Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has spread its wings, the world has changed as we know it. Daily routines have been aborted, the movement has been restricted and the entire world is creaking under the pressure exerted by the outbreak. However, one thing has sadly remained ever-present. The tendency of humans to discriminate and be racist.
The virus outbreak has brought to light many stories that restore our faith in humanity. Funds are being set up to feed the hardest hit. Donation drives are being speeded up to provide the medical community with everything that they need. Even MNCs have decided to begin the production of ventilators to make sure essential supply doesn’t stop.
Ever since the pandemic broke out and its origins in the Chinese city of Wuhan have broken out, several communities have had to sadly bear the brunt of it. The hardest hit has been the Asian community, who have come under multiple racial driven attacks. The twisted logic behind this has been that since the virus originated in China, somehow the entire Asian community is responsible for it. Donal Trump has repeatedly even called it the “Chinese Virus”.
The racism post the virus outbreak has been deeply disheartening. At a time when humanity should be coming together and fighting the threat caused by the pandemic, several elements have resorted to spreading hate and misinformation. Such actions can have harmful repercussions. They can marginalize a community, create resentment within them and lead to their stigmatization in society.
In India alone, several groups have borne the brunt for no fault of their own. These groups have been racially abused, asked to evict their homes and even been called discriminatory slurs. As the horror of the pandemic grips the nation, people are letting it out in shameful and spiteful ways.
People from the North- East increased discrimination during the Pandemic
The worst-hit community has been the people from the Northeast. For ages, they have been racially abused because of their facial features and language. Now, with the pandemic coming to India, it has given Indians another reason to socially isolate them. Several reports have come up where the community has shared the horrors they have started to face in their lives.
A woman in Delhi alleged that while on her way to shop for groceries, a man on a scooty slowed down next to her, called here “Corona”, spat paan on her face and sped way. Several students have also reported incidents of auto drivers asking them if they’re from China and if they have the virus. Even celebrities are not immune to the sorry situation. Bollywood singer and former Indian Idol contestant Meiyang Chang shared another incident. While out on his morning walk in Mumbai, two men on a bike sped past him shouting "corona."
The people from the Northeast sadly have always been at the receiving end of racism. This pandemic brings out a double crisis for them. They have to deal with COVID-19 and racist Indians at the same time.
Doctors Fighting The Pandemic Ostracized
IF you were thinking that racism in times of the pandemic was restricted to ethnicity, you couldn’t be more wrong. Overworked Indian medical professionals, who are already braving the virus to save countless lives, now face a fight against another enemy. Social stigma.
The medical community in the country, who are on the frontline in our fight against the pandemic, are telling horror stories of being ostracized and discriminated against.
Many doctors have been asked to vacate their rented homes by their landlords as they believe that doctors staying at their houses may make them more susceptible to Covid-19. Their landlords have ignored the notice period, forcing countless doctors off the streets and without homes in these testing times.
Not only this, shocking incident of physical violence and abuse against doctors, but nurses and other medical professional have also come to light.
Doctors on their way to duty recount their horror of being slapped, stopped at checkpoints and even assaulted by the police.
Air India has been vital in providing safe passage back to India to those citizens stranded abroad. The carrier and its crew have braved challenging circumstances and run special flights to virus hit countries’ to get countless Indians back home.
However, a now-viral video by an Air India attendant has gone viral on social media. Many crew members are being discriminated against by the housing society members when they return from servicing the international sectors. Inspire of taking adequate precautions such as protective equipment while travelling, misinformation has fostered the rumour that the crew stuff may have contracted the virus. As a result, not only the crew but their families as well are being evicted from their homes without notice. Some weren’t even allowed to enter when they returned from their duty.
Not only this, but the homes of several staff has also been stamped with the quarantine stamp, leading to misinformation that they’ve contracted the deadly disease. The situation has gotten so worse, that Air India had to issue a statement requesting the government to protect its crew.
The situation brings to light the general apathy and hypocrite nature of our society. At one hand we praise them on social media and appeal for humanity in times of crisis. However, these instances are a testament to the fact that social evils like racism, discrimination and intolerance aren’t immune to a global health pandemic. That maybe tells you a lot about the sorry state of humanity we find ourselves in. All communities, professionals and humans, in general, deserve your thank you and empathy during this time, and not your intolerance.