While coronavirus has killed and infected far fewer people than influenza, it has most of the world in a panic. People are falling for misinformation and targeting anyone who looks Asian and Italian as having the disease. It’s leading to frightening and sad situations in many countries.
Reports of xenophobia are growing and posing concerning as the abusive acts are targeting all ages. In London, a student from Singapore was badly beaten by four other men who made comments about “not wanting coronavirus” in their country. Two teenagers were arrested for racially-motivated aggravated assault. The victim was left with significant facial injuries.
That’s not the first time situations like this have happened. In the Netherlands, a Korean woman was the victim of an attempted assault while riding her bike home. The men who attacked her yelled “Chinese” while trying to hit her. She was able to stay on her bicycle, but it made her fearful of being alone.
There are reports of attackers yelling “all Chinese people have coronavirus.” An Italian restaurant posted a sign telling people from China to say out. Shoppers are avoiding Asians in stores, and some Asians are being asked to leave public transportation modes, restaurants, shops, and classrooms.
Parents of school-aged children are keeping children home if the children have Asian classmates. A group of boys in Canada demanded a pair of Chinese boys play a game called “test for coronavirus.” Even in the U.S, there’s discrimination. A Washington University student heard other students talking about their fears of coronavirus and how that university has an abundance of Chinese students. Some Asian students report that if they sit down to eat, others in the area will get up and move.
These racist comments and attacks have led to the hashtag #JeSuisPasUnVirus in France. It’s led to people of Asian descent feeling that they have to explain that while they have Asian heritage, they are not necessarily Chinese or have ever visited China. As this xenophobic behavior is happening everywhere, some cities are condemning the acts. The mayor of Canada is one of them. The hope is that sense will prevail, but it’s complicated by people spreading misinformation about the virus.
Know the Facts
Know the facts about coronavirus and share them with others. As misinformation spreads, the best preventative measure people can take is to be educated and correct others who try to spread false information. You can’t stop everyone from misunderstanding this virus, but every little bit helps.
Coronavirus is spread from one person to another through respiration and saliva. If you’re within around six feet of an infectious person who coughs, there is the chance that you’ll breathe in some of those droplets or touch something the droplets landed on. As a result, your best chance at avoiding the virus is to keep your distance from people who are actively coughing and sneezing. Wash hands after touching things in public areas, such as door handles, keypads, cart handles, or items on shelves.
If you’re sick or know anyone who is, say home. Don’t go to work or school. Stay at home for two weeks or longer. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure how long you should self-quarantine.
Recognize the symptoms. Within as little as two days and up to two weeks, people with coronavirus have a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. It’s going to be pretty similar to the flu. If someone looks like they have the flu, keep your distance. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor.
What Do You Do If You’re a Target At Work?
If you’ve experienced any comments about coronavirus due to your race or ethnicity, know you’re not alone. That doesn’t make it easier, but it’s happening everywhere. If you’re being asked to work from home when your co-workers go to the office, there’s a problem. If your kids are telling you that they’re being picked on for having the virus, there’s a problem. If your coworkers are mistreating you, your boss is stereotyping you, and you are being treated differently than other employees, there’s a problem. An experienced lawyer in employment and discrimination laws can help you understand your rights.
If your race or ethnicity is leading to problems at work, call Shegerian Conniff. If you’re being targeted for reasons tied to a Coronavirus outbreak, you cannot be treated differently than your co-workers. The racial discrimination and employment law attorneys at Shegerian Conniff offer confidential consultations for free. You’ll have the answers you need to decide if you could sue your employer for discrimination. Reach us at 310-322-7500.