Coronavirus and Racism

By Yael Goldman

The Coronavirus is spreading, and so is racism.

In Martin Luther King’s, “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” he talks about racism and nonviolent ways to handle racism. Although King hoped the world would change its violent ways, it did not. On February 24th, 2020, in central London, a 23-year-old man was attacked while walking down Oxford Street. The man that was attacked told BBC that there were four men who attacked him and told him, “we don’t want your coronavirus in our country.”

More and more people are beginning to look down at the Chinese and Asian communities because of the coronavirus. Some public officials have even called the virus the “China Virus.”

Health experts caution that “naming viruses after geographic locations or groups of people is inaccurate, inappropriate, and could unnecessarily stigmatize Asian-Americans and people from China.” When leaders make these types of stigmatizing statements, followers may feel it is OK to do the same.

Martin Luther King wanted things to change, and so did many others. Although there have been acts of violence across the country, many are using nonviolent ways to combat racism. For example, people are going on social platforms to spread their ideas and opinions on how to drive out racism. In response to the labelling of Coronavirus as “China Virus”, AJ Rafael said “... I’d like us to continue to look out for our Asian brothers and sisters who are experiencing attacks against them because people are assuming they have the virus because they are Chinese.” 

As people continue to be racist, make hurtful comments, and be violent, there are people who are wanting to help stop that in a nonviolent way. Martin Luther King’s message did not get across to everyone, but the people did hear it are making a change in the world and trying to spread his message even further. By using social media and other platforms to show that racism is not welcome, teens (and others) can spread awareness of the growing spread of racism in the world, and hopefully, put an end to the issue.