With deaths and rates of infection due to COVID-19 rose, politicians and media platforms were quick to dub the “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or COVID-19 / coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” due to the first outbreak documented in Wuhan, China. By racializing the global pandemic, a resurgence of the anti-Asian rhetoric and violence in the United States occurred and continues to occur from the last few months to the present. The racially-based micro-aggressions that many Asian Americans have felt, ranging from the “fox-eye trend”, cultural appropriation, and the Bamboo ceiling, were coupled with overt displays and actions of abuse, discrimination, and violence. Moreover, people from various ethnic groups of Asian origin living in the United States were homogenized as “Chinese” in the eyes of many Americans.
Asian/American people and communities in the United States quickly found themselves at a turning point, where the microaggressions turned into macro-aggressions, where snide remarks and racist rants turned into physical altercations and prejudice due to physical markers of race and cultural markers of ethnicity.
During stay-at-home orders, state lockdowns, and mandatory quarantine amidst the anti-Asian sentiments, the artists of Not Your Model Minority, like many others, attempted to process the quickly-changing world and cope with the “new reality”. The following works depict the artists’ response to the present moment, whether it be racialized grief, making sense of daily life under quarantine, working to elucidate the systems that backed racialization of disease, anti-Asian rhetoric, and the lasting impacts of other instances of Asian/American oppression and violence.