In Spain, scapegoating increases during the pandemic – SAPIENS

It is important to note that the moral panic sparked by alleged recurring rule violations by Rroma families stands in stark contrast to some conservative political actors’ disregard for public health and resistance to complying with pandemic policies and security regulations. Spanish government. From the start of the pandemic, the conservative leader of the Partido Popular and president of the Madrid region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, challenged the restrictions and introduced more lenient rules. She claimed her decision was based on a desire to protect Madrid’s hospitality industry, the freedom of people and the right of individuals to have a beer in a bar at the end of a long day. In August 2020, right-wing and upper-middle-class anti-mask protesters and COVID-19 deniers gathered in the streets of Madrid, gathering 2,500 people.

Sadly, Spanish Rroma’s distressing accounts of scapegoating and abuse during the pandemic are similar to those of other minorities around the world. Police records in the UK revealed a meteoric rise in reported hate crimes against Chinese people in early 2020. The Asian American community has also seen a striking increase in hate incidents since the onset of COVID-19, in especially following the repeated use of former President Donald Trump. of the term “Chinese virus”.

In New York, a black man was violently arrested for not social distancing. At the same time, police graciously handed out free face masks to most white, maskless New Yorkers who sat in a park.

In a study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers measured the prevalence of COVID-19-related discrimination across all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States.S. Use of COVID-19’s Unequal Racial Burden (CURB) Survey Data, the researchers found that minorities reported experiencing more COVID-19-related discrimination than white adults. The groups that reported the highest number of discriminatory acts were Asians, Native Americans and Alaska Natives. People identifying as Latinx, Pacific Islander or Hawaiian also experienced greater discrimination.

Moreover, historical records reveal a tendency to blame minorities for the spread of contagious diseases. During the Black Death in the 14th century, it was believed that European Jews intentionally dispersed the plague by “poisoning wells, rivers and springs”. In 1900, the Chinese were unjustly vilified for an outbreak of plague in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In the 1980s, a gay Quebecer was accused of transporting HIV/AIDS to the United States

There is a systematic correlation between large-scale health crises and the rejection of minorities, which fractures societies when social cohesion is most needed.

in the face In the face of adversity, Spanish Roma activists and politicians mobilized against hatred and discrimination. On December 14, 2020, Spanish Roma MPs Ismael Cortés, Beatriz Carrillo and Sara Giménez spearheaded an ongoing initiative to create a “national pact” focused on anti-Gypsyism that seeks to provide an effective mechanism to protect Roma against discriminatory actions . In Spanish politics, a national pact is a long-term agreement between the parties represented in Congress that provides a general framework for addressing priority issues. National pacts must be respected regardless of the political party.

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