Ayrımcılığa Covid-19 Sürecinden Bir Bakış: Temel Kuramlar, Yaşçılık Tartışmaları ve ÖnerilerHanife Andaç Demirtaş Madran
İlk olarak 2019 yılının aralık ayı sonunda Çin’in Wuhan eyaletinde belirlenmiş olan yeni tip koronavirüs, Dünya Sağlık Örgütü tarafından 11 Mart 2020’de “pandemi” olarak nitelendirilmiştir. Covid-19 pandemisi sadece fiziksel sağlığı etkilemememiş, tüm dünyada ekonomik, eğitimsel, psikolojik ve toplumsal sorunlara yol açmıştır. Şiddet olaylarını tetikleyen “ayrımcılık” eğiliminde de belirgin bir artış olduğu, önyargı ve ayrımcılığın salgınla aynı hızda tüm dünyaya yayıldığı gözlenmiştir. Bu tür olağanüstü durumlarda yaşanan ayrımcılığın kalıcı ve değişime dirençli olduğu bilinmektedir. Bu ayrımcılık türü kurbanlarda yarattığı hasarın yanı sıra, halkın önlemlere ve kısıtlamalara yönelik tutumlarına, sağlıkla ilgili politikaların oluşturulmasına da etki etmektedir. Bu nedenle son derece önemli bir insanlık sorunu olan ayrımcılıkla bu tür özel durumlarda daha güçlü bir şekilde mücadele etmek gerekmektedir. Varlığından çok haberdar olunmayan bir ayrımcılık türü olan “yaşçılık” da bu dönemde hızla yayılmıştır. Bu makalede Covid-19 salgını döneminde artan yaşçılığı temel kuramlar ve güncel bulgular ışığında irdelemek amaçlanmaktadır. Bu amaçla, öncelikle ayrımcılık ve yaşçılık üzerinde durulmuş ve ilgili kavramlar tanımlanmıştır. Ardından Psikanalitik Kuram, Evrimsel Yaklaşım, Sosyal Kimlik Kuramı, Yükleme Kuramı ve Terör Yönetimi Kuramı gibi temel kuramsal yaklaşımların yaşçılığa ilişkin açıklamaları üzerinde durulmuştur. Ayrımcılığın pandemi dönemlerine özgü doğası ve bu süreçte tırmanan yaşçılık ilgili kuramlar rehberliğinde irdelenmiş, Covid-19 salgını sırasında tüm dünyada ve Türkiye’de yaşçılığın ortaya çıkış şekilleri güncel araştırma bulguları doğrultusunda ele alınmış, konunun medyaya yansıyışı üzerinde durulmuştur. Son olarak, bu süreçte yaşçılıkla mücadele etmek için altının çizilmesi gereken gerçekler ve çözüm önerileri tartışılmıştır. Sonuç olarak bu çalışmada güncel araştırmalar ışığında Covid-19 pandemisi döneminde tüm dünyada ayrımcılık eğiliminde belirgin bir artış gözlendiği, ancak özellikle yaşçılığın belirli yaş gruplarındaki bireylere dayatılan kısıtlamaların da etkisiyle salgınla aynı hızda yayıldığı ortaya konmuştur. Bu durumun, bilimsel bulgularla belgelenen olumsuz sonuçları da gözönüne alındığında, çok disiplinli bir yaklaşım gözetilerek yürütülecek bir mücadeleyi gerektirdiği açıktır.
