Whether denied, derided or determined to overcome it, COVID-19 has impacted many lives in ways that we are only now beginning to witness, as we move from old configurations of normality and adapt to new realities, be it flexible ways of working and learning or working to change social systems. This conclusion summarises the reflections from the preceding chapters, and ends with a call to develop and maintain critical, anti-racist, decolonial and intersectional approaches that acknowledge the complexities and affects of diverse lived experiences in long COVID society.
This book addresses the prejudices that emerged out of the collision of two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism.
Offering a snapshot of experiences through counter story-telling and micro narratives, this collection assesses the racialised responses to the pandemic and investigates acts of discrimination that have occurred within social, political and historical contexts.
Capturing the divisive discourses which have dominated this contemporary moment, this is a unique and creative resource that shows how structural racism continues to operate insidiously, offering invaluable insights for policy, practicend critical race and ethnic studies.
This chapter is an opinion piece, using examples from healthcare and policing to demonstrate colour-blind, or colour-evasive, responses to the COVID-19 crisis. It describes the findings of a public health report and explores the way in which stakeholder recommendations were ignored. Using illustrations of health inequality, colour-blindness or colour evasiveness will be explored in action.
Moving on to law and order, the chapter will explain how COVID-19 additional policing powers added to the discrimination faced by people of colour in the UK, and how this was not acknowledged, mitigated or recognised by wider society or those in positions of power in the UK. The chapter shines a light on specific examples of discrimination during the COVID-19 crisis.
Colonial honourifics to land grabs, genocide, white supremacy, and other forms of violence (aka Honours), are awarded biannually as part of the political calendar. Today, it is also jarring to see so-called activists, anti-imperialists, and ‘allies’ take these medals. Since March 2020, imperial gongs have gone to people for combatting the same institutional violence that has been manufactured and/or upheld by the state. This chapter uses auto-ethnography to discuss the intimate links between Honours, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter – and the cognitive dissonance required to take state recognition while pontificating about social justice. All while hereditary aristocracy appears to have pervaded through the allocation of senior jobs in the UK government’s COVID-19 response. How can anyone take Honours or a life peerage in proximity to state power, while also positioning themselves as anti-oppression and/or against the government’s gaslighting of the public sector? It is deplorable.
This chapter explores the links between existing collective terminologies and their effect on identity and the collective mental health of racialised communities in the UK. It considers the existing literature on collective racial language, taking issue with terms ‘BAME’, ‘BME’, ‘POC’, ‘Minority Ethnic’, ‘Ethnic Minorities’, ‘Visible Minorities’, with attempts to methodically move towards a more Compassionate, Accurate, Linguistically sound and Contextually conscious (CALC) collective phrase for people who experience racism. The chapter notes the detrimental impact of combining a global pandemic, which problematises ‘BAME’ people with ambiguity and confusion, and its effect on individual and collective consciousness. Through this analysis I argue the need for a new collective term determined by the people. The result of my investigation, however, is that an objective outcome cannot be achieved when dealing with identity and the subjective.
COVID-19 lockdown has exposed Somali students’ vulnerabilities in achieving their educational targets due to existing settlement challenges and social inequalities that have been compounded by new difficulties brought by COVID-19, such as stress, emotional difficulties, mental illness, gaining weight (caused by physical inactivity due to lack of space to burn off their energies), together with issues surrounding mock exams that disadvataged Somali students. On the other side, the condition created by the pandemic has facilitated family reconnection; improved teacher–parents constructive engagement towards helping children’s learning at home; created a community discussion on how to support their children’s education during lockdown and also learn useful technological skills. Similarly, older siblings have proved useful informal teachers for the youngsters during school closures.
This book seeks to examine the complexity of the collision of the pandemics of COVID-19 and racism that become evident when examining the intersection between race, health, public policy and culture. The contributions in this edited collection are an important intervention in speaking back to dominant discourses and the 13 chapters that make up this collection cover a range of facets that have been organised according to key themes that are outlined in this chapter.
In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp relief the prevalence of global health inequalities, showing impacts of the virus were disproportionately felt by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. In the same year, the killing of George Floyd by a public official sparked worldwide demonstrations about institutionalised racism. This chapter explores how such institutional racism pervades public health responses to the pandemic. It examines the rise of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian racism and shows how legacies of the past, and the use of science in racialised ways, cast long shadows across the understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. Written from a British-born, mixed-heritage perspective, the chapter engages with issues of race, racism and the 2020 pandemic as a lived experience. Weaving together an analysis of the emerging evidence, reflective writing and storytelling, it suggests that rivers of privilege and superiority run deeply underneath the surface of the public discourse.
One, among many, areas of inequality that COVID-19 has placed a spotlight on is access to green spaces. That the nation’s local parks and green spaces have been a lifeline during the pandemic is a widely agreed upon sentiment; yet while these have been invaluable, the Green Space Index released in 2020 revealed that 2.7 million people in Great Britain do not have access to such a space. Additionally, a survey by Friends of the Earth (2020) found that 42 per cent of people of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds live in England’s most green space-derived neighbourhoods. If green spaces enable wellbeing practices such as walking, exercising and playing in the park, then the question of who gets to inhabit these spaces invariably arises. Over the course of the pandemic, recreational cricket, a sport widely played by South Asian communities nationwide in these green spaces, was confronted with this question of access, which further took on an intersectional dimension as we see notions of privilege, race and identity collide in particular ways, and which is explored in this chapter.
The chapter aims to explore the challenges faced by British-Bangladeshi Muslims in relation to performing funeral and mourning rituals at familial and communal levels while adhering to the social distancing rules during the first COVID-19 pandemic wave. British-Bangladeshis, most of whom were Muslim, were disproportionality impacted by the COVID-19 infection. Muslim funeral rituals include quick burial, washing and shrouding of the body and a funeral prayer in the presence of a congregation; all of those rituals were difficult to perform in the midst of lockdown. Moreover, the social distancing rules had deterred the traditional face-to-face bereavement support offered by neighbours and relatives. Adopting a qualitative research approach, the article explores the challenges faced by British-Bangladeshi Muslims in performing the end-of-life, burial and bereavement rituals during the first pandemic wave. The chapter concludes by urging innovative and expert-led planning interventions to prepare for similar situations in the future.