Xenophobia and Disease Outbreaks

The United States of America is a country comprised of immigrants. Despite this fact, Americans have a history of discrimating certain ethnic or racial groups. 

Under various presidents, there has been immense discrimination against minorities, such as Mexican and Latino groups. This is especially evident under the Trump administration, where he has often mentioned the idea of “building a wall” between Mexico and America. 

However, the recent coronavirus outbreak seems to have shifted the hatred towards oriental groups. Some folks have blamed China on creating a biological weapon, while others have used newspaper headlines to their advantage to spread hate.

While xenophobia is strongly routed in American history, disease outbreaks especially aid feelings of hatred towards ethnic groups. In fact, the coronavirus is not the only case. In 2014, the Ebola crisis led to racism directed to the those of African American descent. 

As a result, I feel that there is a craving amongst Americans to target and be hateful towards certain groups. They seem to find any reason to discriminate minorities and this needs to change. 

5 thoughts on “Xenophobia and Disease Outbreaks

  1. Paige M

    I completely agree. I find it so odd that Americans are so quick to target and discriminate against certain groups in times like these. It makes absolutely no sense why Americans can blame and discriminate against an entire group of people for the virus. Unfortunately, it is not surprising because as you mentioned, xenophobia is strongly rooted in American history.


    1. Leah J

      I agree as well. Any time this is an outbreak like this, Americans are so quick to place the blame on others, even those they know well. I wonder why so many people are okay with joking about corona or with Trump referring to it as the “Chinese Virus”. What does that say about how those people were raised and what things they hear from their families in order to do that?


  2. Monty E

    I agree. Americans love to place the blame for things like this on anyone but themselves. White Americans specifically always find someone else to blame, because it is easier to target a minority group than take on some responsibility for what’s happening. Although Coronavirus started in China, it would not have spread to the US in nearly the capacity it is in right now if Trump had taken action earlier and handled this situation well. Yet in a recent poll, most white Americans say that Trump has been doing a great job handling the pandemic.


  3. I hear you, Natalie. The US has a long history of xenophobia — and Orientalism does fit into that. The interesting part about Said’s does in his theorizing, though, is go deeper and try to discover the specific history — the reasons and manifestations — of a specific xenophobia. All of this hate is a psychological phenomenon — telling more about the anxieties of dominant group, rather than the Other. In the present case, this isn’t about China, this is about US.


  4. Geneva D

    I agree with you and think you connected these events really well. It seems to me like the U.S. wants to blame anyone else for events and doesn’t want to work with the rest of the world when bad things happen. After 9/11, Muslims were discriminated against. Like you said, with COVID-19 Asians are being discriminated against. It also seems like Americans will generalize in order to pin the blame. All muslims were discriminated against after 9/11, and even still today. And all Asians are being discriminated against. Some people fail to realize that whats going on in the U.S. now also happened in China. People were deathly ill, people couldn’t leave their houses, and loved ones died. The sooner people realize that this is a shared experience, the sooner the racism will decrease.


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