Racism: Spreading faster than coronavirus


Sanchita Teeka, Forum Editor

The coronavirus has been in the news for quite a while now, causing people to panic and take precautionary measures. Along with this, there has been a new wave of racist attacks against Asians – likely from misinformation about how coronavirus is spreading. Although people are simply scared, ignorance and racism are never okay.

Since the initial outbreak, there have been numerous racist attacks. In a Los Angeles subway, a man made crude remarks about Chinese people and their hygiene. The man claimed that Chinese people were “disgusting” and that every disease has come from China (which, by the way, is completely false). Tanny Jiraprapasuke, the woman who was attacked with these comments, isn’t even Chinese. Even if she was Chinese, it still would not have been okay. She says that because of ignorance, the entire Asian community is unjustifiably under attack. 

In early February, a woman was assaulted by a stranger at a subway station. The woman was wearing a face mask, which has been a common thing for East Asians to do in protection from pollution. Unprovoked by the woman, the man had hit her on the head and physically attacked her.

Sadly, these two incidents aren’t unique or uncommon. There are many more situations in which people have acted maliciously towards East Asians. The worst case resulted in the loss of a man’s life. A 60-year-old man died from cardiac arrest outside a restaurant in Sydney, Australia’s Chinatown. While bystanders could clearly see the man, reports say that people refused to perform CPR on the man in fears of contracting coronavirus from him. The man did not have coronavirus and died before paramedics arrived. His life might’ve been saved if not for the racist prejudices leading people to believe the man had coronavirus. It’s at this point where racism really kills.

According to reports by CNN, Chinese restaurants have also been hurting in the wake of coronavirus. Restaurants and businesses in Chinatowns across the country have been hurting financially as people are canceling reservations and refusing to dine at Chinese restaurants. A restaurant in New York’s Chinatown has no customers, even though there have been zero cases of coronavirus in New York. Clearly, the decision to steer clear from Chinese restaurants is heavily misguided. 

Coronavirus is a scary pandemic that is one we should be taking action towards. The way to do that isn’t by being racist. There are travel bans on China right now which means it’s not possible for any more people with the coronavirus or without it to leave the country or enter it. It won’t help anyone if we’re judging people’s health based on their race. At this point, fearing East Asians or any race, in general, is ignorant and unjustified in every way. In order to get through this pandemic, we need to be working together, not against each other.