How do I handle the pandemic as a woman of colour?
Updated: Nov 5, 2022
Discrimination is something deeply rooted in society. We could talk for days about the different types of discrimination and their impact on peoples lives; however, today we are going to focus on "Pandemic Racism".
The last pandemic was the 1918 Spanish flu (influenza), and like this one, the pandemic was riddled with discrimination. In America, during the 1918's there was a mass separation between white and black, different supermarkets, different hospitals etc. However, to battle, the pandemic unity was required. Black nurses applied to work at white hospitals, this was not taken well by the white staff. Many white nurses did not want to share the same living and eating quarters. The mistreatment of black nurses led to them resigning. This hatred has extended to the present day pandemic, towards East Asians. Do you think we will ever learn from history? Although, the name "Spanish Flu" indicates the epicentre of the disease as well as who was blamed; historians have found a lack of evidence that the Spanish were a target of racial abuse during this time. However, compare this with diseases such as, COVID-19, bubonic plague, AIDS, cholera and syphilis there is always a race that is targeted as the cause of these diseases. So what is the common factor, why does this happen?
East Asians have a unique position within the world, that perpetuates different forms of racism. For example, the model minority myth, the idea that members of a race are shown to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success compared to the average population. This means their high earning potential and the stereotypical "all Asians are smart" mentality may lead to the public believing Asians are "privileged". Therefore, at times can lead to the racism directed at East Asians to be underplayed. Do you think the racism East Asians have faced has been fairly shown in the media?
An image showing advice from the 1918 pandemic. Would this work today?
Stay safe out there!