Discrimination and Prejudice: Witch-Hunting during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Authors

  • Devina Neogi Ramaiah Public Policy Center, India

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17501/2357268X.2021.6101

Keywords:

prejudice, discrimination, witch-hunt, COVID-19, pandemic response

Abstract

Historically, witch-hunting is a form of gender-based violence targeting mostly women and driven by societal prejudices. Metaphorically, during the COVID-19 pandemic witch-hunting has come to connote targeted discrimination and violence driven by social prejudices about the disease. People from different groups, communities, and occupations have been the targets of the latter. Simultaneously, although not as frequently, the same people have been the target of hero-welcoming for their role in fighting the spread and consequences of the disease. These incidents seem to confirm that in times of crisis and great uncertainty, people may behave in contradictory ways. They may look for scapegoats to vent their frustrations, worries, and fears based on their prejudices. They may also make heroes of those that provide calm, care, and courage based on their benevolent prejudices. The two opposing dynamics must be managed to minimize their ill-effects and maximize their good effects. The paper presents an ontological framework to understand the antecedents and consequences of the acts, and to manage them effectively. The study aims to propose a way forward to address the issue with the help of the ontological review of the relevant secondary literature.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Ahmad, A. R., & Murad, H. R. (2020). The Impact of Social Media on Panic During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Iraqi Kurdistan: Online Questionnaire Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(5), e19556. https://doi.org/10.2196/19556

Balakrishnan, V., & Mukherjee, H. (2021). Stop the stigma: Virus is the enemy, not the person suffering from it. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/de-stress/stop-the-stigma-virus-is-the-enemy-not-the-person-suffering-from-it/articleshow/75068110.cms

Bhalero, Y. P. (2021). Discrimination Against Doctors: Why Has COVID-19 Turned Us Hostile? [She The People]. https://www.shethepeople.tv/home-top-video/discrimination-against-doctors-why-has-covid-19-turned-us-hostile/

Bhanot, D., Singh, T., Verma, S. K., & Sharad, S. (2021). Stigma and Discrimination During COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 829. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.577018

Bhattacharya, D. P. (2020). Tabligh members undergoing treatment not cooperating: Doctors to Delhi govt. The Economic Times. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/tabligh-members-undergoing-treatment-not-cooperating-doctors-to-delhi-govt/articleshow/74969727.cms?from=mdr

Biswas, S. (2020). Coronavirus: India’s pandemic lockdown turns into a human tragedy. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52086274

Borah, L., & Das, M. (2019). Witch-hunting in Assam: Myth or reality. Space and Culture, India, 7(3), 99–114. Scopus. https://doi.org/10.20896/SACI.V7I3.566

Burgess, S. (2021). COVID-19: How India is turning to social media to save lives during latest surge. Sky News. https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-how-india-is-turning-to-social-media-to-save-lives-during-latest-surge-12284691

Cameron, J. D., Ramaprasad, A., & Syn, T. (2017). An Ontology of and Roadmap for mHealth Research. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 100, 16–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2017.01.007

Cerna, L., Rutigliano, A., & Mezzanotte, C. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on student equity and inclusion: Supporting vulnerable students during school closures and school re-openings. https://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-student-equity-and-inclusion-supporting-vulnerable-students-during-school-closures-and-school-re-openings-d593b5c8/

Chandrasekaran, B., Josephson, J. R., & Benjamins, V. R. (1999). What Are Ontologies, and Why Do We Need Them? IEEE Intelligent Systems, 14(1), 20–26. https://doi.org/10.1109/5254.747902

Choudhury, S. R. (2021). Indians turn to social media for help as Covid crisis overwhelms the health-care system. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/25/india-covid-crisis-people-use-social-media-to-find-hospitals-medicine.html

Cimino, J. J. (2006). In defense of the Desiderata. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, 39(3), 299–306. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbi.2005.11.008

Cinelli, M., Quattrociocchi, W., Galeazzi, A., Valensise, C. M., Brugnoli, E., Schmidt, A. L., Zola, P., Zollo, F., & Scala, A. (2020). The COVID-19 social media infodemic. Scientific Reports, 10, 16598. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73510-5

Colney, K. (2020). Coronavirus increases racism against Indians from northeast. The Caravan. https://caravanmagazine.in/communities/coronavirus-increases-racism-against-indians-from-northeast

