It’s no secret that tensions have been building since the outbreak of COVID-19. Everyone is on edge, clutching packets of toilet paper like newborn babies, blaming supermarket workers when they can’t hoard everything. But for some people, their anger has taken a violent, racist, and xenophobic turn.
As coronavirus began to spread, people of Chinese and other Asian backgrounds were targeted and discriminated against, both in Australia and around the world. They would be evicted from their homes, kicked out of class, and people refused to eat in their restaurants out of fear of catching the virus. As it became a global pandemic, people became frustrated with the disruption to work and life, and the attacks grew. From verbal threats and racial slurs, to physical assaults, members of the Australian community are feeling unsafe because of the racism attached to coronavirus.
No Excuse For Violent Attacks
A family in Melbourne is the latest to be targeted during the pandemic after cowardly vandals spray painted “COVID-19 CHINA DIE” on the family’s garage door on Monday morning. If that wasn’t enough, a large rock was thrown through one of their windows in the early hours of Tuesday morning this week.
Over the weekend, a doctor in Geelong had abuse hurled at him while standing in line for takeaway. The woman even gave him an “Asian sounding moniker” as she continued her tirade. Dr Ern Chang posted about the incident on the Family Doctors Highton Facebook page. Instead of responding from a place of anger, one of his first questions about the incident was “Besides her, how many others, like her are perhaps under incredible stress?”.
These aren’t isolated incidents. Last Wednesday 15 April, two international students were attacked by a pair of strangers in Melbourne’s CBD. The students were kicked and punched repeatedly before someone stepped in to help the students.
I am appalled by the disgraceful attack on two young students from the @unimelb this week in the CBD.
The violence displayed is completely unacceptable. It does not reflect the values that Melburnians stand for or the behaviour we expect in our city. https://t.co/nOhbSSLyZw
— Sally Capp (@SallyCapp_) April 17, 2020
Being Racist Is Not A Personality Trait
If you aren’t angry about this already, then you should be. Now is not the time for Australians to be attacking each other based on their background, and it never has been. It’s not something people should be proud of. In this time where people are undoubtably feeling scared and isolated, we should be helping and supporting each other as much as we can.
Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, and the way to keep yourself safe from it isn’t by going on racist rampages through your city. It’s by being responsible and staying home unless it’s absolutely necessary for you to go out.
Feature Image Source: Twitter (@Sherman89)