The Coronavirus: Living in a society of xenophobia


Mishal Nizar

The Coronavirus has caused a tsumani of xenophobia against Asians.

On a Los Angeles subway, Tanny Jiraprapasuke, a Thai American, was verbally harassed by a man ranting to her about the coronavirus. 

Business in Houston’s Chinatown has declined immensely due to the scare of the virus and false information being spread around regarding it. 

A New York State Assembly staffer in Brooklyn sent out a chain e-mail urging those in New York to stray away from Chinese businesses due to the rise in the Coronavirus. 

A country that prides itself on freedom, as well as many virtues, have started to exclude an entire group of people due to a virus that that group does not have control over. 

Xenophobia is the dislike or prejudice against people from another country, and the Coronavirus has given people many unethical reasons to input this way of thinking into their lives. It is not a valid reason to exclude a group of people. However, in a society that has access to the internet and an abundance of different opinions on the situation, it only makes sense that a great deal of people will believe what someone else says on social media and beyond. 

Social media has played a huge role in the xenophobia that has been occurring due to the virus. While it is a place to spread awareness about the issue, it is also a platform for those who have been xenophobic. There have been comments towards specific Asian influencers about their race and the Coronavirus. Things that have nothing to do with their content and is more so a way to hurt them rather uplift their spirits in a time of panic due to the epidemic. Chinese restaurants and Asian grocery stores are also starting to lose business because of this and the spread of word on social media. 

Stories about people going to school and being called racial slurs or being completely avoided by their classmates are also common. Children and teenagers can be mean, so it is to be expected that an event such as this would occur, but it is not okay, and there should be some sort of action taken towards those who do so. This way of thinking only encourages and fuels those who have the guts to scream racial slurs across the hallway or make it a priority to avoid Asians altogether. 

The Coronavirus is not a valid reason to be openly racist and xenophobic. The Coronavirus does not give you permission to verbally, physically, or mentally harm a specific targeted group of people just because of their race. The majority of these people have nothing to do with the virus considering there are about 4.5 billion Asians in the world right now, of which not all live in China. The fear that you may be experiencing due to the pandemic is not and never will be an acceptable reason to be xenophobic. Being careful around Asians is not okay. They are human beings just like the rest of us, and it is important that we spread awareness about this topic. It is unfair and unjust to look away from a situation because it does not involve us, but the bigger the pandemic grows, the larger the xenophobia and racism will get.