Scapegoating was apparent in 1900 during an outbreak of bubonic plague in San Francisco. The disease was carried throughout the city by rats.

But officials quarantined only the residents of Chinatown, who were unfairly blamed for starting the outbreak. The quarantine was lifted after a court ruled that it had been imposed with an “evil eye and unequal hand.”

Today, with reports of physical and verbal attacks against Asian Americans rising, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines clarifying that people of Asian descent are not at greater risk of spreading the coronavirus than other Americans.

This video was created with support from a Brown Institute for Media Innovation grant recognizing a need for accurate information about the COVID-19 virus.

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