As a young kid living in the 21st century, I have noticed that our battles with others often occur when they have more governmental, socio-political, or economic power … any power. We have destroyed several ecosystems, taken the territory of others, and even traumatized the inhabitants of those territories, all so that when danger finally hits, it is not us experiencing it, but our victims.
A recent example is the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the government, employment, and education worldwide. Many people witnessing the restrictions think that the pandemic will permanently change society and the relationships people have with one another. Meanwhile, I feel that it is only the perspective we take on to our surroundings that will change.
Two Early Reactions to The Crisis
Xenophobia is the disliking of anyone seemingly dangerous, of a different race, background, culture, religion…to stay in a place of power. To establish this position of superiority during the pandemic, some citizens developed their own xenophobic views of the world they were currently living in and chose to blame Asian citizens for spreading the virus. They claimed that the Chinese were the cause for its first appearance in Wuhan. I feel that their response may not have been as severe if they weren’t in a crisis situation. Now coming out of the pandemic, we might be able to change the way inequality has impacted us as we reflect on how we’ve been surviving the pandemic together even though people may not have treated each other fairly.
The pandemic also made us reflect on our personal choices and their effects on others. Before the pandemic, many people felt that they were allowed to make their personal medical choices aside from the occasional mandatory vaccine or doctor’s visit. Once the worldwide crisis hit, they were forced to make another personal decision - a decision on vaccination that would not only affect them but also influence those around them. While many citizens got vaccinated others opted not to take the vaccine, claiming it was against their human rights. Meanwhile, in developing countries, MRNA vaccines are not always accessible and citizens are left unprotected, with no other option. Even so, some of us feel irritated when the government makes decisions such as installing masks and plexiglass for our own safety. Coming out of the pandemic, I feel that we will learn to consider the effects of our decisions on others and have a greater appreciation for the options available to us.
Perhaps more of us now are realizing that the cause of Anti-Asian Racism was not realistic, nor the protests against vaccination. Everyone plays an equally important role in getting through the pandemic and everyone has similar feelings towards the situation. We led privileged lives before the pandemic, and now the causes and consequences of the crisis have developed our character and world view. From this, I feel like once we return to “normal,” we can better understand what others have been through and cherish the things we own and have had all our life.