Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination based on nationality or race are ongoing problems in many of the countries of the world. Still, since the outbreak of the coronavirus, people of Asian descent have been experiencing increased hostility, disapproval, and discrimination in many countries all over the world.
This social stigma is mainly due to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei (a province in Central China), being the first place where the coronavirus disease has been identified. This, in turn, has made people angry and scared towards Chinese, avoiding and harassing them, as well as other people of Asian descent.
Because the coronavirus pandemic was first reported in China, there has been a significant increase in prejudice, violence, and racism against Chinese, people of East Asian, and Southeast Asian descent. Asians worldwide have shared many examples and stories related to the xenophobic behavior induced by fear and panic. Tanny Jiraprapasuke, a Thai American, born and raised in Los Angeles, was verbally attacked on a subway train.
The man who attacked her did so because of the coronavirus, blaming her nationality and Chinese people for spreading the coronavirus disease, and calling them filthy. The whole rant lasted for about 10 minutes, and Jiraprapasuke recorded it and went public with recording, displaying America's misinformed, misguided fears about the new global virus.
It is not only America, but many countries have also exhibited similar behavior since the virus started spreading. Australia's newspapers published racist headlines like "China kids stay home," Belgians have been calling Asian people "coronavirus" and spitting on them, and France has been warning about the "Yellow Alert."
While not all of the deeds are physical, or explicit, they are nonetheless violent and dangerous and bring no good to anyone. Many victims are sharing their negative experiences and are using the French hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus, which in English stands for "I am not a virus."
Recently, people who have traveled and even healthcare professionals have been targets of social stigma, and that is why we need to share facts and accurate information about the coronavirus without increasing additional fear and panic.
We Need To Stop Sharing Disinformation
We need to be grateful to every healthcare worker who is putting their lives on the line to eliminate the virus and make us feel more secure. Show the support they need and the gratitude they deserve. Same with the people who have returned home and are worried about their health or their families well being.
Show them support, do not judge and discriminate. We need to understand that people of Asian descent, who do not live in high-risk areas or have not been in contact with infected people, are no more or less dangerous than the rest of the world. Just because the virus was first discovered in China, it does not mean that China needs to take full responsibility for the outbreak.
There are many cases all over the world where people are behaving irresponsibly and violating quarantine laws. The responsibility to stop the virus is on all of us, but what comes before that is the responsibility to be human, to stop hurting and discriminating against each other just because we are different.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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