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Responding to Coronavirus Racism

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The Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Real Conversations, Real People speaker series hosted a virtual forum about responding to coronavirus racism. 

Student facilitators Sarah Goraya ’21 and Emma Weber ’21and Interim Director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs Koyen Shah led the discussion.

Four Takeaways from the Conversation: 

  1. Some have called the coronavirus an equalizer. In March, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said “everyone is subject to this virus. I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are.” But the virus is disproportionately taking a toll on certain groups of people.
     

  2. When people feel afraid, they have a tendency to unfairly blame and stigmatize. The forum focused on people of Chinese and Asian heritage who have been targeted with hate speech, acts of vandalism, and violence related to coronavirus. These incidents aren't isolated and the FBI has issued a warning that hate crime incidents will likely increase.
     

  3. There are steps we can take to prevent discrimination during this outbreak. Sarah and Emma shared Teaching Tolerance's — an organization that helps teachers and schools educate youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy —strategies to help students navigate their personal communication:

    • interrupt

    • question

    • educate

    • and echo
       

  4.  The forum also discussed: 

    • successful efforts to address this coronavirus-related racism on social media

    • cited helpful statements made by leaders condemning such acts

    • and described efforts by advocacy groups and law enforcement to track such incidents.

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