Any day is a good day for racism
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
There is no hour when the siren call of hatred will go unheard, nor a reprise from the wicked at heart; neither strife, nor flood nor pandemic can halt the onwards march of racism. The global COVID-19 pandemic has born an opportunity that no self-respecting racist can pass by; from the streets of England to the boardrooms of France, at a podium on the White house lawn or in a parking lot here in Vancouver there is always enough hatred to go around, even if the toilet paper runs out.
On April 1, 2020, Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin hospital in Paris, made a blatantly racist hierarchy of the importance of human life: “If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation? A bit like it is done elsewhere for some studies on Aids. In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.” He apologized shortly after. But yes, in that statement Mira did indeed compare EVERY African to prostitutes and imply that they were the best people to test drugs on before Western distribution. It is clear that the head of Cochin’s intensive care ward truly sees all humans as equally valid to existence. Certainly, one would imagine that countries like Spain and Italy whose death toll from COVID-19 is now north of 12,000 would be more likely to take on an experimental drug than a continent of over 1.2 billion with 10,000 cases and 500 deaths (as of this writing). …but no, Jean-Paul Mira would rather be “provocative” and use Africans as if they were lab rats. Not human beings with lives and needs of their own, but something akin to an AIDS-ridden prostitute to be experimented on and cast aside.
The president of the “free world” has insisted day-in and day-out to call the virus from Wuhan by a much simpler name that cleaves closer to his “America first” principles: the China virus. The president has been so ardent in his stance that various extreme right-wing outlets have gone so far as to dub COVID-19 as “Kung-flu”, taking the lead of CBS reporter Weijia Jiang’s poorly veiled smear invention. One would hate to think it was done begrudgingly but Trump has recently agreed to stop calling it the “China virus”; perhaps it was only last week the months and months of reports about rising animosity towards Asians around the globe finally filtered to his desk. Maybe he just realized that Asian Americans vote and if you want to win an election in nine months you should avoid smearing them as virus spreaders. Still, with the minority lowlifes of society spitting at Asians on the streets of the Netherlands, cursing them in Vancouver, and assaulting them in England, that is one small step too late.
In a moment of clarity Kanye West once said “Racism is still alive; they just be concealing it.” More accurately it seems that racism is still alive and no one is confronting it. Well, at least not in the government offices where laws are made and press conferences thought out. Or in hospitals and pharmaceutical labs where trials are planned and test groups identified. It seems to be that for all the lip service about a changing and better world too many people are too willing to drag old evils along forever.