Belgians with Asian roots report increased racism amid coronavirus fears
Thursday, 13 February 2020
An increasing number of people with Asian roots is experiencing racist and insulting comments since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19.
Not only do they notice an increase in racist remarks on social media, but they are also more often confronted with offensive remarks in real life, they said.
“People start barking at me. It’s very hurtful to get such reactions, because we are victims of the virus and very concerned about our family. And on top of that, remarks like ‘you deserve it when you eat weird things like that.’ Very hurtful. A virus is no excuse to be racist or xenophobic,” said Jeanne (15), who is half Chinese, reports VRT.
When Leonard (28) had sinusitis recently, he heard several remarks and jokes along the lines of “You did not bring the coronavirus with you, right?”. “I think it is regrettable, and a little annoying. But you can’t force people to be smart, I guess,” he said in a video on Instagram.
It is better to focus “on the real issues,” according to Tjeng (24). “I try to not let it get to me, because we do not have time for that. It is better to focus on not getting infected,” she said.
“We think it is certainly not appropriate to make racist statements on social media, based on a single population group. It is a virus, a kind of flu virus going around,” said Belgian Minister for Health, Maggie De Block, adding that she will raise the issue of racism at the meeting of European Health Ministers on Thursday, reports VRT.