Covid-19 racism: Ways to support ESEA people


The past year has exacerbated racism towards East and South East Asian people. Many of our audience members, volunteers, staff team and supporters are impacted by this  issue. This post is written for our non-ESEA readers, particularly our white readers  – holding a place a place of privilege – who have a connection to China and Chinese culture. Please consider how to use your privilege and show support for ESEA people.

Learn more about this. We have decided not to list examples of violence and hate speech to demonstrate the severity of this issue. Over-sharing such images and speech against ESEA people in the public sphere can desensitise and normalise representations of violence against people of a certain race. If you are reading about this for the first time, please search #StopAsianHate, covid-19 racism or ESEA racism. Just because you have not heard about it, does not mean that it does not exist.

Be active in your anti-racism. There are many ways to show solidarity and to be more involved in supporting ESEA people at this time. Silence is often perceived as agreement. Please consider what you own silence means and how it may be perceived.

For those of you already “doing the work” to explore your own privilege and to develop a deeper understanding of racism in the UK, please include ESEA people in this work – yes, there’s substantial work to be done on all forms of prejudice. Caring about ESEA racism does not mean caring less about BLM or anti-South Asian racism.

If you can, donate to groups and organisations that are supporting ESEA people through these painful experiences. If you have influence over the way funding in your organisation is used to support diversity and inclusion, consider how you could direct this towards ESEA causes. Many of the groups active in this area are working towards securing formal constitutions – donate your skills and experience if this is something you have done before. Suggestions include London Chinese Community Centre, Campaign Against Racism Group, BESEAN.

Check in on your ESEA friends, colleagues and contacts. Lately there have been horrifying reports of physical attacks on ESEA people and we hear more examples of people who feel less comfortable to go outside. Hate speech online towards ESEA people has also increased dramatically at a time when we are all connected and online much more due to the ways that we are working and socialising through lockdown. Take the time to ask friends how they are and make the time to listen (rather than judge or defend).

Anyone can report a hate crime or hate incident. You can learn more about how to do that here: Hate Crime Information Sheet.

China Exchange will be holding a workshop focused on building allyship this summer. To register your interest, email