🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
Sophie: As racial tensions have risen in recent years, it seems like 2020 was the tipping point for many marginalized groups. In the wake of the pandemic, marches, hashtags, and protests of all kinds...
sparked as racial injustices continued to surface on the Internet. A new hashtag had popped up among trending hashtags and later gained more popularity in 2021. The #StopAsianHate tag was born out of an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Some speculate that the rhetoric of our previous president, Donald Trump, put an unwanted target on these citizens’ backs. He addressed the virus as the “Kung-flu” and explicitly blamed China for creating the virus. This divisiveness was no help for an already disenfranchised group and divided country.
Jerald: As the Covid-19 virus continues to thrive and infect millions worldwide, there is still discussion concerning who to blame for the cause of the pandemic. While there is an unclear prediction of where this contagion originated from, the World Health Organization (WHO) has undergone thorough investigation to discover the roots of this inception. According to Smirti Mallapaty from the Nature website page, “Following a month-long fact-finding mission in China, a World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic concluded that the virus probably originated in bats and passed to people through an intermediate animal. But fundamental questions remain about when, where, and how SARS-CoV-2 first infected people” (Mallapaty). While some evidence hints that the Covid-19 virus had stemmed from China, there is still an indefinite solution to this question. As claims and affirmations such as these continue to resurface in worldwide media, there are certainly some pointed fingers being thrown around at opposing nations. Lily Kuo from The Guardian web magazine provides some insight on comments concerning the constant accusations currently taking place, “The World Health Organization has advised against terms that link the virus to China or the city of Wuhan, where it was first detected, in order to avoid discrimination or stigmatisation. The comment comes as Beijing and Washington appeared to be locked in a game of shifting blame. Last week, outspoken official Zhao Lijian from China’s ministry of foreign affairs accused the US military of bringing the virus to Wuhan” (Kuo). I acknowledge that the World Health Organization has announced that they lack concrete evidence that the Coronavirus had originated in Wuhan, China. However, apart from this organization itself, many government officials have been engaging in constant indictment between one another. In response to Zhao Lijian’s claim of the US military bringing the Covid-19 virus to China, Former President Donald Trump has been receiving an extent of backlash and criticism for deeming the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus”, worst, even referring to it as the “Kung-Flu”. While such remarks seem somehow excusable due to the sudden conspiracy of the US Army transporting the virus to China, these comments certainly presented unwanted stress to many concerned citizens. Many believed that these comments were overtly racist and highly offensive to the Asian American community.
While continuing to shift blame may seem to alleviate pressure off the shoulders of nations worldwide, finding the origins of this virus is vastly different than partaking in constant banter of who started the virus. Not only do I find this extraordinarily counterproductive but acutely concerning that such diplomatic officials are immature even to make such controversial remarks. Even if there were somehow a unanimous worldwide consensus on which country had incited the Covid-19 pandemic, the virus would still remain in existence, ubiquitously continuing to infect and cause ill-will to countries internationally. However, through practical cooperation and support from other nations, the Covid-19 virus could be globally examined, and eventually, an infallible cure could be more obtainable. Being able to take accountability for the safety of others and realizing that mistakes were made is a common trait that I believe some leaders lack in our world today. Following these comments made by former President Trump, some people are inclined to believe that others had been influenced by these unsettling remarks made during his talk. Sadly, despite the ongoing pandemic, many Americans began to take out unnecessary hate upon the Asian American community due to speculation of China curating the Covid-19 virus.
With the conspiracy of Covid-19 originating from China, an immense amount of hate was directly aimed towards the Asian American community; stemming from these absurd narratives, many Asian Americans have been racially targeted and indirectly harmed for an uncontrollable purpose. As stated by Hayley Smith from the Los Angeles Times website, “A California-based advocacy organization for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Stop AAPI Hate, said it received nearly 3,800 reports of attacks nationwide between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021. About 68% were verbal harassment, 21% were shunning (deliberate avoidance), and 11% were physical assaults” (Smith). As these racial hate crimes continue to gradually increase in this year of 2021, I believe that this trend has been directly correlated with the prevalence of Covid-19 in the United States. As seen in the recent Atlanta shooting, many are forced to believe that racial notions genuinely fueled this incident. With more information concerning the latter Atlanta incident from The New York Times website article, “The man who police say went on a rampage at three spas in the Atlanta area, killing eight people, was charged on Wednesday with eight counts of murder in connection with the attacks. The brazen shootings, which took the lives of six women of Asian descent, stirred considerable outrage and fear in the Asian-American community (...) ‘Whatever the motivation was for this guy, we know that the majority of the victims were Asian,’ Ms. Bottoms said. ‘We also know that this is an issue that is happening across the country. It is unacceptable, it is hateful, and it has to stop.’” (NYTimes). The recent Atlanta shooting has not only engulfed the media with immense concern and fear but somehow, in addition, began a trend of mass shootings across the United States. In total, as stated by CNN, there has been a sum of at least 50 reported shootings since the Atlanta shooting on March 16 (CNN). Not only do these incidents invoke fear in the minds of many families nationwide, but there are also several concerns of gun listings and limited control in America.
As said before, I genuinely believe that this continuing trend of racial hate directed towards the Asian American community was caused due to the conspiracy of Covid-19 originating from China. Personally, when viewing the news and media when covering recent Asian hate crimes, I am not only thoroughly disappointed that people continue to judge and discriminate against others due to race, gender, or religion, but also concerned for the safety of my family, friends, and fellow citizens. Being half-Asian and half-African American in today’s time is truly an obstacle due to the recent racial sways directed to both of my ethnic groups. Although I lack the strong resemblance of either of my ethnicities, I am in constant fear for the safety of my parents, family, and close friends. Judging from the recent Asian hate crimes, perpetrators usually target those of Asian American resemblance. As much as I am affected by this current crisis, my focal concern reaches out to others surrounding me. I am not only thankful to the many organizations that continue to help and protect all people regardless of race, gender, or religion, but truly surprised that race continues to divide our country and invoke fear in the lives of many innocent people. Despite the ongoing pandemic tethered to the burden of racial injustice seen in our nation today, I continue to remain hopeful for the future of our world in hopes that we can all grow to look past such minuscule characteristics.
Sophie: As we move forward in our country, it is detrimental that every citizen stands up for each other. A problem shouldn’t have to personally affect you to be an important issue you care about. We want to ensure that when marginalized groups face disparities and injustices, we provide those who are disenfranchised space and a platform to be at the forefront of their issue. It’s easy to play the blame game or minimize the situations of different communities, especially if we don’t see the direct causes of the problems every day. However, it’s imperative that when a group of people face a community-specific issue (especially race-related), we need to pass the microphone to the oppressed and help amplify their concerns instead of speaking over them.If we can listen to each other's needs and provide support, we can create effective change.