On a recent day, two teens chuckle in the back corner of a classroom full of students. A young man of African descent walks by and sees what the two are so hysterical about: another Ebola joke on Instagram.Read more…
One way that some teens and others have learned to deal with their fears is through amusement. However, to other teens -- especially those with recent roots in Africa -- the Ebola gags are not funny.
“I mean, they are ignorant,” says Kadidiatou Bah, 16, from the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, whose family is from Guinea,“but it is what it is.” After the outbreak of Ebola, Augustine Ubah, 16, says some family members in Nigeria had stopped getting education because they shut down schools to halt the spread.
“It is a little extreme that people over-exaggerate and think all Africans have Ebola,” says Ubah, who attends Health Careers Academy and came to the US from Nigeria in 2012. “The fact that I don’t have Ebola means the stereotypes don’t affect me.” Teens say they understand why nervous youth may kid around about Ebola but feel that at some point, enough is enough. Joseph Getachew, 16, from Hyde Park, whose father is from Ethiopia, says: “I think that the jokes are getting annoying.”