Van Duong (Interview)

Link to Interview


Interviewers: Shanya Prasad, Yuleny Flores, Dat Lam, Vincent Quach, Henry Nguyen

Interviewee: Van Duong

Location: California State University, Hayward

Date: May 2020

Collective Statment:

 Ms. Van Duong is one woman out of the potential 420,000+ women who are currently out of employment as a result of the current pandemic crisis COVID-19. According to the article, Women Are Losing More Jobs In Coronavirus Shutdowns, by Horsley Scott, approximately about 700,000 jobs were affected during the COVID -19 pandemic first wave of job layoffs. 60% of the 700,000 jobs that were laid off were women. During this current pandemic, research shows that economically women are most disadvantaged, due to mandatory state guidelines and requirements of shelter in place and termination of specific services which forces to close all salons, makeup stores, hotels, bars, restaurants, daycare, etc.. ”Because women make up the bulk of the workforce in those industries” Before COVID-19 Ms. Van Duong worked in a Vietnamese restaurant as a waitress, which is currently closed as a result of COVID-19. Like many of us, Ms. Van Doung is a victim of COVID-19 who heavily relies on government support and stimulus checks to make ends meet for her and her family.  


As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we humans interact with one another and the way that we perceive each other. During the interview our subject was asked how the pandemic affected her racially. The reason we asked this question was because we have seen how many individuals, typically of Asian descent, are being harassed, targeted, and blamed from being carriers of the said virus. As Melanie Coates shared in her article COVID-19 and the Rise of Racism, that an Asian nurse was attacked verbally and physically randomly on the street while on her way home after her work shift. When asked, our subject answered that while she was working at her regular job, waitressing, a customer refused her services because of her race. The COVID-19 pandemic also brought a new stigma towards Asians and our subject was a victim of stigmatization then. As said in Coates article, the government and the media have the power to end of xenophobia and stigmatization that’s resulted in harassment towards Asians, and through them we can end the unfair prejudice.


Dat and his mother, Van Doung, has been struggling through this epidemic. Due to her job, being a waitress, she must serve others. While doing so, she is being refused for her race and occupation. Emily Lui in her article explains how it causes physical and mental pain to Asians. As there were the biggest blame. As many other jobs, many others have been laid off. Xenophobia, Discrimination, Stigmatization, and using Asians as scapegoats. Asian races proved through many articles like Emily’s and Corley’s, shows how the anger of many projected towards the Asian race. This also results in an economic fall. Due to jobs falling out and laying people off. This impact is more on Asian businesses. Chauncey’s article, “Coronavirus anxiety is devastating Chinese businesses in New York City” states that the stigma behind COVID-19 caused an 80% drop in customers in most businesses. Asian business owners even had to reduce payroll to prevent layoffs. The results are never a positive one if the blame game continues.


The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected public health and lifestyle but also the world economy. Many businesses and restaurants have closed to prevent the spread of infection but that leaves many people struggling financially. Van Duong stated that the stimulus check was not enough to support her family as she needs to pay off car insurance, phone bills, rentals, and utilities. It helps but not long term. Even though she does not work currently, she is working on getting her accounting certification as she believes the return of the economy will be a slow process.


The pandemic caused by COVID-19 had a great impact to our daily life as well as the society. Many industries and business also included as many people lost their current jobs because of this. My mother, Van Duong, a victim shared her experience and thought about this situation and how it affected her life as a head of household. She shared many things which included financial impact, lifestyle, mental impact, and especially racism. According to ABC 7 News, there was a racism happening to an Asian homeless guys as an African American chased and stole all his recycle stuff. Due to his age, he could not defense himself as he stood their to cry over it while other filmed him. For this, I were really worry about her because she told me her story for been denied services as a waitress. It could be worse if her customer attacked her suddenly which she got no self-defense

Key Words:

  1. Racial Discrimination: Prejudice toward an individual based on one’s skin color, race, or ethnic origin/descent.
  2. Harassment: hostility, hate crimes, intimidation, bullying, physical & emotional abuse. 
  3. Xenophobia: Portraying prejudice against people from other countries.
  4. Stigmatization: to mark with a stigma or brand someone in a negative aspect. 
  5. Price gouging: when the prices of goods increase to a level much higher than it is to be considered reasonable or fair 
  6. Scapegoat: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency
  7. Self-Isolation: Staying inside and isolating from the outside to prevent spreading of viruses/diseases 
  8. Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time. 
  9. Disproportionately: to an extent that is too large or too small in comparison with something else. 
  10. Liberation: the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release. 


