Is Coronavirus increasing hate speech and scapegoating?
“Large-scale crises like COVID-19 risk an escalation of hate and prejudice”, writes Hugo Jones in a blog of GAAMAC partner Rights to Peace. The social and economic uncertainty entailed could be identified as key in the progression towards hate-based violence.
An immediate reaction to the spread of Coronavirus has been a rise in online prejudice and hate speech towards China. However, the increase in nativism and xenophobia is broader than simply an anti-Chinese sentiment with cases of harassment, prejudice and assault of foreigners reported from around the world.
COVID-19 has the potential to be a unifying force. Many governments have touted the collective spirit needed to carry out the measures which will curb the spread of infection – enforced lockdowns, mass social distancing and the pausing of economies. However more action needs to be taken in order to tackle hate speech, prejudice and misinformation emerging as a result of the Coronavirus, in order to protect those at risk of social repercussions.