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Coronavirus: How Asian Americans Are Dealing With Spread Of Xenophobia

Protective face masks are being used to ward off the coronavirus. (Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images)
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For Asians in Los Angeles, xenophobia sparked by the spread of a virus originating in China has acted as a harsh reminder to even the native-born that they come off as foreign to those fearful they are disease-carriers just because of how they look.

Cindy Lu, a University of Southern California graduate student, has stopped blowing her nose in public to avoid glares.

Ryland Lu, no relation, has gotten mad about racist tropes he's seen in media depictions of Chinese people and their culture as unsanitary and bizarre.

As for Ren Fernandez-Kim, she is now partial to rage-tweeting. It started after a jarring episode at a Target in Pasadena where an older couple stared her down after she coughed into her elbow. Fernandez-Kim recalls awkwardly smiling and waving as the pair walked away, frowning.

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"Then I got angry," said Fernandez-Kim, who vented online just hours later.