Opinion: The growth of xenophobia


COVID-19 is a virus that seems to have originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Although many health officials are still determining the exact source of the coronavirus, many believe that it is linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, according to TIME.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. According to the CDC, there are more than one million cases in over 150 countries. Among the one million, no more than 100,000 have been fatal.

As the coronavirus spreads, the fear of this virus has grown exponentially in the United States. Many states have issued stay-at-home orders, hospitals throughout the world face supply shortages, and xenophobia, particularly towards Asians, has increased.

This fear of Asians has added to the issue of racism which has been a problem afflicting the world over time.

In the 21st century, many individuals still believe that a person is defined by their race. Racists argue that because people are a certain race that they fill a stereotype of inferiority or of danger.

Xenophobic racists often find excuses to validate their hatred, and because of the coronavirus, they have found another excuse to justify their discriminatory actions toward Asians.

Many business people are refusing to serve many Asian-looking customers and believe that it’s OK to perform hate crimes. A current example of racism directed at Asians comes from Christina Farr, CNBC health and tech reporter. She wrote about Eric Han who told CNBC about his experience having an Uber driver ask if he was from China after Han coughed went entering the car.

The driver commented that the cough meant he had the coronavirus, and proceeded to open the window.

People have pushed away from the fact that racism is a huge problem by saying that they aren’t a part of it or that it doesn’t represent them as a community, but this anecdotal evidence says otherwise.

Since COVID-19 probably originated in China, there is a false fear that all Asians are virus carriers.

This fear has led to racial discrimination, attacks and violence towards the Asian community. Since the start of the outbreak, many racial crime reports have been filed and multiple videos of Asians being attacked have been posted on the Internet, according to PBS News Hour.

In February, a video of a 68-year-old Asian man being assaulted was posted online. While walking down the street, he was struck in the head with a stick. The attackers mocked him with derogatory words and racial slurs and stole his belongings.

In March, the man who committed the crime was arrested, according to NBC News.

In another situation, a Singaporean student was shouted at and attacked by an angry mob consisting of three men and one woman in London. He was severely beaten and left in the street, according to Singapore publication the Straits Times.

Another racial hate crime happened in March, when an Asian man and his family were attacked by a man with a knife while shopping at Sam’s Club in West Texas, according to CBS7. The father and his sons were stabbed, and deep cuts were left on their faces. Stitches were required to close their large wounds.

Humanity is better than this. We are meant to help those in need, not shame or despise others. In difficult times like these, discrimination and acts of violence will not solve any problems—they will only cause more problems.

We are taught to treat others how we would like to be treated, but perhaps it is time to treat others how they would like to be treated.

No one should ever have to experience racism. Why should anyone be put through any form of abuse? Racism doesn’t fix anything.

The world is already broken. What we need to learn to do is to stand together and unite under one common interest: making the world a better place for everyone.

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