Racism and the Virus

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Credit: Courtesy of Daniel Foster, Creative Commons

Sarah Aguilar, Staff Writer

It is in times of crisis when humanity decides to demonstrate its cruel inhumanity.

The COVID-19 is a virus everyone and his or her brother has become more than familiar with, an uncontrollable virus that has overpowered the news and other topics of conversation. What started as a virus in a city in China has now become a worldwide fear. People flock to their supermarkets and stock up on necessities, buy hand sanitizer on Amazon for $200 (sometimes) without a second thought, and suspiciously eye people who so much as cough or sneeze on the subway next to them. Countries and governments have turned on one other, their citizens sick and dying without an answer as to why.

Despite the deaths, the infections, and the fear, COVID-19 does not validate racism.

It doesn’t.

Asian Americans are facing cruel discrimination, unjustifiable hostility, hate crimes, and xenophobic messages as panic floods in. Asian-Americans teenagers are beaten and harassed, their peers screaming ‘Corona’ in their faces, accusing them of the disease for being Asian. Chinese shops have to tape signs announcing that their business is COVID-19 free and that there should be no fear of setting foot in said establishments for fear of the virus.

Ignorance and fear lead to people and businesses losing money, losing the ability to provide for themselves, and losing their freedoms.

The pure hatred people of Asian descent face at the hands of others is inexcusable. There are no justifiable reasons for an entire group of people having to endure the discrimination that sprouted from the pandemic.

There is nothing, for example, to justify white high school teenagers dressing in traditional Chinese garments and panda onesies, taping the side of their eyes, and holding a poster that reads CORONA. There is nothing to excuse the xenophobic slurs that have been thrown at Asian citizens.

One constant throughout history is ignorance and prejudice inflicting pain on an entire group of people. Unfortunately, thus far, the pandemic has been no different.