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In this COVID-19 pandemic, “racism is a killer.” But, being an immigrant with limited social protections is too. The impact of COVID-19 has been disproportionately felt in communities of color, rendering visible the insidiousness of structural racism.
Compared to natural disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, floods—pandemics are comparatively rare. British sociologist Phil Strong (1990) was one of the few to study pandemics. He developed a framework based on accounts of pandemics back to the Black Death in 14th century Europe. Pandemics represented moments of transparency in the social order. All sorts of institutions, relationships, and interactions suddenly became problematic. The taken-for-granted assumptions of everyday life were exposed and became uncertain and questionable.