We’ve had times of crisis in the past. And as much as we may wish for such periods to bring the best out of people from our communities to generally the whole world, you cannot deny that worse things happen.
We have particularly seen this happen over the last month or so. Yes, we cannot deny that COVID-19 began spreading from Wuhan, China. But multitudes have unfortunately turned up to spread all kinds of malice and racial abuse against the Chinese people.
You can actually see it in Kenya as well. You’ve seen people cross the road when they see an Asian man or woman walk towards them. The perfect example would be the 239 passengers case. Kenyans turned to social media to express racial slur even without getting their facts straight about what really happened. Even now, many continue to insist that Chinese people should be chased away from the country and never allowed in again.
These crooks have never been to the interest of any1, we need to fight, fight to defend our last holdings, Any Chinese arriving to our communities must be chased out.
— Nicholas Mogakz (@Papamtetezi) February 28, 2020
Sensationalist media coverage of the outbreak works to further exacerbate existing fears. This includes pandering to xenophobic stereotypes or peddling popular rumours.
A Kenyan politician was even recently quoted saying Chinese people should be stoned on sight. Internationally, the situation is actually worse as Chinese people have been harassed and intimidated on fears of coronavirus. Global leaders have even been continuously quoted referring to the virus as a “Chinese virus”.
The general fact is that this has gone just beyond the pandemic outbreak and people are mostly turning to their fears trying to look for someone to blame. But a huge part of this is also owed to the vast amounts of misinformation that is still out there.
For instance, many still do not actually know that “less than 0.0001% of Chinese people have contracted coronavirus yet more than 99.99% have already experienced coronaracism”.
less than 0.001% of chinese people have coronavirus yet more than 99.999% have already experienced coronaracism
— Ken Cheng (@kenchengcomedy) January 28, 2020
A lot of us are still relying on the conspiracy theory that the virus was a scheme by the Chinese government to take over the world. And while none of this is proven, it still does not give anyone an excuse to be racist against another whether Chinese or not.
However, some of these notions have actually been proven wrong over time. The theory that black people can’t get infected has long been thrown out the window when several cases of African patients started emerging. Either way, we all just hope that everyone infected recovers quickly.
People are spending more and more time online, and so are being exposed to more and more hate speech and incitement. Instigators of hate are likely using the general feeling of uncertainty and tension to stir up discriminatory behaviour, and, according to our data, racist abuse is being targeted most explicitly against Asians.
Report from L1ght
The fact is that this will most likely continue to happen. The COVID-19 outbreak continues to become worse for many countries including Kenya. But the longer people remain gullible to all the misinformation going around, the more coronaracism stands. Eventually, coronavirus will continue to be more than just a health crisis across the globe.CHECK OUT OUR COVID-19 COVERAGE HERE