Racism has this trait of being born and surfacing when we don’t expect it. It follows certain social situations and trends and we must always be alert to recognise it within ourselves and in our society. We must work to eliminate it, by contributing to its diminishment, not by fuelling it into further growth. Coronavirus has instilled fear and given birth to new racism wave.
Another virus out there and fear spreads the planet with each news. You are afraid, so am I. We look at the ways to protect ourselves. Thigs to avoid. Our brains automatically dive into a bias: Virus – Asian – Fear – Avoid. Here’s the problem, every bias is bad, but this one especially, since this one turns automatically into a racial bias.
Oh Gosh, you never thought of yourself as a racist and now you see yourself becoming one. What can you do and what needs to be done by every individual, organisation and media? Here are some suggestions.
Before you make a judgment, think. Where do you live? What are the chances of getting the virus from this particular person or situation? Evaluate, is this your bias leading your thoughts or are you concluding based on real factors. If you fear any person transmitting it, think first. Is there any justification to your fear?
No bad jokes
Don’t feed the racism monster by making casual jokes about people. Enough damage has been done and media have already managed to associate one race to this virus by putting up insensitive headings. By joking casually, you are sending a message that it is completely acceptable and normal to consider people of certain racial and ethnical background with this illness.
We must watch our thoughts and actions and prevent them from becoming racist.
Watch your actions
If you can’t control your mind from gong into bias, you can still control your actions. If you can’t choose not to be afraid, you can dosage the outcome of your fear. That means you don’t have to spread the panic. You don’ have to make anyone uncomfortable. Choose to be kind in every situation.
Know the latest news about the virus. This way you will eliminate bringing uninformed judgments and you will recognise unjustified behaviours around you.
Walk in people’s shoes
Try to imagine how would it feel if people avoided you, made jokes or said offensive things to you. Image tomorrow another virus breakout happens, and it is associated with you for some reason. It influences how people treat you, your whole lifestyle, travel experiences, also your self-esteem. How would you feel?
Be an advocate
Coronavirus is making headlines to keep us informed. But attention hungry media are not being careful about the expressions they use and the aftermath of their titles. If you can, be an advocate that fights against racism of any kind. Be the one who recognises offensive titles in media and calls them out. Be the one who diminishes the panic and shows reasonable and kind behaviour.
Beware of generalising
Just don’t relate this situation to a whole nation, continent, ethnicity nor race. To generalise is never a good idea and it never leads to ethical . Learning this now will come useful for your personal growth, since generalising is source of prejudice.
Share your anti racism views
Finally, be sure to share your views on Coronavirus, the trends of Fear and New Racism Wave. Do your part in preventing racism.
About the Author
Sanja Ivandic is one of the Co-Founders of Outside Multicultural Magazine. Sanja relocated to Ireland from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inspired by the Sligo Intercultural Project she managed for a while, as well as her work in various NGOs such as LEDA and World Vision, this Magazine was born.
Sanja wrote for several magazines, enjoys every form of writing, be it poems, case studies or prose. Her special skills lie in marketing. Currently she is an Employment Advisor. You can get in touch with Sanja by emailing her on: [email protected]
Sanja’s words on multiculturalism: “Multiculturalism for me is a synonym for humanity. Being diverse and similar at the same time is who we are and we must never forget it. Remembering this evokes respect, love, and peace, so we must keep reminding ourselves about the word multicultural”.