New Delhi: At a time when the world requires concerted efforts of every single person to battle the ghastly threat of coronavirus, it seems the inevitable ugliness of racism has reared its ugly head, in this direction as well. The frenzy and the fear that the coronavirus has caused has sparked more xenophobia and racism, well unsurprisingly so. Also Read - Meiyang Chang Faces Racism, Called 'Corona' in Mumbai - His Instagram Post Shows He Believes in Hope
If you thought racist slurs and abuses were plain outrageous, people have resorted to a more atrocious way of displaying their hatred, through spit attacks. As per various news agencies, multiple Asians have reported being coughed at or spit on and being told to leave stores, cab drivers refusing to pick them up, verbal and online harassment and physical assault in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. Also Read - Lost Actor Daniel Dae Kim Gets COVID-19, Urges All to Stop Anti-Asian Racism Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Racism in India
Back home too, Indians have increasingly made citizens from Northeast, targets of racial discrimination. Ever since COVID-19 broke out of China’s Wuhan and spread across the world, our fellow brothers and sisters from the northeastern states of India have been bearing the brunt of it and constantly being attacked, and worse, spat on.
Last week, a 26-year-old MPhil Scholar from the University of Delhi, was allegedly spat on by a man on his scooty, who called her “Coronavirus”. The man allegedly spat all over her face, hair and T-shirt, the pictures which went viral and prompted disgust and outrage.
In Pune, a young woman, also from Manipur, was teased by men at a mall, who told her “Coronavirus aa gaya!”
Angelica Aribam, a former general secretary of NSUI and gender activist from Manipur, was viciously trolled on Twitter and called a ‘chinki’, one of the most frequently used racist terms to target them. Former Indian idol winner Meiyan Chang too experienced a racist attack when two men on a bike screamed ‘corona’ and rode away laughing.
On March 20, nine Naga youths were forced to undergo 24-hours quarantine in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, despite showing no symptoms, just because of their physical features.
As per a report, at least 22 cases of racial discrimination or hate crimes against such people were recorded between February 7 and March 25, showing the magnitude of this virus called ‘racism’. Despite such attacks, our friends from the Northeast haven’t lost hope and have calmly appealed for sensitivity and understanding from the masses.
As one social media user aptly puts it, “It’s a double crisis for us, first battle with the virus and then with the societal virus of racism!”
Here are a few other instances of such vile attacks from across the world:
On March 30, a woman hurled racist abuses and spat at two sisters while accusing them of ‘bringing coronavirus to Australia’. The woman was captured on camera screaming: ‘I’ve got a knife in my bag… you little Asian dog.’ On March 12, the owner of a Chinese takeaway owner was spat at in the face by a teenage boy in UK who demanded to know if he “had coronavirus”. The police confirmed the incident as a racially aggravated common assault.
In yet another attack in New York, a 26-year-old Asian male was spat on and yelled at: “You f*****g Chinese, spreading the coronavirus. You people got the virus.”
Well, these unfortunate stories are just the tip of the iceberg, because there’s a lot more! In just one week, more than 650 racist acts against Asian-Americans were reported in a new online reporting forum designed to help combat this new bigotry spreading alongside coronavirus.
No cure for Racism
This racial profiling of people with Mongoloid features is heartbreaking, to say the least and it sets a dangerous precedent for the times to come. For we will hopefully find a cure for coronavirus, but no vaccine can treat the hate within. Sadly, unlike all other viruses, racism is a virus that has no cure.
As evolved individuals, we need to check our own biases, while ensuring that our actions are rooted in science and knowledge and not racism. So, let’s introspect and stop using the coronavirus as an excuse to be racist.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of India.com. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article)