Throughout American history, there are dozen of cases of hysteria surrounding the apparent outbreak of an epidemic, from recent fears over Asian bird flu to fears of cholera outbreaks in the 19th century. But the question of fear needs to be contextualized, not just in terms of alleviating Americans' paranoia, but rather by thinking about how various populations within the nation have consistently lived under a threat of infection.
The fear of Ebola tells us more about one's social status and, dare I say, privilege, rather than about the disease itself. For many gay men, who have lived amid HIV "outbreak" for the last thirty years, the threat of Ebola perhaps has not rattled them as much as their heterosexual counterparts. Read More