Xenophobia & Coronavirus: two things that should not go hand in hand

PHOTO BY GEORGE IAN BOWLES/FLICKR

By Kajaal, CONTRIBUTOR
Fear can make you do crazy things. It can drive you to abandon the ones who love you in fear of failing them. It can freeze you in your tracks and stop you from pursuing your dreams. Fear can affect your judgment of one’s character. Sadly, even today, fear is causing the world to do the unspeakable. Fear is causing the world to quarantine an entire ethnicity due to illness.
Due to the outcome of the 2016 election, the problem of xenophobia has become an even bigger issue in the United States. Xenophobia, defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, or of anything that is strange or foreign. Some of the ways xenophobia is expressed can be through hatred from foreigners due to their ethnic, racial, or cultural background.
There have also been several forms of xenophobia that have occurred and are targeted towards specific racial groups such as those of Jewish or Muslim faith. It is also important that we understand the consequences of negative attitudes towards immigrants.
Xenophobia has also risen in the Bay Area over the past few months due to the coronavirus.
As the coronavirus plague continues to spread, it has also contributed to the spread of xenophobic behavior towards Asian Americans, according to ABC7 News. Doctor Russell Jeung, chair for Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, believes there are prejudiced notions of how dangerous Asian Americans can become due to the coronavirus.
“But it also means that your joking posts about coronavirus — about frantically washing your hands and how you’re not the “diseased” kind of Asian — will probably appear on the feeds of someone with family whose relatives may be suffering or terrified,” says Frank Shyong in an article by the LA Times. “And it will probably make them very angry.”
The main reaction to the coronavirus is to shun those coming from Asia, specifically China. While the virus has its origins in Wuhan, anyone associated with China is feeling the blowback. Several South Korean restaurants have written signs that say “no Chinese allowed” and Japanese twitter accounts have trended the hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan, according to an article by USA Today.
Although xenophobia has become a major problem over the past few years, there are several ways we can reduce this issue such as being more respectful and understanding of other races.
At Cal State East Bay, there is much diversity across the campus and college students are more accepting of people from other cultures. The campus is also ranked #952 in diversity nationwide which combines the results of racial, age, and gender diversity.
Due to the campus being very diverse, students feel safe and welcome at CSUEB therefore, xenophobia is not as apparent. However, that doesn’t mean xenophobia is not a problem on other college campuses. As the coronavirus epidemic grows, so does the hatred for people associated with Asia. While we can try and stop the spread of the virus, we can’t heal the scars that have been made due to fear.