Having all this free time as a result of self-isolating, I’ve found myself surfing the web and doing things that I generally wouldn’t do. And no, before any of you perverts get the wrong idea, I don’t mean anything lewd or weird. One of the things I’m referring to, is looking up old friends. Since I don’t have Facebook or any other form of mainstream media, this is a bit of challenge and required the people in question to actually have searchable aspects available through Google and such. I found one such friend a short time ago…
Since I’m not a big fan of being sued, I’ll keep the identity of this person to myself, especially since we haven’t spoken in over ten years. But I found a Twitter feed that I was quite certain was a friend I used to work with in Ottawa about twelve years ago. I was optimistic and looking at possibly reconnecting with him, until I read a recent post on Twitter he sent which read, “Thanks China, for fucking our planet!” I was taken aback and quietly hit the back button and got the hell out of there!
Ignorance and lack of education on specific topics can often lead to such assessments as this Twitter feed. And there seems to be a movement taking place, where people of any Asian descent are starting to be discriminated, judged and blamed for the current pandemic. Like the virus itself, it’s already spread enough that you can Google “China” and “blame” in the same search string and find TONS of links related to this very thing.
According to an online article posted by The Guardian, “[…] Chinese Americans, and other Asians, are increasingly living in fear as the Coronavirus spreads across the country amid racial prejudice that the outbreak is somehow the fault of China.” It doesn’t help that the American President is promoting this racism by referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus”, a term that he’s repeated and confirmed on more than one occasion since all of this started.
This trend is spreading, with incidents of negative reactions to Asians who happen to be wearing face masks or cough in public, racial harassment and even cases of assault against Chinese and Asian people in general. Here’s the article if you want to check it out: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/coronavirus-us-asian-americans-racism
The big problem is that people have been focusing their anger against the people instead of the problem. And believe me, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Between the time it took for accurate and complete information to be shared with the World Health Organization, people who are STILL hanging out in groups in public and refuse to self-isolate or the ones who continued to travel, either through ignorance or from a sense of needing to get home, society’s inability to take this pandemic seriously and choosing to blame others instead, there are plenty of contributing factors behind the continued spread of the virus.
Racism has always been a problem. And despite how far we’ve come as a society, racism isn’t dead yet. There’s still a lot of work to do. And we can’t let the current issue cause us to slide backwards. I saw an image of an Asian woman holding a placard that read, “My ethnicity is not a virus.” This is an important message, because people need to stop believing that the Asian people are at fault. One does not lead to the other. As stated in the article I linked above, “We have to acknowledge everyone’s humanity at this time because the virus doesn’t know race or colour.” ☯