Fordham Law

Is Swine Flu A Stigma On Mexicans In New York?

George Conk on WCBS-TV, Channel 2, April 29, 2009

Media Source

by Pablo Guzman

With the swine flu outbreak having started in Mexico, are New Yorkers stigmatizing Mexicans?

"I'd like to say we're beyond that, but people are afraid and we know less about how Mexico is governed and how effective the public health authorities are there," said Fordham law professor George Conk.

When asked if she though people were worried about going to Mexico or going to a Mexican restaurant, Upper West Side resident Claudio Mauner said: "I don't think so, no. Maybe going to Mexico."

"That's the joke of the day," another resident said.

And so it becomes just another slight, folded routinely in.

"It's like that thing that happened with the Asians, with the bird flu, and they were actually doing the same thing to the Asians. It's completely wrong," said Elmhurst resident Walter Delgado.

However, one popular Mexican restaurant on Columbus Avenue has not experienced a drop off in business.

CBS 2HD's Pablo Guzman went in, and there was a sizable crowd. The manager was not authorized by his company to discuss the situation, yet it illustrates that in the New York area, there are a lot more people willing to see a virus for what it is.

"I don't think anything like that is that personal. I just think people are just legitimately concerned about the public health," Conk said.

Many people agree, however, that this year, Cinco de Mayo celebrations will be quite subdued.

Related links:
-View the video report.
-Read Professor Conk's blog about the interview.