By: Isabel Salazar
The sudden outbreak of the Coronavirus has impacted many lives in China and countries such as the US, Italy, and Canada, but it is important to not become ignorant and create more racist stereotypes towards Asian people.
Some people may argue that fearing the Coronavirus itself is reasonable, and it is because the world would be in a catastrophic state if the virus spread to every single continent and infected millions or billions of people. That has not happened.
According to the New York Times, Vice President Mike Pence said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is lifting all restrictions on testing for coronavirus and would be releasing new guidelines to fast-track testing for people who fear they have the virus, even if they are displaying mild symptoms.
People in the US and in our local communities actually believe that we should be fearing people of Asian descent. At this point, people are not afraid of the virus itself but the people who they make contact with. It is absolutely disappointing and disgusting that complete racism is so publicly displayed. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, declared, “Do not assume that if someone is of Asian descent, they have coronavirus”.
An example of the Asian community fearing racism amid the outbreak is when UC Berkeley’s health services center listed xenophobia toward Asian people as a “normal reaction” in an informational post on Instagram focused on “managing fears and anxiety” about the pneumonia-like sickness. The campus received reasonable and enormous criticism over the post.
This “fear” of the coronavirus does not excuse xenophobia. Discrimination draws on this idea “that is very, very old indeed — that Chinese people as a race, no matter where they are, are disease carriers,” pronounced Erika Lee, professor of history and Asian American studies at the University of Minnesota. Making stereotypes that create fear and offense is nothing new for the Western world, especially America.
When the U.S. decided to break the quarantine on Wuhan and evacuate its diplomatic personnel, Mark Tseng-Putterman, a graduate student in American studies at Brown University, stated that “you’re not going to have people wondering if the white people on the subway or in the store are diplomats who could be spreading the infection.” Monique Faustino, a Kennedy sophomore, who is of Asian descent states that people need to open up their minds. Faustino declares that she cannot believe in 2020 that there are people who truly believe a certain disease or outbreak comes from the race.
“Do they not realize illnesses can go to anyone? People blame the Chinese because of the type of animals they eat. That doesn’t give anyone the right to harm a person of Asian culture,” pronounced Faustino.
Making stereotypes and ignorant remarks towards the Asian community because of the Coronavirus outbreak is simply racist. No excuse for racism or xenophobia is valid. Feel free to fear the virus itself all you want, but leave hateful and appalling comments towards people out of it.