Showing posts with label hate crimes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hate crimes. Show all posts

COVID-19 Hate and Discrimination in the Public Sphere


In the public domain more generally, the pandemic has intensified religiously uncivil acts of prejudice and hate. We also seen an increase in blatant anti-Chinese bigotry and racist cases in many parts of the world as a result of the virus's geographic roots. Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate has gathered data on incidents in the United States to demonstrate the scope of the issue, who it impacts, and where these types of incidents occur. According to descriptive figures in a recent US survey, the most prevalent forms of abuse are verbal harassment in workplaces and on the street, which overwhelmingly affect women. 

The report's qualitative data contains illustrative instances. 'I'm a hospital professional,' one New York City plaintiff recalled. On the metro, I saw a man without a mask sitting across from me. He led me on the other side of the train compartment. On the subway, he spit and coughed while shouting racist slurs. There was no one who stood up for me.' ‘I was in line at the pharmacy when a lady hit me and poured Lysol all over me,' said another survivor in Georgia. “[y]ou're the infection,” she screamed. Return to your house. “You are not welcome here!” As I walked out of the house, I was in shock and sobbed. Nobody comes to my aid.' Some of the terminology used by political figures in the media to characterize COVID-19, such as "kung flu" and "China virus," can embolden those who might engage in more blatant acts of bigotry and racism in the public domain. 

Hate and prejudice cases also represent pre-existing social divisions based on race, gender, and other factors. When we met with Erin Wen Ai Chew, the Founder and National Convener of the Asian Australian Alliance, she said, "COVID-19 is not the source of anti-Asian rhetoric; it's just a sign of a larger crisis." The pandemic, on the other hand, has both escalated and normalized those events. 

This tense atmosphere has been fueled by leaders from various political parties across the political spectrum. Public views against people with Chinese ancestry and other Asian backgrounds have been exacerbated by media messaging and wider geopolitical conflicts. This social and political environment, as Erin Wen Ai Chew points out, "has normalized the notion that it's cool to wander around, that if you see an Asian person walking down the street, it's okay to name them "the Chinese flu," and it's okay to warn them not to eat dogs, bats, or some sort of wild species." As a result, the concept has become much more mainstream, especially during COVID. Individuals and organizations may have additional ways to promote agendas inspired by religious and ethnic animosity as a result of the pandemic. Some, for example, have used increased media ‘strain' to promote Islamophobic messaging. Key "trigger" incidents, such as the current COVID-19 crisis, will cause surges in both offline and online anti-Muslim sentiment. 

Many ethnic organizations fall under the same category. According to Tel Aviv University researchers, the pandemic "unleashed a unique worldwide surge of antisemitism." Conspiracy theories and disinformation fuel prejudices and may contribute to erroneous guilt attributions aimed against religious communities. According to a survey of the English population conducted by Oxford University, almost a quarter of respondents agree to some degree with the assertions that "Jews developed the virus to crash the economy for financial benefit" and "Muslims are spreading the virus as an assault on Western principles." 

The wider far-right has been particularly interested in using COVID-19 to further a variety of goals. Far-right parties have blended populist and anti-egalitarian rhetoric into their media commentary on the global pandemic in Australia, where the far-right mainly pursues a complex and changing anti-Islam, cultural, and ethnic hegemony platform. 

Anti-Chinese bigotry is common, as is anti-globalist propaganda directed at organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Public myths of self-sufficiency and alienation that surface as a result of the global pandemic can now resonate with more Australians, whose views on globalization are nearly doubled from percent in to percent in. Countries facing parallel changes in public opinion must be proactive in addressing and counteracting socially uncivil expression and actions associated with populist and anti-globalization views and policies. As a result of the COVID-19 virus's disruption of social and political life, ideologies promoting xenophobia, bigotry, and religious intolerance could find a more welcoming audience. 




Outside of the public health crisis, leaders may learn from tactics to tackle hate speech and behavior. A plan of action, for example, would enable officials and partner organizations to track and analyze data, recognize and resolve root causes, collaborate with a variety of civil society groups to create cross-sector coalitions, and integrate media and emerging technology into the development of program delivery tools. States must collect data in order to analyze and comprehend the problem. This campaigns will help raise concerns of bigotry and hate crimes while also offering a more solid factual basis for policy recommendations. Solutions will range from voluntary programs to more concrete policies aimed at better protecting victims and prosecuting offenders through the rule of law (e.g., updated anti-racism legislation). 

Governments should also be aware of some of the limitations imposed by structural responses. While a government may pass laws, make rules, and set procedures to combat bigotry and hatred in general, it might not be prepared to respond to micro-incidents. The Australian Human Rights Commission, for example, uses a conciliatory or reconciliation mechanism to handle those cases. Because of the limits of mobility and face-to-face contact, it is impossible that a suspect and survivor will consent to participate in this sort of process during normal times, and much less likely in a case like a pandemic.