Brisbane’s African Community Reports Racist Backlash After COVID Border Controversy
"We cannot allow this to create a second wave of Covid-related racial hostility."
After the public identification of young women who allegedly flouted quarantine rules, the African community in Brisbane is facing racist backlash.
Last week, NewsCorp was accused of hypocrisy for publicly identifying two women who allegedly lied to officials and didn’t isolate after testing positive for COVID-19. The decision to identify and show their photos on the front page of the Courier Mail with the headline ‘Enemies of the State’ was questioned, with many people wondering why they were identified when other similar cases have not been.
— Soon-Tzu Speechley 孫子 (@speechleyish) July 30, 2020
The public identification has resulted in abuse targeted at the women on social media, with a lot aimed at their appearance and race. Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll was forced to speak to the issue, saying “We have seen community members making comments about certain cultural groups and ethnicities — this is not productive at all.”
I'm angry as fuck about the two women who lied about re-entering Queensland with covid, but naming and shaming them is a bad idea and there is distinctive racist undertones into the dialogue around the two of them. Plenty of people have made covid mistakes without being outed
— BU RESPECT 🌈💨 (@angelspitten) July 29, 2020
The Queensland Human Rights Commission has released a statement about the situation, and the direct result it is already having on the African community. Commissioner Scott McDougall pointed out that other people breaching restrictions have not been publicly identified, and the women have received racist attacks as a result.
“Already we have seen comments to ‘deport them’, ‘send them back to where they come from’, and worse, alongside appallingly hyperbolic coverage from some media outlets branding them with terms usually reserved for people accused of treason and other high-level crimes.”
There is a lot being said about the 2 girls who did the wrong thing and brought Covid-19 back on our radar in Queensland – nobody is disputing this.
— Helena 📺⚽🌻🎶🇮🇪☘ (@GuinnessGirl13) July 31, 2020
He also shared that the commission had already been contacted by concerned members of Brisbane’s African community. “Some members of the community are already reporting abusive text messages and social media harassment, others are worried about their children being harassed or abused on their way to and from school.”
Commissioner McDougall also called out the racist behaviour. “We cannot allow this to create a second wave of Covid-related racial hostility. The [alleged] actions of just two people cannot and should not be used as an excuse to harass or abuse an entire community – the vast majority of which has, like the rest of Queensland, tried to comply with the rules.”
Members of African communities report abuse online and by text, and worried about their children being harassed. pic.twitter.com/ieN0CoaypE
— Nyadol Nyuon 🐯 (@NyadolNyuon) August 1, 2020