Racism with the Coronavirus

By: Shaherzad chawdree

When tragedy hits, people will always find someone to blame. After Pearl Harbor, innocent Japanese Americans were forced into camps. After 9/11, Muslims were wrongly associated with terrorism. Now, East Asian communities are going through a similar situation: they are being blamed and attacked for bringing the coronavirus to the U.S.

To a tolerant, right minded person, this sounds irrational. Why would someone link a disease to a person’s race? Sadly, you would be surprised. In the past few months, East Asians have been targeted across the world in different ways. Many Chinese restaurants had lost their customers before the virus even spread. Others have been directly attacked with violence and derogatory language.

 In New York City, one woman was assaulted for wearing a mask in a subway, and in San Fernando Valley, California, a sixteen year old boy was attacked by bullies in school and got a concussion. These are some of the many hate crimes that have been committed across the U.S..

And the President isn’t helping.

President Trump has repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus” and has denied its racist undertones. Yes, the virus is thought to have originated from China, but that doesn’t mean it should be labelled as being “Chinese.” Associating the virus with Chinese people can alienate them from society and increase discrimination. Truly, it is unnecessary to blame China for the virus, especially when it comes at the expense of members in our community.

As a Pakistani-American living in a post-9/11 world, I am pained to see people going through a similar situation as many of my family and friends have suffered through. I have been in countless uncomfortable situations in which I have had to defend my family and myself for things that we shouldn’t be blamed for. Please be mindful of what you say and do not let hatred or fear cloud your judgement. Together we can make it through this tragedy and come out as informed and tolerant citizens. 

1 —  “Chinese restaurants are losing business over coronavirus ….” 18 Feb. 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/18/australia/australia-chinese-restaurants-coronavirus-intl-hnk-scli/index.html. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

2 —  “Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their ….” 23 Mar. 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/chinese-coronavirus-racist-attacks.html. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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