The Coronavirus is Not an Excuse to Be Racist

Born again muslim Hamza Ali Abbasi took to twitter to let everyone know why it’s not okay to label the Coronavirus as an azaab on China:

And while we don’t tend to agree with Hamza Ali Abbasi a whole lot, in this regard the former actor is spot on.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak and it’s rapid spread to various countries all over the World, people have really gone off their rockers in regards to discrimination against our East Asian neighbours. Incidences of racism against people of Chinese, Korean, Japanese descent have increased tenfold and it’s really not okay. While Wuhan, China is the epicentre of the deadly virus, this does not mean people can treat every person of Asian descent as ‘achoot’,  or blame an entire race for a disease, especially since the said race is not caucasian.

In Britain, a caucasian woman started randomly screaming at a couple of east asian teenagers, asking them to get out of the UK and to take their disease with them. People have been reported getting off moving buses when they spot East Asian people among the crowd. The use of the racial slur ‘chink’ has been appearing more and more online. While wide spread disease does cause panic in general, is it really fair to isolate an entire race?

The coronavirus has at least proved one thing for sure; the underlying racism against people of asian descent hasn’t gone anywhere, now there’s just an excuse to express it out loud. Only some outbreaks are racialized, says Roger Keil, a professor in the environmental studies department at York University, who studied the impact of SARS on the city of Toronto. Neither H1N1, which emerged in North America, nor mad cow disease, which primarily affected the United Kingdom, generated a racial or ethnic backlash of this magnitude. Yet, diseases that originate in China, like SARS and the new coronavirus, or in Africa — remember the fears about Ebola? — consistently correlate with xenophobia.

“With this new virus, something was triggered that is always latently there, under the surface, which is this fear of the other and the idea that bad things come from elsewhere,”

One thing to take away from this article and from Professor Roger Keil are these words:

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“There’s two things to remember every morning when you wake up; wash your hands and don’t be racist.”



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