I read with interest Manjula P. Kulkarni’s article in India-West, “What’s at stake for AAPI Americans this election.” I found the article to be very informative, as well as topical, as chilling, infuriating, and disturbing as it is to read about hate crimes.

The “Stop AAPI Hate” reporting center was launched in March 2020 to collect and track incidents of anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander hate violence, adult harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying in California and throughout the country. The reporting center will enable individuals who have been directly impacted by or witnessed firsthand this issue to share their stories at www.a3pcon.org/stopaapihate. It is horrifying to learn that the reporting center has received 2,700 incident reports from 47 states and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, notes, “Statements by elected officials, such as President Trump labeling COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” fuel xenophobia. In our research on news articles, we see that following inflammatory comments, there’s an increase of racist incidents against Asian Americans. Clearly, with such political framing, Asians of different ethnicities are being racially profiled as a foreign threat.”

“COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial one. Calling it a ‘Chinese virus’ only encourages hate crimes and incidents against Asian Americans at a time when communities should be working together to get through this crisis,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).

I also read with interest your coverage of Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s first debate held on Sept. 29, 2020. I am unsurprised to learn that most Indian Americans were impressed by the performance of their own candidate. Debates, in general, don’t usually change people’s minds. Instead, they reinforce their views of the candidate they support.

Also, the first of the three presidential debates is usually the most consequential one. Only a few fence-sitters make their decisions about which candidate they want to support after watching the debates. However, considering that the poll ratings of Biden went up and those of Trump went down right after the debate, leads me to believe that there were more fence-sitters than one would normally expect.

For me personally, as an Indian American, the most disappointing part of the debate was when Trump was asked to condemn the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, he told the group to “stand back and stand by,” a message its members reportedly celebrated. Once again, Trump showed his racist bias, which has contributed to an escalation of hate crimes against Asian Americans.

Trump has failed at handling the coronavirus pandemic, stabilizing the economy that got destabilized in the wake of the pandemic, securing the relief/stimulus package to help businesses, states, local governments, and small businesses, and coming up with health care system to replace Obamacare that he wants to dismantle. He has been the most incompetent, corrupt, and divisive president, so far. “Trump Virus” is more dangerous than coronavirus!

Pradeep Srivastava

Albany, California

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