Annotated Bibliographies:

Gurchiek Kathy, Coronavirus and Racism: Take Precautions to Fight Discrimination, March 11, 2020. The article emphasizes how the “Fear of the coronavirus is manifesting as racism against people who are of Chinese or Asian descent after the virus was first identified in China in December”. More than 2 million Asian descents and Pacific islanders who are considered to be essential workers. They are encountering xenophobic and racial discrimination inside and outside of the workplace. COVID-19 has created a rift amongst humanity, the community, and the world. In a time of much-needed solidarity, people are harassing and isolating the Asian community, “Individuals around the world are being shunned, shamed, and verbally or physically assaulted as fear over the coronavirus spreads”.


Ying Liu-Brian Finch, Discrimination Against Asian, Black Americans More Likely Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, March 23, 2020. Since the identification of the COVID-19 outbreak, racism and discrimination towards Asian descents have tremendously increased, after the discovery of COVID-19 that it originated and spread from China. This article is interested in knowing if the current acts of racism and discrimination were associated with the Coronavirus pandemic “were restricted to Asian Americans or extended to other racial and ethnic groups”. The study was done through a series of surveys, where the researchers “asked survey respondents whether they felt threatened or harassed, or perceived others as being afraid of them due to people thinking they might have the coronavirus. We also asked if they were treated with less courtesy and respect than others, or if they received poorer service at restaurants and stores due to the same reason”. A total of 6,238 respondents from all racial and ethnic groups participated in the study. The study concluded that both Asian and African Americans “were more likely to experience at least one form of discrimination and unfair treatment due to other people thinking they might have the coronavirus, compared to other racial and ethnic groups”.


Horsley Scott, Women Are Losing More Jobs In CoronaVirus Shutdown, April 8, 2020. According to the Labor Department, more than 700,000 jobs were affected and eliminated during the COVID -19 pandemic first wave of job layoffs. 60% of the 700,000 jobs that were laid off were women. Currently, about 420,000+ women are out of employment. During this current pandemic, women are said to be at the most disadvantage, due to the closing of the salons, makeup stores, hotels, bars, restaurants, daycare, etc.. ”Because women make up the bulk of the workforce in those industries”. Fortunately, most of these women can qualify for unemployment which helps them get by and make ends meet, but “I’ve been relying on that the last couple of weeks now,” Perla said. “It’s been enough to get by for me but it’s not been great”. The number of layoffs and unemployment continues to increase for both men and women. People are worried about permanent layoffs and what the future ahead of us holds after this pandemic ends. “For both women and men, Stevenson said, what the future looks like after the pandemic will depend a lot on whether they have a job to go back to.”                                                                                                                           

                Corley, J. (2020, April 14). Boston Doctor Becomes Victim Of COVID-19 Racism. Here Is How We Should Respond. This article explains a doctor, Lucy Li, is being racially judged and discriminated against due to the COVID-19 outbreak. People outside of her job threatening her on the streets. Dr. Li being called out for the “Chinese virus” which was never her fault in the first place. People just automatically assumed that she is at fault due to the outbreak in Wuhan. This source is an auto bibliography that is useful in a way where we see people struggling through racism. Even at a time like this where people should work together, someone or something always must be the scapegoat for their hatred. Most sources are related to this because they all show the same behaviors that others have.


         McKee, M., Stuckler, D. (2020, April 09). If the world fails to protect the economy, COVID-19 will damage health not just now but also in the future. This article explains how the COVID-19 pandemic is a big issue against our economy. This led to having economical and political impact upon the world economy. Many big companies when through extreme measures so they wouldn’t be as impacted as most other companies would be. This source is very nice as they also source their references. They also inform us on ways we can fix our economy by saving the lives of others and opening ourselves back into the world so that we can begin to earn money again. This source compared to the others, is different in a way where we talk about how the worlds money is working, ways we can adapt, and how we can fix this issue. COVID-19 has obviously impacted the way we are able to make money to the point where we need to send out money (Stimulus Bill) just so we can continue to last at least another month or two.   