Ageism During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Discussion and RecommendationsHanife Andaç Demirtaş Madran
The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) was labeled a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. It has caused not only health-related issues but also economic, educational, psychological, and social problems. Further, discrimination associated with the pandemic has been observed around the globe. Besides the obvious negative consequences faced by the individuals targeted, pandemic-related discrimination has affected the spread of the virus by influencing public attitudes toward disease prevention and the restrictions imposed by authorities. Discrimination toward foreigners, minorities, and certain religious groups (e.g., Muslims) increased during this period. Additionally, the pandemic saw ageism spread rapidly to become more visible than ever. Acknowledging that Covid-19 poses a higher risk for individuals over a certain age, several countries implemented restrictions specific to those age groups. However, this practice resulted in the emergence of problems that were not considered initially, especially the escalation of ageism. This study examines ageism during the Covid-19 pandemic based on major theories and current research. First, discrimination and ageism are defined in detail. Then, pandemicrelated ageism is discussed within the framework of basic theoretical approaches. Finally, recommendations for preventing ageism related to the pandemic and in general are presented.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) was first detected in the Wuhan province of China in late December 2019, and the outbreak was announced as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020. On March 11, 2020, it was labeled a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization. This pandemic has caused not only health-related issues but also economic, educational, psychological, and social problems at a global scale. During the pandemic, a significant increase in prejudice and acts of discrimination has been witnessed, triggering violent incidents across the world.
Prejudice and discrimination have simultaneously grown worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic, as seen previously during the SARS and AIDS epidemics. Research indicates that the discrimination that emerges during such global health crises is a highly persistent problem that is resistant to change. Besides the obvious negative consequences faced by those individuals targeted, pandemic-related discrimination affects public attitudes toward the establishment of health-related policies, social restrictions, and the prevention of the spread of the virus. Therefore, it is important to confront all types of pandemic-related discrimination, which have become a human rights violation issue. Verbal, non-verbal, physical, and other forms of discrimination against foreigners, minorities, Muslims, healthcare professionals, and individuals of Chinese (or even East Asian) origin have escalated during the Covid-19 period across many countries. The novel coronavirus has also been referred to by some as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus.”
Ageism has spread rapidly and become more visible than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic. It can be defined as any action that is directed toward members of a certain age group. Ageism refers to a person or persons behaving differently toward others based solely on their membership of a specific age group; it is directed mostly to older people. Acknowledging that Covid-19 poses a higher health risk for individuals over a certain age, many countries have implemented restrictions and specific measures for those in the at-risk age group. Although this practice is aimed at protecting such individuals, it has resulted in the emergence of problems that were not considered initially, especially the escalation of ageism. Social media-based analyses have shown an approximately tenfold increase in the use of hateful and offensive language targeting certain groups, including older people. Ageist hashtags such as “#boomerremover” and “#grandmakiller” have been used on various social media platforms. In the fight against ageism related to Covid-19, it is important to understand the process, related concepts, and motivations behind such discriminatory behaviors.
This study examines the increase in ageism during the Covid-19 pandemic based on major theories and current research. To this end, this study first defines the concepts of “discrimination” and “ageism” in detail. The phenomenon of ageism, which is a form of discrimination, is discussed. Pandemic-related ageism is then discussed within the framework of basic theoretical approaches, including terror management, attribution, psychoanalytic, social identity, and framing theories, as well as the evolutionary perspective. Finally, recommendations to prevent ageism related to the pandemic and in general are made.
Being aware of human tendencies is a good starting point to fight problematic behaviors such as ageism. Therefore, it is important to understand age-related prejudices and how relevant processes act in extraordinary conditions, such as a pandemic, and to develop appropriate, functional, forward-looking measures, as required. It should not be forgotten that age groups are also heterogeneous like every other group, so individual differences within these groups should not be ignored. It is important to recognize not only negative and hostile ageism but also benevolent ageism. Increasing public awareness of and sensitivity to all types of discrimination, particularly ageism, is of prime importance. Therefore, it is necessary to behave respectfully toward older people and to avoid the use of patronizing and derogatory speech.
In this review, in light of recent research, it was revealed that there is a significant increase in the number of cases of discrimination during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ageism has spread at the same rate as the epidemic, with restrictions being imposed on individuals of certain age groups. Considering the negative consequences documented in scientific findings, it is clear that this is an emergency that needs to be handled with a multidisciplinary approach.