Dhawan, H. (2020). Why you need to clap for India’s healthcare workers. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/why-you-need-to-clap-for-indias-healthcare-workers/articleshow/74752009.cms

Eder, S. J., Steyrl, D., Stefanczyk, M. M., Pieniak, M., Molina, J. M., Pešout, O., Binter, J., Smela, P., Scharnowski, F., & Nicholson, A. A. (2021). Predicting fear and perceived health during the COVID-19 pandemic using machine learning: A cross-national longitudinal study. PLOS ONE, 16(3), e0247997. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247997

Ford, S. (2020). Nation urged to applaud frontline healthcare staff tackling Covid-19. Nursing Times. https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/workforce/nation-urged-to-applaud-frontline-healthcare-staff-tackling-covid-19-26-03-2020/

Ghosal, A., Schmall, E., & Saaliq, S. (2021). Indian Muslims face stigma, blame for surge in infections. AP NEWS. https://apnews.com/article/religion-virus-outbreak-india-ap-top-news-new-delhi-ad2e96f4caa55b817c3d8656bdb2fcbd

Gruber, T. R. (1995). Toward Principles for the Design of Ontologies Used for Knowledge Sharing. International Journal Human-Computer Studies, 43(5–6), 907–928. https://doi.org/10.1006/ijhc.1995.1081

Gruber, T. R. (2008). Ontology. In L. Liu & M. T. Özsu (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Database Systems. Springer-Verlag.

Gupta, S., Nair, S., & Varma, V. (2020). How citizens are helping migrants stranded by the coronavirus lockdown. The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/express-sunday-eye/citizens-helping-migrants-stranded-coronavirus-lockdown-6412617/

Haldane, V., De Foo, C., Abdalla, S. M., Jung, A.-S., Tan, M., Wu, S., Chua, A., Verma, M., Shrestha, P., Singh, S., Perez, T., Tan, S. M., Bartos, M., Mabuchi, S., Bonk, M., McNab, C., Werner, G. K., Panjabi, R., Nordström, A., & Legido-Quigley, H. (2021). Health systems resilience in managing the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons from 28 countries. Nature Medicine, 27(6), 964–980. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01381-y

Higgins, C. (2020). Why we shouldn’t be calling our healthcare workers “heroes.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/27/healthcare-workers-heros-language-heroism

HT Correspondent. (2020). Haryana home minister identifies ‘corona-carriers’, seeks Delhi govt’s help. Hindustan Times. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/haryana-home-minister-identifies-corona-carriers-seeks-delhi-govt-s-help/story-N5NFoxHzOlWpdbhvXrBprO.html

Iyer, S. (2020). Over 1 crore migrant labourers return to home states on foot during Mar-Jun: Govt. The Hindu. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/over-1-crore-migrant-labourers-return-to-home-states-on-foot-during-mar-jun-govt/article32674884.ece

Khan, F. (2020, April 28). Tablighis donate plasma, urge others to be donors as they look to put Covid controversy behind. ThePrint. https://theprint.in/india/tablighis-donate-plasma-urge-others-to-be-donors-as-they-look-to-put-covid-controversy-behind/410033/

Kim, M.-C., Kweon, O. J., Lim, Y. K., Choi, S.-H., Chung, J.-W., & Lee, M.-K. (2021). Impact of social distancing on the spread of common respiratory viruses during the coronavirus disease outbreak. PLOS ONE, 16(6), e0252963. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252963

Link, B. G., Struening, E. L., Rahav, M., Phelan, J. C., & Nuttbrock, L. (1997). On stigma and its consequences: Evidence from a longitudinal study of men with dual diagnoses of mental illness and substance abuse. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 38(2), 177–190.

Manoj, M. A., Padubidri, J. R., Saran, J., Rao, S. J., Shetty, B. S. K., & D’Souza, H. (2021). Violence against healthcare personnel in India: Covid-19 prompts stricter laws. Medico-Legal Journal, 00258172211006276. https://doi.org/10.1177/00258172211006276

Meester, J., & Ooijens, M. (2020). COVID-19 Impact on the Value Chain – Conceptual paper [CRU Policy Brief]. https://www.clingendael.org/sites/default/files/2020-06/Conceptual_paper_COVID-19_Impact_on_the_Value_Chain_June_2020.pdf

