Apart from the crises at home, China is also battling international isolation as more and more countries are banning travellers from China -- both Chinese and foreigners. One more problem that follows the deadly coronavirus is racism and bigotry against people of Asian descent around the world.
As the novel virus spreads beyond its country of origination, the resulting panic is leading to increased cases of racism and one such place where the social evil is playing out is in the back of Uber and Lyft cars.
Both riders and drivers of Asian descent have reported inappropriate comments or cancellations due to their appearance or name. An Asian American driver said that the number of jobs available to her has decreased significantly and a rider was denied an airport pickup until a white friend explained to the driver they weren’t travelling from China.
While booking rides, customers can see the first name along with a picture of the driver-- a feature that is designed for safety and ease of use. However, this feature has on multiple occasions resulted in discrimination. In one such incident, a rider had cancelled his trip because the driver was a Muslim.
The coronavirus outbreak is fueling discrimination against Chinese people at schools in Europe and restaurants in South Korea. As of early Thursday morning, the virus has resulted in the death of as many of 563 people and infected more than 28000 in China. Globally, the virus has infected more than 150 and killed at least 2.
Uber and Lyft have anti-discrimination policies in place and said that they would remove a rider or driver from their system if found violating their rules.
Caitlin Pascua,an Uber driver of Asian American descent in the Los Angeles area, said that since the outbreak, she’s getting frequent cancellations, lower ratings and fewer tips from customers. “On the way to the drop-off, they’ll show a profile picture of me, so they know who will be delivering their food,” Pascua said. “I guess that’s enough for people to judge.”