ADADJust as in 2003 with SARS, we again face a possible global outbreak of a new and relatively unknown virus.
Almost as soon as it emerged, the SARS virus was racialized within the popular imagination and inextricably linked to images of the Asian body as disease vectors.
Some journalists linked the SARS outbreak to sensationalized accounts of Chinese open-air wet markets, Chinese consumption of “weird” meat and China’s “unsanitary” practices.
Meanwhile, scientists point out that the general public’s most effective protection against contracting SARS, coronavirus, or even the flu virus is frequent hand-washing — not racism.
History tells us that racism will only escalate further as it is fanned by growing anxiety of a coronavirus pandemic, and after our experiences with the 2003 SARS outbreak, the Asian American community is once again bracing for impact.