When this current pandemic was still in its early stage in China, Chinese people both in the United States and Europe automatically became suspected carriers of the virus. Some of them were physically threatened as if they had been sent around the world to cause mayhem. Many concerned raised their voices against the discrimination.
Not long after, some Chinese people back in China began harassing Africans living there. Health and security authorities moved from house to house singling out Africans for testing for a disease that originated from China, not Africa and demanding to see residence or travel permits.
Scapegoatism is a common feature during pandemics. In the Black Death pandemic, the Jews living in Europe had a raw deal over something they didn’t know anything about. Below is how the History Collection captured their experience.
The Jews were slaughtered over the Black Death pandemic
Throughout the Middle Ages, Jews were often persecuted by Christians, who accused them of everything from killing Jesus to murdering Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals. When the Black Death erupted, it did not take long for many Christians to pin the blame on Jews, who were accused of deliberately poisoning wells to cause the plague. Some Jews were tortured into confessing that they had poisoned the wells. The belief in Jewish culpability was further buttressed by the observation that the plague did not strike Jews as often as it did Christians – a function of Jews practicing better hygiene.
The result was that thousands of Jews were rounded up and massacred throughout Europe in a bid to halt the disease’s spread. Some were summarily executed, others were crammed into their homes or synagogues which were then set alight, and others were murdered in a variety of fiendishly cruel ways”.
As the world goes through another pandemic in an information overload era, it is important that we all think right and avoid being pipelines for misinformation, disinformation and mal information that can lead to either temporary or permanent harm to ourselves or others.
End of series.