The true virus: Racism

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Courtesy of bbc.com

ANTI-HATE: Justice is demanded.

De'Morris Peterson, Staff Writer

The United States of America, the land of the free, home of the brave. Founded upon the ideals of equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, this great country has struggled for centuries to truly realize its core goals. Though more rights and liberties for all races have been attained in recent decades, racism, or discrimination against a group or race of people by another race, still runs amuck. Not only this, but early 2020 brought along a major challenge that reinforced racist ideals and is still being dealt with even today: Covid-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus.

 

This virus initially began as something small, something that even our government chose to ignore. However, this ignorance proved to be fatal to approximately 570,421 American citizens according to covid.cdc.org, ending lives that truly could’ve been saved. No one knows for sure where the virus came from, but the first case in which a human contracted the virus was in December 2019 in China. Because of this revelation, many have blamed not only their current quarantined situation but the deaths of all of those Americans onto fellow American citizens who happen to be Asian. You’d think that, given the current situation of the United States–with so much loss and suffering, that rather than attacking others, its citizens would seek to comfort one another and build rapport. Sadly, this is not the case. 

 

Americans have taken to the streets; and as if stuck in the “anger” stage of grieving, they insult innocent Asian-Americans, calling them “Viruses”. What’s more, is that they have even resorted to physical violence. 84-year-old Thai immigrant Vicha Ratanapakdee, like many of us today, was tired of being cramped up in his home, so he opted to take a walk. He put on his baseball cap and promised his wife a swift return to their home, walking out of his North Carolina home, according to New York Time’s Thomas Fuller.

 

Sadly, Vicha would not return to see his wife that day.

The 84-year-old senior citizen, during his walk, would be rushed by a 19-year-old African American male, who pushed Vicha onto the ground with such force that he would pass away just two days later from a brain hemorrhage; and though 19-year-old Antoine Watson was charged with murder and elder abuse, sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com states, it is clear as day that this Asian-American hate crime wasn’t the first, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Several Americans, both Asian and of other races, have taken to the streets since Vicha’s death, preaching anti-hate messages, hoping that there won’t have to be any more martyrs amongst the Asian-American community. Tzi Ma, the Asian actor in the live-action film “Mulan”, has come forth and voiced his opinion on the matter, saying “The current crisis for Asian Americans is that now we have to not only face Covid-19, we also have to face racial harassment and remarks.” To the dismay of many, this is the truth for far too many Asian-Americans in this nation.

And despite many speaking out against this vivid hate for our own citizens, only more and more cases of Asian-American discrimination and racism have shown up since then. Asian women getting sliced with box cutters in broad daylight, new, Asian members of a neighborhood being pranked and pestered by the adolescents already living there, the hate just doesn’t stop. In fact, according to the Center for Study of Hate & Extremism, overall hate crime rates in 2020 have dropped by 7%, but Asian-American hate crime has increased drastically by 149%, the center said.

It is needless to say that Covid-19 has been a challenge for the entire American Nation. From quarantine to economic suffering, job losses, and death, this pandemic has simply been trial after trial, relentlessly. However, to take our pain and anger and force it onto our innocent, fellow Asian-American citizens simply isn’t right. In times such as these, we should offer kindness and gratitude to one another, and aim to become a more unionized whole.

 

However, this virus divides us. No, not Covid…racism. Racism has run rampant through America since it was founded, and though sometimes it slept, it was never for too long–it never leaves. And if we continue down this path of hate and division, it never will.

Are we a nation that believes in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Or are we a nation that believes in death, cages, and unthinkable suffering? This is for us to decide, not a virus.