It’s happening again. I suppose as long as ignorance and prejudice exists, that there will be those who will turn to scapegoating to vent their ignorance and frustrations on refugees, minorities and immigrants.
Scapegoating’s origins are in the story of Leviticus, in which one of two goats (the scapegoat) was released into the wilderness, carrying the sins of the community, while the second goat is sacrificed.
In modern terms and usage, “scapegoating” is wrongfully blaming others for immoral and unethical behavior.
In a family dynamic, it may occur where there are a large number of children, that one child receives undeserving blame for the negative behavior of the others.
Historically, uneducated and prejudiced people have chosen minorities as their “scapegoats,” to blame for their “problems.”
Germany’s tremendous losses in World War I allowed Hitler to rant and rise in power with his promises to renew the strength of Germany while blaming its Jews for the nations’ weaknesses.
At the start of World War II, after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, an American general suggested to President Roosevelt that all the Japanese Americans living on the West Coast should be moved inland, grouped together in detention camps and watched.
It wasn’t until 1980 that an investigation into the forcible internment of Japanese Americans of World War II actually began.
The illegal internment of American Japanese is a prime example of how far ignorance and scapegoating can drive a people in the wrong direction.
In response to General J.L. DeWitt’s recommendation to the president, FDR agreed to a system, later ruled as unconstitutional, denying rights of citizenship to Japanese Americans.
Although there was no evidence of spying and or sabotage on the part of any Japanese Americans living on America’s West Coast, they became our “scapegoats” for our ignorance and prejudice, a low point in American justice.
Now that the world is facing the ever-growing horror of the coronavirus, instead of turning toward science for solutions there are opportunities for those with prejudicial agendas to blame scapegoats, such as minorities.
To no surprise, the ADL recently announced a rise in anti-Semitism since the virus outbreak. and attacks against the Chinese and other Asian people have occurred as well.
Even asylum-seekers have recently been accused of introducing the virus, another form of scapegoating. We have to be careful in how we label those things we object to. It is the coronavirus, not the Chinese virus.
We must remember, above all, we cannot allow scapegoating as a substitute for science.