University of Mannheim: Pandemic increased anti-Asian discrimination

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased discrimination against people of Asian descent in Germany. This is borne out by the results of the CILS4COVID study by sociologists from the Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES) at the University of Mannheim. The research team surveyed more than 3,500 young adults across Germany from April 2020 to January 2021.

“Even before the pandemic, people with a migration background from Turkey, Asia, Africa and the Middle East felt more often disadvantaged than other groups because of their origin. When asked whether anything has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, people with an Asian migration background particularly often answered in the affirmative, “explains Dr. Jörg Dollmann from the MZES study team. Around half of the around 80 people with an Asian migration background stated in the survey that they have felt discriminated against more often since the beginning of the pandemic than before.

People of Asian origin are usually less likely to be discriminated against

Together with his colleague Prof. Dr. Irena Kogan has now published the results of the survey in an international journal for Jörg Dollmann. According to the research team, the results coincide with preliminary findings from Germany, but also from other European countries. Overall, “COVID-19 – associated discrimination (CAD)”, that is, discrimination that seems to be related to COVID-19, has not yet been researched to a great extent. The scientists see a possible cause for more hostility and exclusion that, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, Asia or China as the region of origin of the virus was very much in the public focus. “Compared to other groups in Germany, people of Asian origin are normally not affected by discrimination to an above-average extent. In this respect too, Covid-19 seems to have impaired the coexistence of people in Germany, “explains Irena Kogan. Apparently, people supposedly from Asia were publicly classified as potential spreaders of the virus or even as responsible for the pandemic. Because especially in areas badly affected by the pandemic, people of Asian descent reported increased discrimination. “It seems obvious that a worrying development in the number of contagions also had an impact on the extent of everyday discrimination. The risk of infection and the pandemic stress have tended to increase the discriminatory behavior, ”said Kogan. explains Irena Kogan. Apparently, people supposedly from Asia were publicly classified as potential spreaders of the virus or even as responsible for the pandemic. Because especially in areas badly affected by the pandemic, people of Asian descent reported increased discrimination. “It seems obvious that a worrying development in the number of contagions also had an impact on the extent of everyday discrimination. The risk of infection and the pandemic stress have tended to increase the discriminatory behavior, ”said Kogan. explains Irena Kogan. Apparently, people supposedly from Asia were publicly classified as potential spreaders of the virus or even as responsible for the pandemic. Because especially in areas badly affected by the pandemic, people of Asian descent reported increased discrimination. “It seems obvious that a worrying development in the number of contagions also had an impact on the extent of everyday discrimination. The risk of infection and the pandemic stress have tended to increase the discriminatory behavior, ”said Kogan. Because especially in areas badly affected by the pandemic, people of Asian descent reported increased discrimination. “It seems obvious that a worrying development in the number of contagions also had an impact on the extent of everyday discrimination. The risk of infection and the pandemic stress have tended to increase the discriminatory behavior, ”said Kogan. Because especially in areas badly affected by the pandemic, people of Asian descent reported increased discrimination. “It seems obvious that a worrying development in the number of contagions also had an impact on the extent of everyday discrimination. The risk of infection and the pandemic stress have tended to increase the discriminatory behavior, ”said Kogan.

Other groups are also affected – but only in areas with high incidences

The people of Asian origin are not entirely alone with their experiences. Because in areas badly affected by the pandemic, according to the study, people with roots on the American continent or in the former Soviet Union also reported more discrimination. According to the research team, the fact that these groups of all people experienced more discrimination, while others did not, or hardly, could be attributed to the development of the pandemic in these regions and the reporting on it. For example, the infection process in the USA, South America or Russia was particularly dynamic in some cases during the survey phase. “This may have increased the discrimination against these people in Germany – especially if the number of cases in their local area also went up at the same time”,

In this context, the team warns against over-interpreting the study: “Our results are robust by scientific standards. However, the number of cases of people with ancestry from Asia, America or the former Soviet Union is relatively low with less than 200 each. Our survey was also aimed exclusively at young adults. In order to learn more about discrimination in connection with Covid-19, we would therefore welcome even broader follow-up studies. “

CILS4COVID: Additional study of the long-term survey CILS4EU

For the long-term study “Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries” (CILS4EU), a MZES team has been questioning thousands of young people from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds on such diverse topics as professional careers, religion and friendships since 2010. CILS4EU is funded by the European funding network NORFACE and the German Research Foundation (DFG). Since the same people are always interviewed, it is possible to analyze changes in their life situation and their attitudes over time. In 2020, the young adults – now between 24 and 26 years old – were surveyed for the eighth time, as envisaged in the study design. In addition, they were also asked about the Corona issue on the occasion.

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