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Racism and discrimination under the pandemic’s umbrella

In an ideal world, people of all ethnicities would be treated with respect and integrity that one ought to give a fellow human being. Unfortunately and in the light of the past events, it became clearer than ever that humanity is still yet far from reaching such a pure reality. Along with the COVID-19 crisis, an old disease started to resurface in a greater number than before. Racism started to get hold of whole communities from all around the globe and targeting many different ethnic groups and minorities. Such as the following cases:

Racism against Asians

It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic first originated from China, making the deadly virus firmly associated with Chinese citizens. Thus, and by some illogical prejudice, all the other Asian communities.  

The days that followed the global outbreak witnessed some of the most horrible waves of Sinophobia and xenophobia which manifested in forms of racist terms, memes, public misinformation and overall violence targeting Asian communities from all over the world. 

Many global reports proved that Asians are being harassed, spit on, yelled at, even threatened in the streets. Several acts of hostile physical violence against citizens of asain origins took place in the UK and the USA that left the victims hospitalized. 

Even in Japan, an Asian country, the hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan had been trending on Twitter. 

Adding fire to the tension is politicians using racist rhetoric. A major example is the president of the USA, Donald Trump, calling the COVID-19 “China Virus” definitely played a role in racializing violence against them. 

Racism against African people

As the pandemic outbreak finally reached the USA, the number of black families infected with the COVID-19 appeared to be higher than that of any other ethnic group. For example In Louisiana, even though the black community accounts for 33 percent of the population, the reports confirmed that 70 percent of the pandemic related deaths are of black ethnicities. Thus, building a new prejudice against black folk and unjustified hatred tied with the rapid spread of the pandemic in the US. This mindset has resulted in public harassment for black communities.

In China, black communities have been signaled out and subjected to discriminatory coronavirus testing, forced into quarantine and going as far as to evict some cases without a fair cause. Moreover, in Guangzhou, a Macdonald’s branch stopped allowing black people from entering the restaurant.

Discrimination against refugees

More than 70 million people globally have been forced to seek refuge in other countries. 84 percent of those are being hosted by low or middle-income nations. Hence, refugees are at a higher risk of being infected than other citizens.

Cases of discrimination against refugees aren’t something new. However, following the pandemic’s strain on the health and economic system, refugees are being treated badly compared to the native population. Many are not only considering refugees a burden but are also blaming them for the increase in the virus’s outbreak.

In Lebanon, restrictions targeting Syrian and Palestinian refugees amid the coronavirus pandemic have been implemented. This includes a curfew that only applies to these two communities and not any other foreign groups or Lebanon’s citizens. 

Islamophobia in India

In mid-march and Following the outbreak of the virus, a large group of Tablighi Muslims attended a gathering of Tablighi Jamaat. Soon after, several reports stated that the large increase of many positive cases from all of India can be traced back to this initial gathering. The government then used this situation as a justification to create a separate column for Tablighi Jamaat-related cases in its daily briefings. Thus creating the impression that all Muslims in the country are to blame for the actions of one group and the rapid spread of the disease in India. 

So now many Muslim groups are being shunned, hated and harassed. Violent acts are taken against any Muslim perceived to be infected. Also, a new conspiracy stating that Muslims are spreading the coronavirus on purpose has emerged on several social media platforms. The term “corona jihad” is being used to further this agenda.

In addition to Muslims being prevented from entering certain villages, Muslim vendors are also being stopped from selling in the streets. 

All in all, even when facing a lethal global pandemic, humanity is still disappointing itself. Instead of learning from our shared past and rising higher from our ancestor’s sins, humans are still in love with pointing the blame and punishing the wronged minorities accordingly. People from all around the globe are still suffering from the disease called “discrimination” long before the COVID-19 arrived. Such diseases will take even way more time to cure than the coronavirus. However, for a better tomorrow, it’s our duty to work towards this goal.

References:

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, D. (2020). Complaints of racism against Africans mar China’s image. Retrieved 20 April 2020, from https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-racism-discrimination-africa-china-326de397-a3f9-4993-9c8b-1dd303b593db.html

Aratani, L. (2020). ‘Coughing while Asian’: living in fear as racism feeds off coronavirus panic. Retrieved 20 April 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/coronavirus-us-asian-americans-racism

Anti-Asian racism during coronavirus: How the language of disease produces hate and violence. (2020). Retrieved 20 April 2020, from https://theconversation.com/anti-asian-racism-during-coronavirus-how-the-language-of-disease-produces-hate-and-violence-134496

Bouie, J. (2020). Opinion | Why Coronavirus Is Killing African-Americans More Than Others. Retrieved 20 April 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-racism-african-americans.html

Pappas, C. (2019, September 20). 12 Best Free Online Bibliography And Citation Tools (2017 Update). Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/12-best-free-online-bibliography-and-citation-tools

Azhari, T. (2020, April 2). COVID-19: Lebanon municipalities discriminate against refugees. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/covid-19-lebanon-municipalities-discriminate-refugees-200402154547215.html

10 things you should know about coronavirus and refugees. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nrc.no/news/2020/march/10-things-you-should-know-about-coronavirus-and-refugees/

Apoorvanand. (2020, April 18). How the coronavirus outbreak in India was blamed on Muslims. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/coronavirus-outbreak-india-blamed-muslims-200418143252362.html

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