Charles T. Adeyanju
Racism, Disease and a Media Panic
In February 2001, a woman from the Congo was admitted to a hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, with a serious illness of unknown origin. Very quickly, the rumour spread that she was carrying the deadly Ebola virus. Even though it was equally quickly determined that she did not carry the virus, the rumour spread like wildfire throughout the Canadian media. Through a content analysis of four major Canadian newspapers and interviews with journalists, medical practitioners and members of the Black community, Charles T. Adeyanju shows that it was the potent mixture of race, gender and immigration, not a real health problem, that lay at the heart of this public panic.