Liu, Emily. “Covid-19 Has Inflamed Racism against Asian-Americans. Here’s How to Fight Back.CNN, Cable News Network. This article, by Emily Liu, explains how Asians are being forced to cover up their Asian traits and looks, just to avoid conflict outside of their homes. Asians have been forced to hide because people are blaming Asians for this virus. People are starting to physically attack elderly in the subways of New York. They also explain how jokes and the way we word the COVID-19. We should be careful and mindful about the people that we surround ourselves with. This source is from CNN. Personally, I’ve known them and understand that most of their news are politically biased, but after reading many other articles. I can see their vision and how they set themselves for this article.


Philips, Kristine. “’They look at me and think I’m some kind of virus’: What it’s like to be Asian during the coronavirus pandemic”. USA Today.

This article explains how many Asian Americans in the US have encountered racial harassment and discrimination for being from Asian decent because they believe to have the Corona virus. People needed a scapegoat for things they do not understand and started to blame Asians. Jeung, the San Francisco State professor, stated that most Asians are fearful to report to police because they were from authoritarian regimes and distrust the government and some came to the US illegally. Asians are also being harassed by young kids who have been exposed by misinformation on social media.


Alcorn, Chauncey. “Coronavirus anxiety is devastating Chinese businesses in New York City”. CNN Business.

This article explains how Asian American businesses are being affected not just by the shelter in place but also due to the stigma of the virus being Chinese (80% drop in customers). Business owners have to reduce payroll to reduce layoffs. Chinese restaurants’ sales declines are causing economic ripple effects in other businesses like suppliers.


Dunklin, Reese and Pritchard, Justin. “Coronavirus Price Gouging Complaints Surge Across U.S.” Time.

This article explains how people are taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak to raise prices on products. One store advertised hand sanitizer at $60 a bottle. Another was accused of hawking it at $1 a squirt. Chain stores offered $26 thermometers and face masks at the “everyday low price” of $39.95 a pair, while a convenience store sold toilet paper at $10 a roll next to a sign reading. This also caused shortage of supplies as well as counterfeits


Kazuki Shimizu Published: February 11, 2020


2019-nCoV, Fake News, and Racism is an article about Chinese people in Japan and how Chinese people have been treated differently during the outbreak of the COVID-19. Apparently there was news about Chinese people who were feeling symptoms of the virus and they “slipped” their way into Japan and infected Japanese people. That alone led to the outbreak and increase of xenophobia towards Chinese passengers and patients from Japanese communities. Japanese were using words like dirty and insensitive to describe Chinese people. They even using hashtags such as “#ChineseDon’tComeToJapan” which became a trending topic on Twitter.  


Melanie Coates Published: April 6, 2020

DOI: 10.1136/bmj.m1384

 COVID-19 and the Rise of Racism is an article about the increasing xenophobic incidents. Many people have reported experiencing many hate crimes. There are many people trying to find a cure for the virus but not many people trying to find a cure for racism. There was a story about a Singaporean who was physically attacked in London. Another Vietnamese man was uninvited to an event where he could potentially lower the consumption rate of the event. Another story mentions how a nurse was physically and verbally assaulted while on her way to her work shift. The article then finishes off by saying how the media and the government are at hand to fix these issues and not isolate the race affected highly.


Karl Vachuska Published: March 28, 2020


 In the article Initial Effects Of The Coronavirus Pandemic On Racial Prejudice In The United States: Evidence From Google Trends, Vachuska starts off by warning the reader that the article is triggering because it includes discriminatory epithets. He goes on to state that he has statistically seen an increase in prejudice towards Chinese and Mexican people. He talks about how the pandemic has provoked fear of foreigners, triggered xenophobia, and overall national insecurity. It might not be all Americans, but overall, the country has grown to be afraid of immigrants (Chinese and Mexicans), which in turn has caused individuals to act aggressively. He hypothesizes that because a high population of the immigrant community is made up of Hispanics, the COVID19 pandemic could include xenophobia against Mexicans as well.