To view this PAPER PRESENTATION, search for the session title in the Browse by Titlelisting. (See the session title located immediately below ["In Session:"])
In Session: Race to the Unfinished: How do Transnational Experiences Re/Shape the Discourse of Race and Ethnicity in and out of Taiwan? A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue
3: Negotiating the Deconstruction of Racialized Discourse Amidst COVID-19: WHO and Taiwan’s Narratives as an Example
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Racialized and politicized discourses on individuals and countries have accompanied the emergence and spread of COVID-19. Prominent examples include the conflation of the virus with China and its people, conflict over wearing masks, the WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ identity as a person of color, and the status of specific countries in international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Connecting critical race theory with critical geopolitics, this article examines three discursive events involving the deconstruction of racialized discourses during the pandemic by the WHO, the WHO’s Director-General, and Taiwan. Specifically, I look at the WHO’s calls on the international community to cease using the term “China virus,” Dr. Ghebreyesus’ calls on Taiwan to cease levelling racist insults against the Black community, and the Taiwanese government’s refutation of racist allegations by deconstructing racialized meanings and highlighting its marginal status in the global health system. Bridging critical race theory with critical geopolitics, I propose a more robust analytical tool for examining the complex meanings and practices at the intersection of racial injustice, racialized and politicized discourse, world health governance, and international power politics. This helps in not only critically examining the existing power system, but at the same time it provides an opportunity to “reconstruct” an alternative that brings about tactical engagements and action plans to transform unequal discourses, racial injustice, and geopolitical power inequalities.