Businesses and individuals across the world are seeing a rise in targeted attacks from individuals who are infuriated over the spread of the COVID-19. Tanzia Haq investigates.
Rumors that coronavius is a ploy used by China to further their world domination have been spread by authority figures across the globe, fueling the xenophobic prejudice directed towards the East-Asian population.
From the United States, to Australia and even Sweden, stories of hatred and abuse are pouring in. Much like the Chinese government’s attacks on their own communities for being Muslim, citizens across Western countries are turning on communities for being of Chinese descent.
Both offline and on social media, anti-Asian racism has spiked all over the world. On Twitter, racist terms related to Chinese appearances and the COVID-19 diseases saw more than 10,000 mentions in March 2020 alone.
While spokespersons for the social media platform have pledged to remove any racially charged content towards Asians across the world, this doesn’t do much to prevent the use of this language in the first place.
In Australia, the Asian Australian Alliance group reportedly received an average of 12 complaints a day since 2 April 2020. In Queensland, police reports showed 22 incidents of attacks against Asian-Australians in April 2020. On 30 March, three Chinese-American family members were stabbed in Texas by a person suspecting they were spreading the infection. Other incidents involve businesses in Chinatowns across the United States broken into and vandalized with racist hate speech.
Coalitions and support groups for Asian communities and youths have formed to provide some advocacy for victims of these racially charged attacks. Karma Samtani, campaign manager for Quaranteens Against Xenophobia, stated in an op-ed piece that: “…Civilians should not be held accountable for the actions of their governments” and “…The actions of a few should not reflect the intentions of an entire group of people.”
This form of response to the fears caused by the coronavirus shows how easy it is for deep-rooted racism to surface at the smallest provocation. Wherever the virus originated from, it is hardly the fault of people who have lived their whole lives in these countries and identify themselves as Americans, Australians, Indians or British. Instead of tackling an idea as wrong, we choose to be hostile to innocent people who we can best associate with that idea. This diminishes their identities and diminishes humanity.
China is already recovering and other countries will soon follow. The system that has targeted Asians now, have been targeting minorities long before the pandemic. State leaders continue to spread hatred of communities innocent of crimes. As the world restarts again, it needs to be rebuilt to protect those vulnerable to state agenda, rather than those propagating that agenda for their profit.
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