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Online users slam Belgian school for mocking COVID-19 outbreak in viral photo

Since the rapid increase of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases around the world, there has been a growing number of incident reports about racism, xenophobia, and/or microaggressions towards East and Southeast Asians living in the US or Europe.

Last Wednesday, in a report published by The Strait Times, an Asian passenger suffered from a “coronavirus-related hate” when an African-American passenger tried to drive him away by spraying an air freshener right in front of him while on a public transit in Brooklyn, New York City. Now, a new case of racism has been causing outrage among online users. According to the Independent, Sin-Paulus Campus College Waregem (a Dutch secondary school in Belgium) is currently in troubled waters after their group photo went viral for the wrong reason.

In the photo, two students are in panda costumes while the rest don a traditional costume paired with a conical hat while holding a sign that says “Corona Time.” Another thing that really infuriates online users is the girl in the second row who’s doing the “slanted-eye gesture.”

Since the backlash, the school has deleted the photos from their Facebook and Instagram pages. They even removed their official Facebook page and didn’t bother to make an explanation regarding the “racist” photo.

On Instagram, Broodje Kaas Met Sambal (‘Cheese Sandwich With Sambal’), a group standing up to racism in the Netherlands called out the school for mocking the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The photo above was posted by the Sint-Paulus school community, Campus College Waregem, on their social media channels including Instagram and Facebook. In the meantime, the school has silently removed the photos, but this certainly does not solve the problem and shows once again how much it is necessary to deal with racism and discrimination in education.

As an educational institution, you have a very large influence on future generations. The fact that you approve of this kind of behavior and promote it yourself on your channels is far from responsible and shows that something is wrong with you. Maybe it’s high time to take responsibility?”

Because of what happened, online users couldn’t help but express their dismay over this “irrational fear.”

One Instagram user commented that teachers should teach their students how to respect different cultures; while another person said that these students will forever be known for their racist behavior.

In times like this, it seems like racism is more infectious than the virus itself.


Read more from InqPOP!: 

#SalamatUP: Online users praise scientists for creating ‘cheaper’ COVID-19 test kits

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