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Bigotry: The Other Virus

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues and the delta variant creates more uncertainty, the surge in anti-Asian racism and hate crimes also shows no sign of subsiding, according to a recent report.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Asians and people of Asian descent have been targets of racism and discrimination. Initially, “Chinatowns” were notably avoided in many large cities such as San Francisco and New York City. It didn’t take long for unwarranted suspicion, fear, and hatred to spread, and Asian Americans to be subjected to bullying, beatings, and tragic deaths, as evidenced in the shootings in several Atlanta spas.

Vast swaths of the country have embraced conspiracy theories that target Asians. So, who is spreading this hateful rhetoric? Not surprisingly, one example is former President Donald Trump. His use of terms such as “China virus and “kung flu” has added fuel to the fire of anti-Asian hate speech. His more recent comments have spread all over social media, giving his followers a presidential license to attack innocent Asian Americans.

Many people have used the coronavirus to validate their own racist views. As one woman explained during a USA Today interview: “There have been a lot of people who just use this fear to justify racism against Asian people and to scapegoat Asian people for their fear of the Coronavirus.”

It is well known that the coronavirus is not tied to any particular ethnic group, race, or even religion—these are the talking points of ignorant racists who, throughout history, have unjustly targeted minority groups. In the Middle Ages, Jews were widely scapegoated for causing the “Great Plague.” The 1918 influenza outbreak that resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide was known as the “Spanish Flu,” yet scientists are still uncertain of the flu’s origin.

Silence and inaction result in the spread (like a virus) of this bigoted and discriminatory behavior. Cornel West observed in his book, Race Matters:

“To engage in a serious discussion of race in America, we must begin…with the flaws of American society—flaws rooted in historic inequalities and longstanding cultural stereotypes. How we set up the terms for discussing racial issues shapes our perception and response to these issues.”

I agree. We must recognize and combat those flaws, inequities, and stereotypes, which

continue to keep minorities oppressed—break down barriers, conquer fear, and speak out

against racist and ethnic violence. We must stop scapegoating minority ethnic groups.

We are better than this.

Mark M. Bello, a trial lawyer, is the author of “Betrayal in Black" and other ‘ripped from the headlines’ Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thrillers available on and other online booksellers. For more information, please visit Mark also is co-host of the new podcast, Justice Counts, now streaming.

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