A life free from fear

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As coronavirus has started spreading earlier this year, it has proved that racism is still with us. In the US, there have been many reports regarding Asian people being racially abused this year, due to no other reason than ignorance a prejudice. The President of the most powerful country in the world labeled COVID19 the “Chinese Virus”. In doing so promoting anti-Asian rhetoric, which has led to tolerance to such racist abuse.

 There is no exception in Ireland. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Ireland. According to The Irish Network Against Racism (INAR), the figures in the First Quarter of 2020, At the end of the period, a significant number of reports were made in relation to Coronavirus-related comments against minorities and the circulation of memes which were derisory Chinese people. Thus, overall racist incident figures from 1st Jan to 31st March 2020 show more than a doubling of the average reporting rates per quarter for 2019. The increase is largely attributable to a fourfold increase in reports relating to online and media content in these three months. 

 Racism can be involved to hate crime. In Ireland, ‘expression offenses’ are prohibited by the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989. According to INAR, 75% of the racist incidents reported to them involved racist violence and crime. However, INAR pointed out that Irish law does not sufficiently recognize racist crime in legislation. Also, they said that the law should include racist hatred either as an aggravating factor in sentencing by introducing aggravated offenses.

 Humans can’t live without being socialized. The community, environment, and society that you are in are very important. Hate-fueled crimes and incidents are an attack on a community’s health. Hate crimes, more than any other crime, can trigger community conflict, civil disturbances, and even riots.

A community must act because if we don’t hate persists. Hate must be exposed and denounced. We must recognize that all of us, either acting as concerned citizens or as members of community organizations, have the power to stand up against racism.

Anyone who has been racially abused can report incidents to the iReport.ie.

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