The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused an increase of xenophobia within societies all over the world. In particular, a discrimination towards individuals of Asian heritage.
The virus that was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has now become a worldwide pandemic.
Since being declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January 2020, the dynamic of the world has shifted. Constant updates and ongoing media coverage has raised panic levels and is causing severe anxiety within many communities around the globe.
However, panic buying is not the only reflection of societal uncertainty and hysteria. Xenophobia, the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, has also been more apparent in recent weeks. People are speaking out on social media about the way they’ve been treated and there’s been a handful of reported cases of physical harassment towards Chinese people.
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#IAMNOTAVIRUS // two days ago two teenagers screamed at me “corona virus!!!” and ran away from me, people switching the seats on public transport to avoid me, Uber drivers are covering up their faces when I enter the car. all of this is the result of media’s illustration of the whole corona virus situation, some even call it the “China virus”, making it their gateway to legitimate xenophobia. In no way am I trying to downplay the situation. As a healthy young woman I’m not fearing for myself, but for the elders. I can totally understand the safety measures to cancel concerts and events. I myself already reduced my travel to only if it’s really really necessary, avoiding crowded places and wash my hands as often as possible. to quote @evayoung_ “the virus does not discriminate on gender, sexual orientation, or race and neither should you.” the best thing one can do right now it to inform yourself, look at the right numbers, question the way the media is portraying the situation, and if u have some spare money donate it to organizations which bring medical gear to all the health workers like for example @directrelief ✨
These acts of racism are incredibly ignorant and we don’t stand for it. Stares and comments aren’t cool, some people are choosing to wear a mask and avoid physical proximity for safety reasons.
However, amidst these weird times, we love this very Brummie display of unity. Below a passenger, riding the train from New Street to Redditch, captures other passengers speaking out to defend a woman who was wearing a face mask, after another woman claimed she had COVID-19. A simple gesture can greatly impact an entire community and cause a cascade of unification across the country.
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Respecting and caring for people of different backgrounds, races and ethnicity during these times of uncertainty is paramount. Our response should reflect unity amongst us, over fear that translates into hate and division. As mankind we need to stand hand in hand in the face of this disease.