Articles, Blog

Why fear, hatred, and xenophobia has gone viral with COVID-19

March 12, 2020

With the ongoing spread of the coronavirus
around the world, xenophobia is also on the rise from loaded hashtags on social media
to physical violence on the streets of some major cities.
We’ve seen numerous reports of people of Asian descent primarily East Asians from China,
Japan and South Korea being accused of carrying the COVID-19 virus and facing discrimination
and even assault in both verbal and physical forms.
But now, xenophobia is also rising against non-Asian ethnicities too, as the disease
spreads within continental Europe. To look into this worrying phenomenon, we
connect with Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, Doctor of Medicine and medical journalist based in New York.
We also have Dr. Diana Yeh, Senior Lecturer of Sociology at City University of London.
But before we delve into the issue of xenophobia,… I’d like to ask you, first, Dr. Lee a brief
question about the World Health Organisation’s decision to label the COVID-19 a global pandemic.
First, do you think it was a timely decision given criticism it came far too late? And
do you think the outbreak is still manageable as the WHO claims?
Pandemic isn’t a word that’s used lightly as it can incite panic. Of course, we’ve already
seen this happening,… which helped give rise to a wave of xenophobia. Which is our
main topic of discussion today Dr. Diana Yeh, you’ve been studying racism and ethnicity
for years in the UK,… where you’ve highlighted ‘invisible’ discrimination against East Asians.
It’s become quite conspicuous now. What worries you most about this surge of xenophobia? Dr. Lee, when it comes to anti-Asian sentiment,
we saw this with SARS in the early 2000s. What makes this coronavirus outbreak different
bringing out more racist behavior compared to previous outbreaks like SARS or MERS? Dr. Yeh, people of East Asian descent are
underrepresented in many aspects of mainstream culture. Generally speaking, most aren’t
confrontational and won’t speak out as often as other ethnic groups. Do you think this
crisis could become an eye-opener for the Asian community? Dr. Lee, a French newspaper has used a bunch
of inflammatory headlines including the word “Yellow ” and described the virus as “yellow
peril”. Do you think the media is fueling such racism and what do you think the media
should do to be a part of the solution, not the problem? It’s also up to us as members of society to
educate ourselves and stand up for those who are being irrationally targeted.
There are hashtags such as #iwilleatwithyou trending on social
media to support Chinese/Asian restaurants and other
things as well. You are actually an organiser of this movement. How has the reaction been
to the hashtag. Is there anything else we can do to combat racism? That’s where we have to wrap up this discussion.
If you want to join the #iwilleatithyou movement, you can find it on Twitter.
As another hashline goes, Asians are not a virus. But what does spread sickness is the
irrational placement of stigma, fear and hatred that causes division in times where solidarity
is needed more than ever. Thank you for your time today, Dr. Bruce Y. Lee and Dr. Diana Yeh, joining us from New York
and London.


  • Reply Rj lives March 12, 2020 at 12:13 am

    Christianity has become a plague to South Korea.

  • Reply Nicos Mastoras March 12, 2020 at 12:21 am

    No time for feelings!! I’m Greek and when Greeks mess up I tell it how it is!!

  • Reply Coco LuLu March 12, 2020 at 12:21 am

    Weaponized flu to take out preplanned racially targeted Asians watch utube called alpha zebra bill Ryan Anglo saxons mission and aplanetruth 4u

  • Reply CASTOR March 12, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Get rid of China the biggest asian trouble maker of all time then transfer mass manufacturing to india and everything will be fine.

  • Reply Renaissance Novice March 12, 2020 at 12:31 am

    Don't whine about rude people. Ignore them.

  • Reply Indo Evropa March 12, 2020 at 12:34 am

    I'm unsubscribing over this one. Shame on you guys.

  • Reply Marxism is evil March 12, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Speaking as an asian, PC killed western culture. People dropping PC is a good thing.

  • Reply bl8danjil March 12, 2020 at 12:49 am

    I only came here because the thumbnail shows a block party going on with the Wuhan Virus as as the title.

  • Reply bigfanofbraxtons March 12, 2020 at 12:53 am

    This discrimination is what people of color face every day. Xenophobia is pure ignorance

  • Reply Friedrich Marx March 12, 2020 at 12:56 am

    Nice we have race baiting Asians here, not the whites and blacks fault it started in Asia.

  • Reply R. Steinbrenner March 12, 2020 at 1:06 am

    stop eating batsoup.

    After SARS in 2003 that was traced back to unsanitary wildlife markets with bats, civet cats, rats, dogs, cats, and other animals. Illegal wildlife markets were banned. But this was never enforced. Now you bat soup eaters gave us corona again caused by illegal wildlife markets. After a doctor reported he was arrested and threatened by the communist pig party of china. So stop eating batsoup.

  • Reply Barry Allen March 12, 2020 at 1:19 am

    Xenophobia? You mean a statistically backed survival instinct?

