Are South Koreans exposed to racism in India?
Five to eight / Covid-19: Accelerator of inequality
At the beginning it was said that the outbreak of the coronavirus made people move closer together, led to solidarity, and made societies more solidary. Sars-CoV-2, it was also said, meet all people equally, poor and rich, white and black,
Majorities as well as minorities. Covid-19 disease has been claimed to be the great equalizer.
But that is not the case. The pandemic affects old people more than young people, men more than women, and people suffering from certain pre-existing illnesses harder than healthy people. But Covid-19 is a big discriminator far beyond that, because in many places its victims are predominantly poor and members of minorities. The pandemic discriminates in two ways: On the one hand, it encourages some people to marginalize others and cover them with hatred. On the other hand, it increases inequalities and blatant injustices within societies. Not because the virus was deliberately doing it. But because it encounters conditions that allow and encourage such discrimination.
Racism against asians
Since the outbreak of the disease, xenophobia has risen once again in many places, including in Germany. Foreigners are threatened, especially anti-Asian racism is rampant. In a terrifying report of an attack on a South Korean couple in a Berlin subway, that counts Southgerman newspaper from May 22nd to what has happened to Asians in this country in the last few weeks: In Munich, two young Chinese women are attacked, spat at and insulted on the Harras. In Dresden, a Chinese man wearing a face mask is attacked with a brass knuckles. In Leipzig someone flicks a lit cigarette at a South Korean mother and her child; On the grounds of corona protective measures, a group of Japanese students is also expelled from the RB Leipzig stadium. In Berlin, a gynecologist no longer examines a patient of Chinese descent, and a singing student is initially not allowed to take the entrance exam at the Hanns Eisler University. Swastikas are smeared on the windows of Asian restaurants in Weingarten and Leipzig. A plaque of a Chinese Nazi victim was spotted in Hamburg, and so on and so on.
Almost everywhere people of Asian origin are currently exposed to sheer hatred, including in Great Britain, France, Sweden and of course the USA, where President Donald Trump speaks of the "China virus" and considers the disease to be a hostile attack from abroad. The spreading coronavirus suddenly reveals many dark sides of our societies, abuses that scream to heaven that we have forgotten or suppressed. For example the cruel conditions in Greek refugee camps. Or the devastating working conditions and unworthy housing for Eastern European asparagus pickers and workers in the meat industry.
Spotlight on the global south
The pandemic also highlights the blatant wealth gap between north and south. So far we have mainly looked at ourselves, at Europe and North America. But last week the Secretary General of the World Health Organization (WHO) turned his gaze to the rest of the world. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is extremely alarmed by the rapidly growing number of cases in the southern hemisphere. Global new infections registered within 24 hours are higher than ever because the virus strikes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
In these regions the epidemic is only just beginning. The possibilities of mastering them are much more difficult in many places. A war is raging in Yemen, there is practically no more medical care there. The United Nations fear that 16 of the 29 million Yemenis could become infected with the virus and tens of thousands could die from it. In the slums of Nairobi, Lagos, Mumbai or Rio de Janeiro, distance and hygiene regulations cannot be observed. Also, most people cannot afford to be absent from work if they have one. Brazil, whose right-wing extremist President Jair Bolsonaro is still downplaying the risk of the pandemic, is gradually catapulting itself to the sad top of the record holder for infection numbers and deaths.
The virus mainly affects the poor and the marginalized
And Covid-19 is turning the spotlight on another type of discrimination: in many countries, the victims are primarily poor, marginalized and members of ethnic minorities. In the super-rich states on the Persian Gulf, above all
Guest workers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh infected with the virus. They live in the tightest of dwellings in miserable circumstances and have to work even when they are sick. Otherwise there is no wage, they are threatened with deportation. And initial figures from the United States show that the virus is making dramatic differences there too, because conditions in this affluent country are so unequal and unjust. In America, illness and death hit black people first and foremost.
Reported that at the end of April New York Times MagazineIn a report that seven out of ten corona deaths in the state of Louisiana are African American, even though they make up only 33 percent of the local population. In Michigan, blacks represent only 14 percent of the population, but 40 percent of the deaths, in Wisconsin 7 percent of the population but 33 percent of the corona deaths, in Mississippi 38 percent of the population and 61 percent of the dead, in Chicago 30 percent of the population and 56 percent of the fatalities. In New York, blacks are twice as likely to die as whites.
The reasons are obvious: African Americans have jobs in which they can get infected more easily, they work as messengers or security guards in public and private buildings, as garbage collectors, bus drivers and in the care sector. They live far more often than others in cramped housing and in areas with high levels of air pollution and contaminated water and soil. Black people have less health insurance and more often suffer from previous illnesses that can quickly lead to death if infected with Covid-19: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and kidney problems. Why? Because the racism suffered every day affects health.
Indifference to the weak
Linda Villarosa, who wrote the article in New York Times Magazine and is currently writing a book about the particular plight of African-Americans, citing a large number of studies that have proven one thing over and over again for 130 years: Who is looking for a place to live, at school, at work, with the police, that is People are repeatedly discriminated against in public and private life, they breathe less quickly, suffer from high blood pressure, get sick and age faster than others.
As early as the end of the 19th century, the black American civil rights activist and sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois was investigating why African-Americans were particularly affected by epidemics. The greatest social problem, he wrote in 1899 The Philadelphia Negro, is the "strange attitude", the indifference of the nation towards the welfare of the black race, the poor and the marginalized. That is still the case today and applies - in a figurative sense - to the whole world.
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