Wake: Lack of Empathy

Special Issue: Pandemic Asia. 2020 July.
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 18 | Issue 14 | Number 17 | Article ID 5429 | Jul 11, 2020
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus. 

Lack of Empathy Takes the United States Deeper into theSecond Cold War

Naoko Wake

This essay examines a history of US reports on pandemics, which has made it difficult for Americans to feel empathy for affected Asians and Asian Pacific Island Desi Americas (APIDAs). Key examples from the times of HIV/AIDS and SARS show how Asians and APIDAs remained misunderstood in America because of the black-and-white binary that obscures the wide spectrum of others. The resultant lack of empathy is foundational to the current, Cold War-like mentality of fear. The escalation of US-China tension around the pandemic today, then, may be seen as taking both nations deeper into a Second Cold War. By letting ourselves not feel for each other, we miss an opportunity to collaborate globally for virus eradication.

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