Coronavirus Spreads Anti-Asian Racism


Winta Tekle, Sahuaro News Editor

If we are to talk about how racism hides in plain sight, even in situations where it’s painfully obvious, we should talk about the coronavirus. My twitter feed has spawned dozens of hoax tik tok, where false scenarios are being passed on as reality. In one video, a man parading as a doctor tests a vial of what looks like Welch’s grape juice onto a napkin, claiming it to be the blood of “Patient X”–a corona victim. Anyone with any common sense would dispel these hoaxes, but the line between entertainment and information is blurred.

Hysteria can stop a moment and expand it into something that echoes for an entire lifetime. A man inside Sydney’s Chinatown went into cardiac arrest and died after bystanders refused to do CPR – a report that bystanders allegedly failed to perform CPR because fear that he had the coronavirus. Not to say that anti-Asian narratives are to blame, but there’s a lot to unpack. 

The coronavirus has become racialized. Similar to the Ebola outbreak, talks about these viruses always have woven in racist undertones to it. And maybe in the age of Tik Tok where misinformation can easily be passed as seemingly harmless jokes, it looks as if coronavirus jokes are being made at the expense of Asian folk.

I’ve experienced a fair share of Ebola jokes, ranging from light banter to common misbeliefs that I carry the virus because of my lineage. So, I can’t begin to imagine the level of racism the corona virus will expose. The line is constantly being crossed. People are forgetting that there lives attached to the butt of these jokes are racist statements. People are dying at extreme rates in China. The hysteria infects us before the actual virus, and for most of us in America, that’ll be the very extent of the damage the virus will do.