OPINIONS

Racism gone viral – and there’s no vaccine

Eric Loo

6 Feb 2020, 10:03 pm

Updated 2 months ago

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COMMENT | Asians of Chinese ancestry comprise about 17 percent of Sydney’s five million population. And, that’s to be deduced as "17 percent of potential coronavirus carriers"? (Just last week, a passing motorist hurled racist slurs at my daughter, who had a mask on, walking home from work in Sydney).

Call it common sense risk avoidance, rational discrimination, over-reaction, or whatever. Euphemisms can’t mask the racism currently infecting Asian-dominant suburbs.

I am not that surprised. There’s an underlying xenophobia in Australia - from Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigration politics in 1997 to the racialised Sars epidemic in 2002, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012, and the 2019-nCov today.

Having said that, racism in Australia is "prevented" by federal anti-discrimination laws. Victims have legal recourse to the Australian Human Rights Commission. And, the Australian "fair-go" ethos is a plus, even as I am under no illusion that ...  

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