Corona crisis bringing racism to light?
There have been repeated warnings about the potential impact of Covid-19 in African states on the grounds that HealthCare systems there are particularly ill-equipped to deal with the pandemic. Commentators refute this view and denounce racist attitudes in the discussion about the illness.
We'll talk after the pandemic!
A colonial perspective lies behind warnings that the real disaster is yet to come in Africa, Senegalese scholar Felwine Sarr, a social scientist at Senegal's L'Université Gaston Berger, comments angrily in Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“Always the old racist condescension that doesn't bother to look properly at the reality of the situation. ... The fact that most African countries took drastic measures at a very early stage while some European countries were asleep is irrelevant. The worst is being predicted. It's Africa we're talking about! It's inconceivable that this continent could get off lightly. We forget that Africa has a long experience with infectious diseases. And a greater capacity to cope with shocks. We'll talk after the crisis.”
Exposing the rot
Responses to the corona crisis show that racism is still widespread, The Guardian complains:
“Racial disparities have a history, and it is no surprise to see a colonial mindset at work in much of the coronavirus response. From some of the early failure to take advice seriously when it came from east Asian countries, to the debate in France about testing new vaccines on Africans (a time-honoured practice in which black lives are valued less). Covid-19 has a way of drawing out the rot in our systems and exposing them.”