Premier blames South Asian community for spike in Covid cases

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Premier blames South Asian community for spike in Covid cases

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This article was made in response to comments made by the premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny towards the South Asian community of Calgary. In particular, Kenny had attributed the social gatherings and “tradition” of the South Asian community being the cause for a spike in Covid cases throughout the province. His comments were viewed as an extension of rising anti-Asian racism throughout the province, which can largely be attributed to the rhetoric of U.S. president Donald Trump as a means to escape liability for mismanaging the pandemic response. The community he blamed in particular is traditionally working class, who are employed in much of the city’s service and logistical jobs which are essential to the province as a whole. From food vendors, taxi drivers, cleaners, city employees – the frontline workers, those who are exposed most to the virus. Even more so, Jason Kenny’s comments caused further anger as he was somehow unable to assign the same blame to the swaths of mask-less protestors who marched in large groups throughout the province in defiance of government mandates in the following week.
I believe this artifact would prove useful to the collection of Social Justice, mainly it is another Canadian experience based in the growing racialization/politicization of the covid-19 pandemic, and the ways in which conservative governments have attempted to scape-goat their own failings onto vulnerable communities. As throughout the pandemic, especially in the Western World, there has been an unnerving attempt to racialize the pandemic. Such as placing the blame on Chinese people, then Asian people as a whole; similarly this extends to working-class communities who man the frontlines to keep society functioning as normal. These communities (in regards to Calgary) are primarily composed of new immigrants who were not born in Canada, by Jason Kenny blaming these people for the upsurge in cases, he is exemplifying a racist generalization towards the entirety of the South Asian community of Calgary. In regards to Canada, this item matters to display that our pandemic experience was no different in that it illustrated the stark racial divides throughout the province, once compared to the primarily white ‘freedom’ marchers (who were also in the company of fascist/white-supremacist organizations such as the Proud Boys, Sons of Odin) walked proudly through our cities mask-less with little to no government comments as similar to Kenny’s on the SA community.
I want to add these to the collection of Social Justice, as articles like these were first spurned on by anti-racist activists who initially heard Kenny’s remarks. What followed shortly after was a provincial outcry directed towards the premier for his questionable history in regards to racism. Situations like these prove that there is systemic racism at work within the government of Alberta, as the government racialized the issue of Covid-19, while looking away from the predominantly white mask less marchers.

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This item was submitted on January 22, 2021 by Padraic Cohen using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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