OPINION: Fear of illness does not justify racism

(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 saw a new pandemic on the rise as the novel coronavirus spread worldwide. The outbreak caused panic and sent shock waves across the globe with its fast progression.

To add fuel to the fire, the disease accompanied an outbreak of an anti-Asian sentiment which resulted in a rise of racism and xenophobia against Asian people and individuals of Asian origins.

From the bullying of a teen in California to insensitive posters found on campus at Kansas State, there’s been a surge of prejudice and discrimination. Businesses that deal with products manufactured in Asia, as well as places that sell Asian food products, have also been the victims of racism and xenophobia. These actions are indeed deplorable and should be condemned in the most potent words possible.

While fear of the virus is understandable, people need to understand that discriminatory behavior is not the solution for preventing this global outbreak. Holding prejudices against certain groups of people will take us nowhere — in fact, it could suppress the sharing of solutions.

The way to prevent this pandemic from becoming dangerous is to stay united and work collectively. Discriminating will get us nowhere. The greatest obstacle in our efforts to solve this issue is the prejudice that we may hold against certain groups of people.

COVID-19 is indeed a global crisis. But it is essential to know that scientists from all over are working day and night to develop a vaccine to prevent and protect us from this new coronavirus. The World Health Organization reports that there are over 20 vaccinations in development right now to fight COVID-19.

Taking steps like washing your hands and social distancing will prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 strain — discriminating against people will not. Misinformation and racism can be just as dangerous as any virus.

The panic and mass hysteria that is happening in our daily lives regarding this issue are fueled by xenophobia and racism, not facts or evidence. Someone’s fear does not justify discriminatory behavior.

In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Vedant Deepak Kulkarni is a junior in management information systems and mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.