Last week’s open letter from 16 prominent Chinese-Australians calling for national unity during the COVID-19 pandemic continues the important work of Australian community leaders in calling out racism, especially against people of Chinese background. I welcome and applaud it, and the important conversations it has begun.
As I have said before, COVID-19 has nothing to do with race or nationality—and neither fear of the virus nor frustration at the difficulties we all face are excuses for abusing people based on race, nationality or ethnicity.
Incidents of racial discrimination, harassment and hate, harm our collective wellbeing at a time when we must work together. Now more than ever, all Australians must reject racism and show each other kindness and respect.
This period of isolation, uncertainty and fear is a time when our support for one another will make an important difference to how we all survive these difficult times. We are all in this together, and social cohesion has never been more important.
Race Discrimination Commissioner