Chinese targeted during coronavirus outbreak


Nasyve Beech. 2021

Coronavirus- Covid-19, is a deadly virus that has caused multiple deaths in China and has been spreading slowly throughout the world. The outbreak first started in a Chinese marketplace where live and dead animals are sold within the same area, heightening the risk of a potential expansion of disease.Considering the fact that the virus is largely unknown and there is no vaccine, people are frightened of its spread. An unintended effect of this deadly virus has been a rise in xenophobia (fear of foreigners)- in this case against Asian people.

According to CNN, there have been a number of racially charged attacks against Chinese people worldwide including a recent incident in an LA subway during which a man verbally berated an Asian man saying, “Every disease ever has come from China, homie.” The man continued his tirade saying that the Chinese are responsible for every illness and using very profane language. In another incident in NYC a man called a Chinese woman “diseased,” and then began to physically abuse her in the subway station.

Superstition and fear of others combined with misinformation has never ended well historically. People find it too easy to fall prey to anxiety and often let their dismay strip them of their ethics. This is reminiscent of the Japanese internment camps in America during WWII.  After the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Americans started to believe that all Japanese were traitors and a threat to national security even though most were American citizens who believed in America’s ideals and freedom. Nonetheless, they were locked up in internment camps for the remainder of the war.

Fear of the “other” is a learned evolutionary response that helped early humans to survive.  Without sophisticated language and communication humans learned to trust only those who looked like them but that was many thousands of years ago and now we know better.  We know that the human race shares the same genetic material regardless of skin color or ethnicity.  It’s also illogical to believe that a race of people can be responsible for the random evolution of a virus.  For us to classify all Chinese people as carriers of Covid-19 ignores what we know and is a type of ethical laziness in which we just look for a scapegoat.

Although it is human nature to seek to place blame when bad things happen, in this case, blame doesn’t matter as much as saving the lives of those being affected on a global scale.   We must learn from our past, and our generation must be the one to end senseless xenophobia.