by Val Thompson
For over a century the United States has been seen as an exceptional nation and a model of fairness. A leader in the rule of law and a respected arbitrator for global disputes. Its monetary system is the envy of the world. The US dollar is preferred and the reserve note of most nations in the international monetary system. Also, for over a century the US have enjoyed this position through trade and travel and have created a society for the most part of fair minded citizens. However, for all the great achievements the US have accomplished, there remains a dark side of discriminatory, xenophobic and harsh treatment endured by its non-white citizens. The soil of the US is stained with the blood of African slaves, Asian, Arab, Hispanic and Native Americans. To be clear, discriminatory and xenophobic treatment derives from systemic racism within the US since its inception. When there is a global crisis systemic racism festers and oozes out.
National leaders who lack the skills of problem solving find themselves looking for blame and scapegoats. A deep rooted hatred of those who don’t look like, pray like, or celebrate like us is always just below the surface of the American society waiting to be exploited by these race and xenophobic baiting leaders appealing to the worst of American society. These times are when misinformation and conspiracy theories are activated. Misinformation in the form of those people will eat anything or they are plotting against us.
There’s now a global pandemic Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is deadly, very dangerous and must be defeated. It was first seen in Wuhan, China and has spread across the globe into most nations around the world. This pandemic is global and must be defeated with a collaborative effort by all nations. It doesn’t matter where a pandemic allegedly originated, it affects all mankind. We are citizens of the earth. When any of us, as human beings are suffering, then we all are suffering.
This is why it’s so disheartening to hear the President of the US calling the Coronavirus pandemic a “China virus” along with some of his supporters using the derogatory term of “Kung Flu” Even some of the leaders from the President’s party showing a lack of courage spewing divisive language in the Chinese community. This attitude is not helpful and does nothing to defeat the coronavirus. The helpful action would be to learn from nations like China who’ve had the COVID-19 experience early. Then be quick to mobilize your team of experts and fight the disease appropriately. Irrespective of how the COVID-19 emerged, the Chinese government decided to take action quickly. They built a large hospital in the city of the epicenter of the Corona outbreak Wuhan. Although there has been a staggering toll on life and to the economy in China, due to the quick actions by the Chinese government there’s been a reduction of loss of life and their economy is beginning to stabilize.
No nation is perfect, all nations have made mistakes and misjudgments. There are always lessons to be learned and there will always be challenges for the only race that matters is the human race that resides on planet earth. In hindsight, the US should have adopted stringent coronavirus infection control measures comparable to the measures that had long been in effect in all the other high income countries of the world.. The US certainly should have pursued additional infection control measures in an effort to become the world’s leader in preventing deaths from COVID-19. The world should take all measures available to win the war with the coronavirus. Getting accurate information in the hands of the public is critical during public health crises when collective anxiety is already high.
As the Corona virus is considered a disease, racism and xenophobia is a disease, a cancerous malignant tumor that needs to be removed and must be eradicated for the US to become true to its declaration. Racism is also a global issue, it must be eradicated globally by all nations who have racist and xenophobic issues within their borders. The fight against racism begins at the top. World leaders must play a major role in denouncing racist and xenophobic rhetoric and behavior. This frightful time for the world could also be a moment of reflection to the understanding that we are in a global community, what affects any or the least of us, affects all of us.
Publisher & CEO, International Focus Magazine