Local Asian Americans speak out on discrimination stemming from pandemic

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- While discrimination against Asian Americans isn’t new, it has increased noticeably since the start of the pandemic. 

Former President Trump dubbed coronavirus the “China virus” last year and some Asian Americans say they feel blamed for COVID-19 in the United States. There have been multiple hate crimes against Asian Americans since the pandemic began, raising issues. 

Rob Sparkman, owner of Simply Ramen in Bowling Green, says while he hasn’t experienced anything in Bowling Green, it’s traveling to larger cities that can be a problem. 

“Typical when you go up in a larger city some of my friends have had people tell them ‘go back to your country’ and ‘you don’t belong here’, typical stereotype,” said Sparkman. 

Peijiang Li, a student on the Western Kentucky University campus is also the president of the WKU Students and Scholars association. He said he’s experienced harassment while walking to class. 

“One day I was just walking around, walking down the street and somebody just yelled at me from their cars,” said Li. 

Sparkman encourages people to take a step back and realize that Asian Americans are here to help the country. 

“When you look at Asian people, Asian community, look at them as one big family. Because they come here to better themselves, to make a better living,” said Sparkman.