Stigmatization of Self-identified Asians During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Sweden: A Qualitative Study on Stigma, ‘Passing,’ and Potential Solutions from the Perspective of the Interviewees
With the derogatory political discourse by Donald Trump calling the Covid-19 pandemic the “China Virus,” and the “Wuhan Flu” there has been perceived increase in stigmatization, and discrimination towards Asian diaspora abroad. Shocking events have occurred in regard to Asian hate where within the US a Thai man was fatally assaulted in San Francisco (Fuller 2021); in the UK a Singaporean student was physically assaulted (Rawlinson and Quinn 2020); and in Sweden a couple were physically assaulted on the Stockholm metro to name a few (The Local 2020). Within this backdrop of discrimination towards Asians abroad, there has also been limited academic research on the stigmatization of Asians in Sweden during Covid-19 outside the work of Jansson and Ihijji (2021). This thesis aims to add to existing research by telling the stories of those who self-identify as Asian who have experienced stigmatization during Covid-19, observe how the concept of passing as (white) Swedish is relevant to the case, and to find potential solutions to end Asian stigmatization within the Swedish context from the perspective of the interviewees. Therefore, ten in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted, and then analyzed through a grounded theory approach with some elements of thematic analysis. The results found that stigmatization of self-identified Asians was found with varying degrees of severity ranging from physical violence, avoidance in public, to coughing when passing by. Passing as (white) Swedish was observed to how stigma was avoided, and lastly some solutions to end Asian stigmatization was addressing passivity, avoiding gaslighting, and (re)education.