Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) Statement regarding Coronavirus Xenophobia and Racism

During these difficult times, it is understandable that uncertainty and concern leads to fear and anxiety. However, when those experiences are combined with misinformation and stereotyping, it leads to intolerance and bias that breeds scapegoating and discrimination. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Although the exact origins of the virus are still being researched, the zoonotic transfer (a disease that is spread from animals to humans) is believed to have originated in an open air market in Wuhan, China. Unfortunately, this has been accompanied by a rise in harassment, verbal and physical aggression, threats, and hate speech against Chinese and Asian people in the U.S. Notably, some have taken to referring to COVID-19 using terminology such as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus.” Any words or phrases such as these that incorrectly define the virus to a particular race, ethnic group, or country not only spreads misinformation around the global and non-discriminatory impact of the disease, but it also contributes to a history of discrimination and bias that negatively impacts and puts at risk the mental, physiological, emotional, and social health of these stigmatized groups. 

The Maryland Psychological Association shares and supports sentiments made by the American Psychological Association, and other psychological organizations (particularly the New York State Psychological Association), in response to this rise of xenophobia and racism. We stand with these communities and present the resources below as ways to gain more information about understanding and responding to this type of xenophobia and racism. For further information please reference the links below:

 

The New York State Psychological Association

https://www.nyspa.org/news/493366/NYSPAs-Joint-Statement-on-Coronavirus-and-Xenophobia.htm

 

The American Psychological Association

https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2020/02/coronavirus-threat

https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/coronavirus-anxiety

https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19-bias

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/03/destigmatizing-coronavirus

 

Additional Resource

Video – Disarming Racism from a Psychological Perspective  

(by Dr. Talee Vang of the Minnesota Psychological Association)