More than a year after the coronavirus pandemic hit, Asians across the world are under a storm of hate on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Governments have been urged by national watchdogs, and human rights agencies to take take urgent steps to prevent racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, recently said that “the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scaremongering,” and urged governments to “act now to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate.”
The social media hate seems to be fanning out like wildfire, as in several countries, the pandemic is yet to be contained, this, in turn, falsely ends up putting Asians under the spotlight as the sole reason for the virus. Nairobi’s social media space is no exception. Several meme posting pages, it has been noted, contains substance that relates to the Chinese race as reprehensible.
Government leaders and senior officials in some instances have directly or indirectly encouraged hate crimes, racism, or xenophobia by using anti-Chinese rhetoric. Several political parties and groups, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and Germany have also latched onto the COVID-19 crisis to advance anti-immigrant, white supremacist, ultra-nationalist, anti-semitic, and xenophobic conspiracy theories that demonise refugees, foreigners, prominent individuals, and political leaders.
Increases in racist rhetoric have coincided with increases in online racist attacks. Since February, Asians and people of Asian descent around the world have been subjected to name-calling, unruly messages and threats on their lives, all these derogatory slurs appear linked to the pandemic.
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