Coronavirus outbreak leads to racial discrimination

 The extensive outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, or COVID-19, from Wuhan, China has caused a surge of racism towards Chinese communities. There have been countless internet rumors and posts targeted towards the Chinese population. 

     Recently, a video of a woman eating a bat went viral. This resulted in thousands of comments targeting Asian communities saying how they “deserve” everything that has been happening. However, the viral video of the woman was not filmed in China, but rather on a Pacific Island. 

     The coronavirus is a type of respiratory illness that has infected more than 75,000 people and caused 2000 deaths worldwide. 

     A similar outbreak in Hong Kong occurred in 2002 known as the SARS Outbreak. It was also a form of coronavirus and had lethal effects on the Chinese community. However, the Wuhan coronavirus has far surpassed the numbers put up but the SARS outbreak. The strain of the virus that hit Wuhan is known as the Novel coronavirus. The virus is believed to have spread due to poor food regulations in the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan.

     The coronavirus is spread because of close interactions with other people, for example sneezing and coughing. The symptoms are similar to the flu including coughing and getting a fever. Most people in China wear masks and stay home to prevent the contraction of the virus. Schools in China have been shut down due to the virus and as a result, students are taking online classes until the virus is contained. Citizens are not allowed outside of their homes. Wuhan has become a ghost city. Restaurants, gas stations, and all stores have shut down.

      Doctors are continuously working tirelessly to treat the rising number of patients, putting their own lives in danger to help the infected patients. Hospitals in China have run out of room due to the exponentially increasing number of patients.

     Many people living in the United States are of Chinese heritage, and as a result of the coronavirus, attention towards those groups has marginally increased. Sarah Chen, a sophomore of Chinese heritage, has witnessed her race becoming a major target of racial profiling.

     “I hear students making jokes about staying away from the Chinese people because they have coronavirus as well as imitating them,” Chen said. “It makes me feel uncomfortable because I know the coronavirus does not apply to all Chinese people. It feels like we are being put out even though we’re not really infected.”

     While some students feel sensitive to racial comments, others have decided to ignore them. Freshman Ronald Kan is one of those students.

     “The true way to stop all these racially charged incidents is to just go with the flow,” Kan said. “If you fight back, it will only get worse.”

     Kan further explained that the Chinese Community should not take racial comments too personally.

     “It’s impossible to get society, at this point in time, to accept us and not racially profile us, “ Kan said. “Because no matter what skin color you are, [members of] society will choose to racially profile you.”


     Kan believes that discrimination is prevalent everywhere in our community, including on Monte Vista’s campus.

     “There have been many times where I have been racially discriminated against because of the complexion of my skin tone,” Kan said. “I’ve been told to go back to where I came from. I’ve been called all sorts of racial slurs. I’ve been called countless other insults that I don’t remember anymore because I’ve become desensitized to it.”

     But a larger majority of the Chinese community does feel internally uncomfortable and insulted by these comments. And although students like Kan are dealing with the problem through desensitization, another option has also been proposed.

     Angela Chen, a junior, believes students need to change their mentality on race.

     “I think honestly the biggest issue is ignorance,” Chen said. “People don’t understand race, and they don’t understand the repercussions of what they say. If we can educate every person individually and change their mentality from a young age it will be better.”

     Race has always been too sensitive of a subject of conversation, especially in elementary and middle schools. But Chen believes it is necessary.

     “We should make race a topic of discussion since elementary school,” Chen said. “It’s always been something that has been considered a stigma especially in conversation at school because it’s so sensitive. But the more we bring it to light, the more people will realize what they’re doing is wrong.”

     {Monte Vista had a rally on Feb. 7, 2020 ending in a student speaker Iziyah Robinson talking about his experiences with racial discrimination and the n-word. Students believe this method is effective in making a difference}

     The coronavirus has not hit an end, the numbers are only increasing. The lasting effects of the virus can never be taken back, but what can change is our attitudes and understanding moving forward.