  • Reply Herb Hutson March 12, 2020 at 1:28 am

    You have to be kidding me, we are in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC and your worried about this stupid shit right now. This is disgusting and I hope this channel goes under for this one. My wife is asian…she is pissed off about the virus and sees that this is caused by China…f china.

  • Reply zerosister March 12, 2020 at 1:33 am

    No one at work is talking about anything because everyone is scared of NOT BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT.

  • Reply MAI March 12, 2020 at 1:47 am

    I'm Vietnamese, I didn't have that problem where I live, white Americans still smile at me and my kids when we're out. They still walk close or passed by.

  • Reply paul kim March 12, 2020 at 2:02 am

    love toward each other, kill all the virus.

  • Reply JasonLarsen TheDanishGreek March 12, 2020 at 2:10 am


  • Reply Ds Khan March 12, 2020 at 2:28 am

    The hate and racism will let die very easily.

  • Reply anywhere from March 12, 2020 at 2:45 am

    just an excuse. racial competition exists all the time no matter coronavirus exist or not

  • Reply Sam Law March 12, 2020 at 2:52 am

    No one wants to see a scientist speaking politically.
    The man claims that we don't name the virus after it's initial infection location because viruses travel around, except in this instance where we know the exact cause and location of contamination. I have no patience for this political nonsense.

  • Reply The Ghost of Judah Tribe March 12, 2020 at 3:34 am

    Your virus, your backlash. Your hygiene is AWFUL.

  • Reply melon shop March 12, 2020 at 4:31 am


  • Reply Jiyoung Lee March 12, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Why can't we just all get along? Racism towards any ethnicity or group is just WRONG!

  • Reply ThisGrl Here March 12, 2020 at 4:53 am

    Oh yea Thanks China!

  • Reply Miami799 March 12, 2020 at 4:54 am

    The discussion was about racism in Europe, Trump is president of the USA. The USA is not in Europe. Why did she mention Trump? Everyone cannot say anything without mentioning him.

  • Reply citrenoogeht March 12, 2020 at 4:58 am

    Ain’t funny how you people are so happy to talk about racism when you are facing it but you are so quiet at the vile racist acts that you perpetrate.

  • Reply Дедушка Ленин March 12, 2020 at 5:39 am


  • Reply katekrissana March 12, 2020 at 6:08 am

    Chinese and South Korean

  • Reply PM V March 12, 2020 at 6:13 am

    Cool buzzwords but it is not racist to want to avoid a potentially life ending disease.  BTW, Spain got stuck with the Spanish Flu and that came out of China as well.

  • Reply NWKB March 12, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Trying so hard to copy Western media you even use their race baiting tactics.

  • Reply Handmade byFashundoll March 12, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Bullshit…the Virus "ORIGINATED" in Wuhan, China..the Caseload verifies that..then "TRAVELLED" to the Rest of the World

  • Reply PHILIP NIM March 12, 2020 at 9:05 am


  • Reply Titof Egor March 12, 2020 at 9:25 am

    China: eating rats and bats
    Also china when covid19 appeared: pokemon surprised face.

  • Reply Priest Brooklyn March 12, 2020 at 11:47 am

    Thank you China for World Pollution, Fake food, fentanyl, Coronavirus etc. 🏴‍☠️🇨🇳🖕🏿 #Karachi

  • Reply Marc H March 12, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Time to get away!

  • Reply Rafal Krukowski March 12, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Globalism and one world government will NEVER work. Every country deserves a homeland and homogenous community.

  • Reply 生万 March 12, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Because they forgot we are human 1st before our beliefs/races/colours😒😒😒

  • Reply Cpt. Rusty March 12, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    People should calm down and stop seeking information from unreliable sources. ALSO! Attacking anyone over this is not going to make it go away. It is surely more likely to get you sick, if you get into a physical confrontation with someone who carries the virus. Verbal or Social Media bullying shouldn't be taken that seriously. Groups can ban this people and people who post racist content on their pages are not forcing you to look or listen to their dumb ideias, just ignore them. Attacking "racist" people only fuels their motives.

  • Reply Virat Sharma March 12, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you China

  • Reply Chris March 12, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    You’re going to bring racism into this.. get over your selves! you’re all idiots!

    I wonder why you never see in the news all the white kids being beaten and abused by ethnics?

  • Reply Fact Checker March 12, 2020 at 7:28 pm


  • Reply Roland Strauss March 12, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    WTF, now you want to weaponize the virus for leftist BS?

  • Reply vincent vanWyk March 12, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    Don't care. Not going near a Chinese take out. Their animal cruelty has caught up with them.

  • Reply crome March 12, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    They only speak of racism when it affects them. They don't care when if affect any other groups.

  • Reply crome March 12, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Bats are not delicious

  • Reply Brian Patrick March 12, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    black eyed peas – WHERE IS THE LOVE?

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