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We must stop the hate spreading with the coronavirus

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu
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The coronavirus is a new disease that can be fatal and seems capable of spreading rapidly – people are feeling some fear and that’s OK.

What’s not OK – what’s never OK – is letting your fear turn into hatred.

I’m seeing disturbing reports about the rise of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian racism sparked by coronavirus fears:

  • Blaming the disease on Chinese culture.
  • Assuming that you’re more likely to contract the disease from somebody who is from Asia, or even just looks like they might be.
  • Avoiding Asian restaurants or businesses.

They’re all examples of racism, and thanks to social media, they seem to be spreading faster than the disease itself. They have to stop.

Disease control experts tell us we all have a role to play in the fight against coronavirus – we have to wash our hands and cover our mouths when we sneeze.

We all also have a role to play in the fight against racism. We have to understand that a country and a culture are not to blame for any disease. And we have to think before we speak, especially when it’s on social media.

I have no doubt we’ll beat the coronavirus. But let’s make sure that it doesn’t leave us infected with hate.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU President