Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus does not discriminate


Photo retrieved from NPR/LA Johnson.

DeVonte Kuykendall, Guest Contributor

I write this as I cram study for an exam that’s worth 20 percent of my grade and sip my long-awaited apple cider after a long week. I wonder what the next four weeks of my life will look like. As a residential assistant in Wentz Hall. As an executive member of a student organization (Black Student Unity). As a member of a larger community, a college student; and a member of a larger society, the world. 

I am not unaffected by this pandemic.

None of us are. 

We are now pitted with the idea that even traveling out of state is dangerous. That we may not have to come back to class for the rest of the year. My mind raced with all of the people I know who are more at-risk and could face life-threatening situations. Being a sociology major and a social justice minor, my mind races with the thoughts of all the people affected by this pandemic.

All of the impoverished and underprivileged people that cannot receive medical attention, the people who can’t afford to get sick, but cannot afford to miss work. Our economy is built off of individualism and our interdependence on one another for us to do our own specialized jobs. 

The panic that I constantly see in person and on social media becomes hard to separate reality and the social world. When informed that UWL was going to be going through this extended break and I was in my dorm conversing with some of my staff team, we were all on high alert and utterly shocked.

I literally walked outside to shout to people to check their emails and as anyone else entered the building. Everyone I saw was either on their phone or already calling someone and in shock just as much as I was. 

The world is experiencing things that have never happened in the history of the world. I am an avid sports fan and follow college, national professional, and international sports.

The sports world is currently shutting down and every sports affiliation is following suit with preceding affiliations decisions to close, cancel, or suspend their seasons/events.

When I got the notification of “Breaking News: The NBA will suspend the regular season and use the hiatus to decide steps moving forward.” I was showering and I was literally shouting in disbelief and probably annoying anyone on my floor. 

With everything happening and the world going through it concurrently, it really becomes hard to grasp the scope of this pandemic. Something we’ve never experienced is only highlighting the pre-existing bias and bigotry.

The xenophobic and racist behavior against Asian people, businesses, or anything else related is not new but exacerbated by this pandemic. The irony of Asian people experiencing this hate and bias, yet Italian people have not experienced the same bias even though Italy is facing massive struggles relative to other lesser affected Asian countries.

When I watch TV and the billionaire owners of professional basketball teams immediately address their concern for their hourly workers, it points out our clear economically disparate society. The fact that we interview the team’s owners and not the maintenance staff shows whose opinion we value more.

When people panic, spread misinformation, and ravage stores to buy out stocks of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and pasta; not only exposes our level of ignorance but the lack of faith we have in our government’s ability to assist us.

This will undoubtedly be a hectic time and we will go through the different stages of hysteria. However, we must remember and embrace that our greatest strength is empathy.

We must embrace and care for one another. Bigotry, misinformation, and panic will only inhibit us from enduring this pandemic adequately. We must love, not hate.

We must learn and listen, not lie and invalidate qualified people.

We must relax and find comfort in our own communities. Now more than ever, we must accept one another and love each other.

We will face more unfortunate death and unfair impacts from this pandemic. We will face hardships we were not ready for.

With all of that said, we must remember that this virus has no mind, does not discriminate, and has no hatred in its heart.

It doesn’t even have a heart, but we do.

Let’s open it to everyone and get through this together. 

Letters to the Editor do not reflect the beliefs or values of The Racquet Press.

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