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Racial Discrimination – Peaking during Coronavirus Pandemic

Fearing isn’t a sign of cowardice, rather it is a show of  submission to those in power. This is an account to our inner selves to question and condemn our disregard and impassivity towards prejudice, discrimination and human rights.

When a person of a different race is directed towards prejudice and discrimination because of their physical traits and ethnicity, they experience racism. Living in a country, where the majority considers you inferior, questions your race and descent, doubts your nationality and looks down on you. Racial discrimination and xenophobia are the new normal. In a time, where the human population is living in terror of Pandemic, there are some who fear their own counterparts instead, the so called  superiors. Instead of worrying about what is to be bought from the market , what these people worry about is going outside, people smirking, sneering  and blaming them for this virus. This Pandemic, to the worse of its effects, has been unleashing hatred, which began when, POTUS, Donald Trump, called COVID-19 a Chinese virus, which according to him wasn’t racist, his justification, unintentionally bemocking, said, it came from China.

Throughout the history, Asian Americans have faced a long legacy of inequality and the racist notion of being inferior in their own land. And since the beginning of Pandemic, the discrimination has been on its peak, which has lead to many Hollywood stars condemning such acts. “Though we keep doing our best to demonize each other, the coronavirus  doesn’t care what race, gender, religion or sexuality we are. Ironically, it knows better than we do, a lesson I wish we could all learn, once and for all: that we are all human. We are all one.”  Tweeted Daniel Dae Kim, an American actor, who tested positive for this virus. Unfortunate is the fact, that racial discrimination in our own country is also a bleak, with the seven sisters facing the retrogressive.

Have you seen or experienced any racism, xenophobia or other forms ...
“There is an epidemic of ignorance around… We must protect ourselves!!!”
Sign reads: #JeNeSuisPaSunVirus (I’m not a virus)

credits: Street Artist Laika // The Washington Post

Are you an Indian” is where the racism begins from. Using of racial slurs, commenting on the size of their eyes or the whiteness of their skin, is the main parameter for a conversation with someone from northeast. Such assumption are not even half of what they actually go through in daily lives, which has escalated  to ten times and unfolding in front of them because of lack of knowledge of culture, diversity and history of the North East.

On 23 March, The Delhi police registered a case of a Manipuri girl who was spat on by a man, calling her Corona. In  another incident a girl from Meghalaya had to leave a restaurant in Delhi because of complaints and threats from other customers. Many other cases were also reported in different states, where people were verbally abused, physically harassed or were  made to stay in a hospital in quarantine, and the only accurate reason being, the way they look. “Some incidents of racial remarks against North-East people have emerged in some parts of India in the wake of Coronavirus due to cultural ignorance, prejudice mindset & lack of understanding. Matter discussed with NE Division, MHA. Strict advisory is being issued to the States,”  tweeted by Union Sports Minister who hails from Arunachal Pradesh.

With 1.38 billion population of 28 states and 8 Union territories, all of us aren’t aware about the cultural diversity in our country. And since Gen-Z has started marking its way, there’s no one culture, tradition or language a particular state follows, well almost. Times have been changing and all of us are enjoying the differences in the culture, our neighbour state allows. However, such opportunities to dive into, aren’t equally provided to all.  Our fellow citizens, discriminated in their own lands, and disgracing our motto of unity in diversity. Boundaries, specifically geographical boundaries have always had a complex history in India. Half of us aren’t taught about it and even if we are, we forget the basics,  the basics being eight states in north eastern part on the Indian political map.

As Coronavirus Spreads, So Does Xenophobia and Racism | Time
credits: Time

Even though racial and caste discrimination has been outlawed, it is still deep rooted in us. We tend to do the casual name calling, despite owning to the fact that these ‘casual’ slurs, joked upon, are something that people  have literally lived their life with. Therefore standing up to the consensus that, “Yes, taboos still exists“. That primates  have the natural tendency to show dominance in their ‘mainland’, consider the equals as inferior and hence pertaining to them as second class citizens.

Nevertheless all of this comes down to one question. Why a small part of the population is bearing the brunt of a worldwide Pandemic. And the answer to this lies in all of us, in our humility towards and acceptance of each other. But in small steps towards this change, we need more people aware and demanding to end this stigma, for us to accept the genetic drift within a small population and most importantly to ask ourselves who are we to question someone else’s descent.

Aashita Batra is a student pursuing Psychology from Jamia Millia Islamia.

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Written by Aashita Batra

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