Over the course of the semester, our class came up with several different definitions of a dystopia. After many tweaks, we came up with the following definition:
Dystopia: an imaginary or real place whose inhabitants may lead a restricted and oppressive existence under some form of authority that arises as a reaction to some significant social crisis.
This is definitely a working definition during our current CoVid-19 pandemic. I would certainly consider CoVid to have a huge impact on our social norms, which is only reinforced by the racist treatment towards African descended peoples in China.
According to france24.com, many Chinese businesses are refusing to serve the African community, similar to the Jim Crow laws that were enforced in the American south. As a result, many people are going without food and other basic essentials.
The African community is being targeted and deprived. They are being oppressed, just as they were for centuries in America. One of the characteristics of a dystopian society that we collectively decided on was intense social stratification. In other words, grouping. Obviously, black people are being set aside into their own groups as “others”. They are also experiencing a lack of resources, or a wrongful distribution of resources, which is another clear sign of a dystopia.
Dystopias are truly all around us; even places that look like paradises could have dystopian elements that we just can’t see from the outside. Especially in today’s times, with the pandemic that we are currently facing, as well as the other social injustices that we face in our usual day-to-day. People are suffering everywhere.