Steady in the face of fear

Boston offers a unique experience for Suffolk students, giving us an opportunity to be around a variety of cultures that people bring to our city from all over the world. This university is emblematic of that amalgamation, priding ourselves on our diverse student body. Our campus is in close proximity to a central hub of overseas culture in Boston – Chinatown.

China has been featured in the news recently because of the coronavirus. The coronavirus, which has been reported as originating from Wuhan, China and the surrounding region, has become a global concern. At the end of January, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency.

As a student body that prides itself on its diversity, we must be steady in our rejection of ethnicity-based fear. To fight prejudice it falls upon us at The Suffolk Journal and you as the readers to make the implicit explicit. What may seem obvious to you may not occur to others. Informing yourself is only half of the battle– the rest lies in informing others.

People can be stuck in their ways. We’re not asking you to flip someone’s opinion completely. But often someone could be just uninformed or misinformed. With so much information out there and so little ways of authenticating it, misinformation is understandable. 

Sensationalism and fear sells. Journalists have an obligation to be objective and truthful. At the same time, journalism is also a business. The job of a journalist has morphed — it no longer lies in just reporting the news but in selling the news. Good journalism — journalism that sticks to the principles of objectivity and truthfulness —  still exists and unfortunately, it is up to you to seek it out.

There will inevitably be misinformation about the coronavirus. According to our history, when something scares our nation, we look for someone to blame in order to direct our fear. We saw it 19 years ago, after the Sept. 11 attacks, with the persecution of Muslim extremists and the way it impacted the Muslim and middle eastern communities in America.

Before that, it was the 1980’s and the AIDS crisis. Labeled as the “gay” disease, the virus became the leading killer for men age 25-44 in 1995 according to the New York Times. The disease ravaged through the LGBTQ+ community for a decade before receiving significant attention, killing roughly 6 million of the community worldwide by 1997.

Here at The Suffolk Journal, we practice what we preach. We actively work every single day to inform ourselves as well as inform others.

 These types of scares aren’t new. Affinity groups face a culture of fear and discrimination in America. and unfortunately, Boston can be no different. However, Suffolk strives to be a safe place. Our inclusivity and diversity as a student body offer a distinctive opportunity for students, who have been historically marginalized and those who have not to blend, learning more about other cultures and their own cultures in the process.

We urge you to take advantage of the opportunity. There are a plethora of Suffolk clubs that represent minority groups and they hold events all throughout the school year—open to students of all backgrounds. These are wonderful opportunities to expand your understanding of a culture that’s unfamiliar to you.

The coronavirus is objectively scary. At least 490 people have died from it already and over 24,000 have been diagnosed with it in China. It has even made its way to Massachusetts , as a student who visited China over winter break was diagnosed with the virus upon their return to Massachusetts.

Affinity group discrimination is nothing new and the media shares blame for sensationalizing it. At Suffolk, we have an opportunity to combat this discrimination by informing ourselves. We promise to help with the first part, the rest is up to you.

 

~The Suffolk Journal Staff