Dallas, Texas, April 12, 2020 – The “I am not a virus” mantra, which Asians around the world shared, is applicable to all humans regardless of skin color, citizenship or ethnicity.
News sources and AIELOC members based in China revealed that people of African origin are being evicted and denied services at businesses and other establishments such as restaurants. This is in response to an increase in COVID-19 infections and the blatantly racist and unfactual belief that persons of a certain skin color are carrying the virus. An April 1, 2020 PBS News Hour, details anecdotes shared by individuals globally. The report confirms what AIELOC is hearing and now tracking: “As novel coronavirus spreads around the globe, so have xenophobic misinformation, harassment, discrimination and insults.”
AIELOC unequivocally and absolutely condemns these acts of racial discrimination. We are also concerned by the growing number of these cases on a daily basis. AIELOC calls on international education organizations (AAIE, EARCOS, NESA, AISH, Principals’ Training Center, The International Educator, W Lead Asia, Diversity Collaborative, and ACAMIS) to reach out to heads of schools and directors to ensure a response and that an action plan is immediately put in place for staff, families, and students impacted.
On April 12 we asked AIELOC members based in China:
- What response have you received from your community, board, and leadership to this alarming rise in discrimination against Africans and Black Americans?
- What support are teachers and students being impacted receiving?
Below are some of the responses:
- “I plan on emailing my head of school about it tomorrow.”
- “It has been radio silence where I am. Those of us that are African and Black American are very concerned because it could trickle to other areas. They are already skeptical of foreigners and we have to go through an extra layer of security.”
- “My South African colleagues were forced into quarantine even after testing negative. My school hasn’t outright addressed the behavior for what it is: racism and the targeting of people with black skin with Africans of other races simply being collateral damage. As a black community, we’re always going to support each other, and that has happened beautifully. At this point, the mantra is to help where you can and to report racist incidents. In terms of my school, I want to know how they plan to support our safety and well-being in light of this official report.”
News Sources and References
- African Nations, US Decry Racism Against Blacks in China (https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/04/11/world/africa/ap-af-virus-outbreak-africa.html)
- ‘I am not a virus.’ How this artist is illustrating coronavirus-fueled racism
- Email sent on April 11, 2020 from U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China to American Citizens in China email list-serv entitled: Health Alert: U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China (April 11, 2020).
- US Embassy China Alerts and Messages (https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/archive-alerts-messages/)
The Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) is devoted to amplifying the work of international educators and leaders of color with a focus on advocacy, learning, and research.
For further information, please contact Kevin Simpson, Founder of AIELOC
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