Coronavirus plus Racism

By Hugo Ríus on February 3, 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus originating in China has sickened thousands of people, but it has also generated another type of victim: Asians who are being discriminated against. In France, people of Asian origin have demonstrated on social networks to repudiate expressions of discrimination against them.

Some media encouraged this action by making reprehensible “yellow alert” or “yellow danger” headlines, accompanied by a picture of a Chinese woman wearing a protective mask, and because of protests generated by this, ended up offering apologies.

Due to the blame being pointed at Asian people, Lou Chengwang made a call on Twitter: I’m Chinese, but I’m not a virus! I know everyone is afraid of the virus, but please don’t be prejudiced by it,” and Hana Cheng, a Parisian of Vietnamese and Cambodian origin, said she was being subjected to humiliating comments on a bus.”

And there have also been reports of anti-Asian racism in the UK and other countries, including Canada, where the Toronto executive director of the Chinese National Council of Canada called attention to “a loss of income, people of Asian descent being fired from their of jobs, people losing their livelihoods, their homes, facing stigma in school, in the workplace”.

He said there is also “fear within the community about the disease and fear of the impact that discrimination will have on our daily lives; the impact it will have on industries, workers and small businesses and the community at large.”

This is latent racism, another virus of a different nature that adds to the coronavirus, which is also in need of therapy.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau