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SARS and Race & Ethnicity.

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SARS and Race & Ethnicity Despite the technological advances and services apparent in the world of healthcare and present in our modern day, the unfortunate truth is however, that not everyone has the opportunity and fortunate accessibility to such medicalization. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity. Therefore, I am not sure if it is right to consider the Canadian society as a healthy one. Why? Well, unfortunately, it is because of the socially constructed beliefs that we tend to initiate and hold within that automatically label others as inferior and unhealthy due to their belonging to a certain group. Yes, as Canadians, we are made to believe that we are all alike and no one gives the right to treat any other in an ethnocentric manner. But the truth of the matter is that such 'equality' is only a paradox in theory, for we are certainly ethnocentric creatures tending to favor our own kind over any other distinct kind. The Canadian healthcare is an institution that may seem to be taken seriously. When compared to other countries in the category of healthcare, the Canadian healthcare system is one that we point to with pride as a distinguishing feature of the Canadian landscape. From a cultural perspective, providing open access to medical services allows us to construct a national narrative in which we view ourselves as being progressive and just. Having universal healthcare however, does not mean that all Canadians experience medical services in a universal manner. For in reality, not everyone has the same privileges and equal accessibility to such a health system that is full of biases and prejudices. ...read more.


People of a certain ethnicity are being treated differently and are being stigmatized due to the outbreak of SARS. It is rather quite unfortunate, that now, we can also get stereotyped and prejudged according to our nationality, and this is however the current state with Asians and mainly the Chinese population accomodating in Canada or should I say worldwide? One's own personal health has eventually become stigmatized with one's own nationality. SARS has become labeled with the Asian population and thus they are viewed as unhealthy beings whose presence can be intimidating and risky. The never-ending discrimination that has been taking its toll between blacks and whites for centuries, has now become apparent between Asians and the rest of the world as well. The Canadian community has involuntarily become stereotyped and delineated with the SARS virus as the Asian community and mainly the Chinese, the originators and welcomers of the virus 'SARS', constitute the majority of the Canadian population. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, people are constantly blaming Canadians who look Chinese for the Toronto outbreak of SARS. A Chinese immigrant Family can be described by the media as one who brought back SARS into Canada, but when does someone stop being an immigrant? This Chinese immigrant Family is actually Canadian with a Canadian citizenship, but I guess in such circumstances, you are where you come from and not where you live and possess citizenship. Sadly enough, ignorance that has become manifested through discrimination has even led some people to believe that it is only the Chinese Canadians who are the only ones prone to catch the sly virus 'SARS'. ...read more.


Now, even though preventive measures have been taken and activated strictly all over the world and active case control measures are nevertheless showing positive results. With the ramifications of fear and panic people have endured during the SARS ordeal, their fears have lead to unfortunate racial profiling. Post-SARS complications are taking a critical turn in sociological context. SARS victims are carrying a social stigma almost equivalent to other contagious diseases like AIDS. After recovery from SARS or even suspected SARS, patients are discharged from different referral hospitals with fitness certificates but they are not getting back their previous jobs. Most of them are facing social barriers and isolation in their own community. According to a research report, it narrates that 'among 150 patients cured from SARS, 45 persons developed psychosocial disorders. None of them suffered from psychological ailments before SARS infection'. How distressing is that? Due to the extensive media coverage about this disease, there is now a long standing after-effect on the public's mind about the 'droplet spread of infection' which is probably, scaring them to accept those post SARS patients back to their family or community. This is obviously the result of illiteracy and social taboos. It may take time to come out of this post SARS syndrome, but meanwhile it is better to make people aware and sympathetic towards post SARS patients and help SARS victims to recover from their traumatic experiences. SARS related social stigma and discrimination have been detected as a serious social problem and the public needs to be compassionate and sensitive about it. And I must say that if current SARS victims are discriminated against, then do not be surprised when future SARS sufferers get discouraged to seek proper medical attention in time and we hence get submerged in the same cyclic ordeal once again. ...read more.

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