Racism & xenophobia continue to be pervasive and omnipresent forms of hate across all social media platforms. Aroused by the unprecedented toll of the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to a surge in social media use, anti-Chinese sentiments have been especially rampant in an effort to placate the anger, confusion, and sadness induced by the pandemic. As part of OHPI’s September campaign to tackle online racism and xenophobia, this briefing looks at another virulent symptom of our global society, drawing on examples from the U.S.

Help us report these examples

Anti-Chinese Hate

As OHPI has previously reported, an influx of anti-Chinese sentiments has centered around food. Many have used collective punishment to blame all Chinese citizens and immigrants for the introduction and spread of COVID-19 due to the virus’ origination in Wuhan, China, wet markets.

This first post, below, reads, “Eating bats and creating a virus that kills thousands – fucking Chinese”. It is a blatant example of hatred and misinformation in suggesting that the virus was an intentional biological weapon; claims that have not been supported by reliable scientific research.

“[China]…has become almost virus free…fucking Chinese scum (are) building bio[logical] weapons to destroy other countries (and) want to control the world,” another post reads, again suggesting that China intentionally introduced the virus.

“[Those] sons of bitches (sic) eat everything…They eat dogs…alive!…you will swear me [if] I [don’t] kill every Chinese,” another racist post reads (below), clearly inciting violence and promoting the stereotype that Chinese citizens eat “dogs” and other household pets.

An additional tweet espouses similar rhetoric, reading, “…Fucking Chinese (sic)…are just barbaric….killing and eating innocent animals and…whatever fucking moves…,” maintaining overtly racist ideologies. The post was made in response to an investigation by an Australian charity into alleged animal abuse in China.

“I can’t look at how these bastards mock animals and eat them,” another post reads. “…Destroy all the freaks and send them to [hell.]”

Another racist post reduces Chinese citizens to “bat eaters” in response to the global economic downturn and stunted GDP growth caused by the virus.

”Fucking Chinese scum…I keep saying shoot them…,” another post reads, a clear and blatant violation of Twitter’s policy on inciting and glorifying violence. The post was in response to a since-deleted tweet concerning an annual dog meat festival held in Yulin, China. The post accuses the Chinese government of condoning the consumption of animals and pets when in reality, the Chinese government has sought to discourage such practices.

Racism Targeting Kamala Harris

Former California Attorney General and current Senator Kamala Harris recently made U.S. history in becoming the first woman of color and Indian descent to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate. The move has been unfortunately met with a recent influx of racist comments targeting Harris because of her race, many a time targeting the Senator with horrific racial slurs.

“Kamala Harris is a half-[epithet]. That’s more than enough for me to say no,” one tweet reads, referring to Harris as a racial slur in addition to suggesting that her heritage will prevent the user from voting for her.

If you’re a Democrat (sic), you’re a fucking epithet…,” another post reads, responding to a news article on Harris’ nomination. The post clearly uses racist language in referring to Harris as a racial epithet.

“Kamala Harris isn’t (sic) any different to that house [epithet] Obama”, targeting both Harris and former U.S. President Barrack Obama with racist language.

The tweet below refers to Harris as a “nasty [epithet],” in addition to questioning her race.

This misogynistic and racist post refers to Harris as a “[epithet] bitch.”

Generalized Racism

In addition to racially-motivated attacks on Senator Harris, Twitter has also seen many generalized racist messages in the past few months.

STUPID {EPITHET], one post reads, “WHY ARE THERE NO BULLET HOLES IN YOUR (sic) HEAD.”

Responding to a video that showed a violent altercation between black and Muslim protesters clashing with a white demonstrator, one tweet called to “KILL ALL THE… BLACK [epithets] and MUSLIMS!,” in what is the user’s perceived righteous indignation of the encounter. The tweet, in addition to using racial epithets, conveys the long-standing stereotype that Muslim worshipers are violent extremists.

Two tweets (below) use racial epithets to delegitimize the Black Lives Matter movement – a call to end police brutality against African Americas – by conveying that African Americans “DESTROY people’s property (sic) and “STEAL and K!LL babies,” all racist stereotypes that continue to permeate around the world.

In a disturbing tweet that received 52 likes, one Twitter user referred to another user as a racial epithet to stymie a discussion on a minor topic. The tweet conveys a dangerous normalization of using racial epithets to silence others.

This last violent tweet calls for inciting violence against African Americans through torture and mutilation. This particular user has posted several messages degrading African Americans, using racial epithets and violent language to spout racist ideologies. The user also posted an inconceivably horrid post mocking the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died of asphyxiation after a policeman knelt on his neck for over eight minutes.

Enough!

Racism and anti-Chinese hate has seen a sharp uptick in dissemination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples in this briefing encouraged suicide, harassment and violence towards others simply because of the colour of their skin. Enough!

As always, OHPI asks that you support our quest to report and eradicate the harmful messages of online racism and xenophobia.”

Osiris Parikh – OHPI Senior Analyst based in U.S.A.


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The Online Hate Prevention Institute is a Registered Charity that tackles all forms of online hate. You can support our work by making a donation at https://ohpi.org.au/donate/. You can also join us on Facebook, or join our mailing list.

This article is part of our September 2020 campaign to Tackle Online Racism & Xenophobia. We are now preparing for our October campaign to Tackle Anti-Christian Religious Vilification and welcome donations through the campaign fundraiser to increase its scope & impact. The full plan for our campaigns in 2020 can be seen here.