Wednesday, 19 May, 2021
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OPINION

Shun Racism



Bini Dahal

On March 8 this year, eight people lost their lives in a mass shooting at a massage parlour located in Georgia state of the United States of America (USA). Four among them were of South Korean descent. The security personnel have already arrested a 21-year-old man suspected to be the attacker. This act of violence has been called to be deliberate towards the Asian-American population living there.
Racism is not a new issue in the Western world. What is worrying is that the number incidents of hate against Asian descents, in particular, have been going up. This can be considered an aftereffect of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time, the virus disease was detected in the City of Wuhan in China. Researches have indicated that tweets made by prominent personalities such as former US President Donald Trump calling the COVID-19 as “Chinese virus” became a major reason for a surge in the anti-Asian hashtags.
It is upsetting that researchers from the University of California in San Francisco found 1.2 million anti-Asian hashtags after examining a total of 700,000 tweets. According to them, these hashtags resulted in hate crimes and the formation of hate groups. From 2019 to 2020, hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased by an alarming 149 per cent, even though in overall they decreased by seven per cent during the pandemic in the USA.
If we remember, a Nepali driver was attacked by three American women in California recently. When they did not heed the driver’s word to wear a mask, they turned violent towards him and harassed him. What is really disturbing is that they were confident of being left even after acting inhumanly. Not just in the USA, people of Asian descents living in the United Kingdom, too, have become a target of growing racist thinking and activities.
Earlier, education and awareness were thought to be important for decreasing the situation of racism. Tougher rules are now needed to prevent such inhuman activities. If the feeling of hatred is high in countries that are proud of their diversity, what can we expect from a homogenous society like ours? At least, it is a relief to say that we have not experienced such extreme measures. But we cannot be sure of our future.
Many people leave their home countries and settle down abroad for better career opportunities and for a peaceful life. Yet, many of them forget that they are not as welcome as they should be. While settling down in a foreign country is itself a very difficult decision to make, the daily struggle against growing hate makes it much tougher to handle.
Not just people who have migrated, those who were American or British citizens with Asian descents have been a target of unwarranted words and actions. The amount of love they show towards their native land turns into a complete disappointment when other countries and people do not reciprocate them.
Stereotyping needs to be stopped. Countries in the Western world should come up with laws and regulations to deal with such uncivilised and barbaric behaviours. We have become separated from one another because of a very silly and childish reason. The idea of superiority and inferiority seems to have plagued some of our minds. It is time to brush such mind-sets out completely for all people to live in a peaceful and harmonious manner.