Mehra, R. (2020). How to help the most vulnerable during the covid-19 lockdown. Mint. https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/how-to-help-the-most-vulnerable-during-the-covid-19-lockdown-11585631303316.html

Mishra, H. (2020). Upto 7 years in jail for attacking Covid warriors, govt brings in ordinance. India Today. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/central-govt-ordinance-to-protect-medical-staff-covid19-coronavirus-1669784-2020-04-22

Nath, V. (2021). Recovered Tablighi Jamaat Members Donate Blood Plasma for COVID-19 Patients. The Wire. https://thewire.in/rights/tablighi-jamaat-donate-blood-plasma

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2021). Volunteer for COVID-19 Clinical Trials | NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/clinical-trials/covid-19-clinical-trials

Neogi, D. (2020). A Study on the Practice of Witch-Hunting in Assam, an Ontology. TIIKM, 5(1), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.17501/24246743.2020.5101

Neogi, D., Sanjeev, A., & Ramaprasad, A. (2020). Report on the Ramaiah Webinar on Prejudice and Projudice During Covid-19. RPPC. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.23471.56486

Pater, S. N. (2021). Combating bias and stigma related to COVID-19. Https://Www.Apa.Org. https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/bias

Peter, B., Sanghvi, S., & Narendran, V. (2020). Inclusion of Interstate Migrant Workers in Kerala and Lessons for India. The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, 63(4), 1065–1086. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41027-020-00292-9

Raha, S. (2020). Tablighi Jamaat Coronavirus Hotspots: Is Media Coverage Biased? TheQuint. https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/coronavirus-spread-tablighi-jamaat-tv-media-tiktok

Rizvi, S. (2020). Clapping to slapping—India did everything other than social distancing this week. ThePrint. https://theprint.in/opinion/newsmaker-of-the-week/india-did-everything-other-than-social-distancing/389778/

Rzymski, P., & Nowicki, M. (2020). COVID-19-related prejudice toward Asian medical students: A consequence of SARS-CoV-2 fears in Poland. Journal of Infection and Public Health, 13(6), 873–876. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2020.04.013

Schein, R., Wilson, K., & Keelan, J. (2021). LITERATURE REVIEW ON EFFECTIVENESS OF THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA A REPORT FOR PEEL PUBLIC HEALTH (p. 63).

Sen, G., & Östlin, P. (2008). Gender inequity in health: Why it exists and how we can change it. Global Public Health, 3(sup1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441690801900795

Sharma, N. C. (2020). President approves ordinance to protect healthcare workers. Mint. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/president-approves-ordinance-making-violence-against-doctors-punishable-offence-11587616074735.html

Singha, A. (2021). Racism against Northeasterners: How Covid-19 pandemic propelled the existent social evil into an extreme. TheLeaflet. https://www.theleaflet.in/racism-against-northeasterners-how-covid-19-pandemic-propelled-the-existent-social-evil-into-an-extreme/

Smith, M. (2020). Doctors turn to social media to develop Covid-19 treatments in real time. ThePrint. https://theprint.in/world/doctors-turn-to-social-media-to-develop-covid-19-treatments-in-real-time/387593/

Srivastava, G. (2020). Decoded: How the new epidemic Act aims to protect healthcare workers. Business Standard India. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/decoded-how-the-new-epidemic-act-aims-to-protect-healthcare-workers-120100900065_1.html

Staff Reporter. (2020). Migrants in India sprayed with disinfectant to fight coronavirus. Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/3/30/migrants-in-india-sprayed-with-disinfectant-to-fight-coronavirus

Tandon, S. (2020). Covid-19: Availability of essential goods falls in last two days. Mint. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/covid-19-availability-of-essential-goods-falls-in-last-two-days-11586520749732.html

United Nation Human Rights. (2020). RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Racism/COVID-19_and_Racial_Discrimination.pdf

United Nations. (2020). Human rights are critical – for the response and the recover. UN. https://unsdg.un.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/COVID-19-and-Human-Rights.pdf

Yadav, S., & Priya, K. R. (2021). Migrant Workers and COVID-19: Listening to the Unheard Voices of Invisible India. Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, 70(1), 62–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/2277436X20968984

Downloads

Published

2022-03-02

How to Cite

Neogi, D. (2022). Discrimination and Prejudice: Witch-Hunting during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Proceedings of the International Conference on Social Sciences, 6(01), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.17501/2357268X.2021.6101