TLDR: How can I help?
How do we start to put the fire out? It seems like 2020 couldn’t get any worse. If only boredom and being forced to stay at home were the biggest problems we had. Job security is worrisome for many and unemployment has reached scary numbers. I spoke to some of my friends and some are making more on unemployment than in their first year at an entry level job out of university. So most peoples plans are screwed for some time.
There are some industries that are pandemic-proof, especially if services are available for remote access. Industries such as e-commerce, online teaching, and online streaming services. At the same time, many film and television sectors are finding it hard to put create content due to worries about being out-and-about especially in areas that are heavily affected by the covid outbreak.
Some would also say that essential jobs are pandemic-proof, but I think it's scary to consider that a positive because many of these workers are among the first to be infected. Those who do work on the front lines dealing with covid are to be commended. They are real heroes. I don't know if I could do the jobs that they do day in and day out.
It’s becoming stressful to even get food safely. People were actually protesting being locked down. The right to not wear a mask. What? I can’t believe this actually happened.
Visas are getting denied for renewal. Xenophobia is spreading and some people are starting to believe that foreigners are the only carriers of the disease, despite the fact that the virus does not discriminate (unlike people). It’s like we regressing in terms of civil rights and acceptance.
It started again with general labeling of asians as infected individuals despite their lack of travel, contact infected individuals, which was at times based solely on their appearance or language that they were overheard speaking. I read somewhere that a Thai mother was telling her children to speak in Thai so that people would realize they weren’t Chinese. This is sad for two reasons: 1. that minorities are using the fact that they are not that specific type of minority, which should be the reason not to be grouped in the same category and 2. It's ok to throw certain minorities under the bus as long as you're not part of the group. #firsttheycamefor
Now is not the time to deflect all the xenophobic remarks and actions towards people of Chinese descent or on ethnicities that resemble Chinese people in anyway. Once this started happening, I started getting eerie reminders of how middle eastern and similar looking people were treated almost two decades ago. It was like when September 11th happened and many people didn’t know the difference between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs and they just generalized everyone. “They were all terrorists…” thought some of them. I knew some Hindus and Sikhs who would get upset, but then some would say "I’m not even muslim." Yes that’s true, but that shouldn’t be the reason why we should be upset or afraid of someone. I was upset too, but it wasn’t about being labeled as a muslim. So what if I were muslim? That wouldn’t inherently make me a terrorist.
The logic should be then same here. Sure if someone was actually infected with covid, it's perfectly sensible to be worried about being near them, but to treat people as if they are infected just because of their appearance or language being spoken? Nah no thanks. Not today.
We should be better than that. It’s not about not being Chinese, or even about being born in the U.S. instead of China. It’s about not discriminating against people because of a virus that you could have as easily as they could. Call out people when they are generalizing.
Now while I was thinking about all of these things, just when I thought the U.S. and the world had enough problems, the snowball of a problem with police brutality reached a melting point and turned into an avalanche, adding to the growing list of problems. What is the world coming to? We have enough problems as it is being in quarantine and trying to stay safe and healthy. We shouldn't need to worry about dying because we were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people, wearing the wrong thing, speaking the wrong way, or being the wrong skin color. How is this still happening?
This is overwhelming. I watch these videos on social media and I am so thankful for living in Tokyo at the moment where the most dangerous thing that could happen to me is someone coughing nearby. It scares me to know that the people I care about in the United States are in danger and not only from this pandemic.
I feel a little guilty because I’m not there. We post things on social media, but does it make a difference? Are we reaching out to the people that need to see our message? We can't just pray and hope for the best. It's not enough.
It's good to sign petitions and to post about how things should be, but we need to do that and have conversations with people who don’t agree with you. These are difficult and uncomfortable, but they need to happen. Having the conversation starts opening up others who would normally disagree to consider moving the needle towards something reasonable.
I’m talking about people who have a family member who is a police officer. I’m talking about the neighbor who calls people derogatory terms and uses them as jokes. I’m talking about the younger siblings who make jokes because they don’t know any better. I’m talking about our elders in the family who others say not to question and not to worry about what they think or say because they are too old. I’m talking about people who enable this to happen when they see it. Please do what you can.
I haven’t had all negative experiences with police officers in the U.S, but the majority have been. I hope we can heal. Not only from the communicable diseases, but from prejudice and hatred. I don’t think I want to end on a positive note. Change needs to happen. We need to start with how people view others and change the way we behave toward them as well as teach others how to do the same. Let's do what we can!