. And he wasn’t even elected his first term — he was appointed. In contrast, Willie Brown was easily elected to two terms despite SF’s much smaller number of blacks. Gavin Newsom is SF’s most popular and beloved mayor, with extremely high approval ratings — in no small part because he is white, WASP-y, and handsome.

7. Asians are routinely ignored in stores, fail to be greeted or thanked, fail to be helped, are given a harder time if issues come up, and get poor customer service. The same employees give excellent customer service to other customers, especially white ones. This is true in all pubic places throughout SF, and throughout the world.

8. When an Asian person is under investigation for a death, injury, accident, etc. — the SFPD, hospital, government agency, or other entity is likely to rule against the Asian person — calling it a suicide instead of a homicide, for example. If it were a white person, the agencies doing the investigation would try harder, have a lot more empathy, and work towards finding the killer, the drunk driver, etc. This is true in the Elisa Lam case, as well as many, many cases involving Asians.

9. Asians tend to be ignored in meet-and-greet-events, meetups, parties, networking events, etc. People want to befriend and get to know whites — but they dismiss Asians the most, out of all ethnicities. An Asian needs to be better-dressed, better-looking, cooler, and more confident in order to be liked and treated on the same level as a white person who has less of all those aspects. This is true in ALL SETTINGS and CONTEXTS throughout the world — even in SF.

10. Even people whose jobs are supposed to be helping and empathic are more condescending, hurtful, and abusive to Asians. Of all ethnicities, Asians get the most judgmental, rude, and damaging treatment from therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, counselors, etc. They don’t even fulfill their roles as helpers if they don’t like their Asian patient. Therapist/psychiatrist abuse is a real and hidden problem in the US — especially toward some Asian patients.

11. The difference between SF and the world in the poor perception and treatment of Asians is that SF is widely thought to be an Asian haven — when it’s just the opposite. The inherent stigma and looking-down of Asians is so deeply rooted — it’s a knee-jerk reaction. It insinuates itself in all aspects of an Asian person’s life, big or small. All people discriminate against Asians — and it’s mostly subconscious in SF. That makes it much worse, much more pervasive, hard to prove, and therefore keeps going on, making the lives of Asians very painful and even excruciating.

12. The concept of multiple stigmas: Things are much worse for Asians if they’re also considered unattractive, have social anxiety, are awkward, or have other disabilities. The various stigmas are additive — they build upon each other to create a person who is widely considered inferior, and therefore mistreated and excluded everywhere. A white or black person of equivalent unattractiveness would not be treated anywhere as badly as an Asian, for example.

13. Of all groups, Asians, especially Chinese, are by far the most stigmatized and suffer from unfair, completely untrue stereotypes. It’s widely believed that blacks, Hispanics, and Middle Eastern people face the most racism in the US — but it’s actually Asians, especially Chinese, or the ones that look Chinese. Racism against Asians tends to be less overt and more about poor treatment, exclusion, rudeness, condescending treatment — and therefore harder to prove and understand, and more pervasive, and goes on unpunished. This emotional abuse Asians suffer from causes an extremely poor and painful quality of life and causes them to suffer from poor emotional and physical health. This is why Asians have some of the highest rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicide in America.

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