A global pandemic of widespread racism and intolerance
Thoughts on the epidemic of coronavirus, queer Asian love, evolutions of friendships, and extra reading on the virus.
|Steven Wakabayashi||Mar 4|| 2|
It's been a tough few weeks. Not only do we have a global crisis on our hands, but we also have rampant xenophobia hurting Asians around the world. From San Francisco to London, news to social media, and personal stories from my friends, one of the most damaging aspects of this virus is has been the racism that has followed.
If we take a look at how social media has responded to other events, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral burning down in Paris (with 0 deaths), the amount of prayers, money, and support have been astonishingly different. Currently, almost 3,000 people have died from this virus in Mainland China. (Live count of coronavirus cases around the world)
A few things to consider and my thoughts on the situation:
Just because you are Chinese, doesn't mean you have the virus. Just because you aren't Chinese, doesn't mean you won't get the virus. And no, you will not catch the coronavirus just by eating at your local Chinese restaurant or walking through your local Chinatown.
Look at what's happening in Italy and South Korea. Viruses don't discriminate, and neither should we. Racist politicians and business leaders have put more effort into passing prejudice reforms rather than being proactive with their people. We have to look inward before it becomes an even more significant issue for everyone. Racism has never paid off in history.
The origins of this virus could have come from anywhere. Instead of blaming an ethnic group for the wet markets, where live and dead animals kept in close captivity for consumption, we should scrutinize the cultural and socioeconomic conditions that lead to the need to create these wet markets in the first place.
Reality is, for as long as we consume animals or animal byproducts, such as cosmetics and animal skin bags, these markets will continue to exist as cost-effective means to buy and sell animals, especially for poor communities.
We should not downplay the severity of this. Yes, more people have died from the regular flu this season. But even more people die from hunger or unsanitary water every year. Why do we feel the need to compare body counts? Why do we need a few hundred thousand more to die before we accept this as a fact? And why do we need someone close to us to die before it becomes a reality and not just a Facebook post or Instagram story?
This is not a competition of which viruses are more important (non-profit spaces fight over this already). We should be trying our best to prevent more deaths as much as we have the knowledge and resources to provide.
On the flip side, the media has done two terrible things.
First is the inaccurate reporting from international news sources corroborating with local government, and second, the frenzied covering it around the world.
Reputable journalism is needed more than ever, especially in these moments. When politicians govern our "free" words, they are at the mercy of human inadequacy—ego, jealousy, envy. We should support our independent journalists around the world for their in-depth coverage of issues like this.
But these organizations stay afloat through ads. Ads work when there are a lot of eyes. This has resulted in the frenzied covering of any popular issue until the next hot topic comes along.
With that said, for one's sanity and mindfulness, a few minutes of reading a day is all that's needed for updates. I find that most of the content flooding the system is extremely repetitive. When facts are exhausted, the only things left are endless opinions and predictions of things that haven't yet happened. The future is infinite, but our time isn't.
Lastly, if you are freaking out, the reality is... there isn't much we can do to change what has happened. All we can do is to make the best decisions we can today and plan for a better tomorrow. Wash your hands. Sleep. Reduce stress. Avoid straining your body. Stay happy. All of these have been proven to improve our immunity far greater than external supplements.
Our greatest panacea to fight an infection is right within ourselves. No amount of rubbing alcohol or disposable face masks will give us the healing we have yet to provide ourselves with first.
Queer Asian Love
I've been hard at work this month, getting two really special projects up and running. The first is an interview with Alex Lee. He is currently running for California State Assembly, and if elected, would be the youngest Asian bisexual member.
The second project is a series of interviews with other queer Asian on their perspectives on love, dating, and relationships. I also had each guest do an episode on my Yellow Glitter podcast diving in deeper into their background and story.
Check these stories out.
How Relationships Change Over Time
The New Yorker artist Olivia de Recat has perfectly illustrated the complex dynamics of human relationships by drawing lines, and they will have you smiling and crying at the same time.
I didn't think I could get so emotional over lines. The dog and parent ones got to me. Notice where the lines start and end.
Additional reading on the coronavirus
As always, thanks for reading!
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Have a beautiful day!