The spread of coronavirus has resulted in panic across the world — with people debating as to the severity of the situation: is this a deadly virus that we should all be afraid of? Or is it just similar to the common flu? It is without doubt that the medical effects of the COVID-19 has taken the front stage in issues across the world (and rightfully so). However, when we have been focusing solely on the health effects of the coronavirus, we fail to see the social effects that has surfaced from the spread of this virus— where racism has found yet another excuse to rear its ugly head.
I’ve always believed that racism was grounded in stupidity— that people who actually believed one’s ‘racial group’ or ‘nationality’ defines an individual must surely be so ignorant that they deserve my pity. Surely, an ethnic Chinese cannot be ‘British’ or a white-skinned person cannot be Chinese? What makes us ‘Chinese’, ‘Indian’, ‘Malay’ or some other race? Most of us have ancestors of different races. What should we make of a Singaporean who has an English father and a Chinese mother? Is she Chinese or English? What then, should we make of an individual with bloodlines tracing from many different places? How should we classify an individual who has ancestors hailing from Africa, China, England and Italy? Racists argue that people are a certain way because of their race. But how can this argument hold when we realise that race is such a malleable concept? I have believed for long that racism is grounded in stupidity, but I realise today that to say so, is not only being kind to racists, but also gives them an excuse.
Racism is not stupidity — racism is hate. Racists constantly find excuses to expound their hatred— and in this current backdrop of the coronavirus, they’ve found yet another excuse. From refusing service to a Chinese-looking person to racially-motivated hate crimes, every single one of these acts are based on racism. People dismiss racism with statements such as ‘it’s not all of us — only a minority are racists and this does not reflect on a city/country’. While factually true, not only it does not change the fact that this is an ugly problem that has plagued humanity for a very long time, but also it belittles this problem we have. Racism has changed it form and shape through the years and it is once again rearing its ugly head in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Why should anyone, simply because of the colour of their skin, be subjected to abuse, in any form, verbal or physical? Why should anyone keep quiet when someone makes a racist remark towards them?
- This post is intended to bring people together and not divide us based on arbitrary things such as skin colour. Comments demonising a group of a certain skin colour (white or black etc) completely defeats the purpose! Even a Chinese can be racist towards a Chinese, and while it is confusing, the point remains that the demonising of a certain assumed race of my attackers only serve to further the message of the racists. It only seeks to divide us even further and it is unfair towards the billions of white/black-skinned people who are defined by their individuality- who are so much more than their skin colour! Demonising a certain group of people because of their skin colour is racist in itself and its completely unacceptable.
- PLEASE, do not use this post as a platform to continue to propagate racist tendencies- humanity has suffered enough. People of any skin colour can and have suffered racism at some point in our lives and the main point is to realise this is an issue, try to BE THE CHANGE, instead of contributing to racism.
- If you have reached here, thank you so much for reading till the end of this post. I just want to say I hope we can all work together to stamp out racism in this world (regardless of whom it is against) and build a better future!