There is speculation that Ebola paranoia is at least partially rooted in racism, given that there are reports of Africans being viewed suspiciously in Russia and Western Europe, Americans are clamoring for President Obama to ban flights from affected West African countries, Jamaica and Mauritius have restricted entry, and a U.S. college recently rejected international applicants from countries with “confirmed Ebola cases”—including Nigeria, which has been deemed Ebola-free.

In August Laura Seay, assistant professor of government, coauthored a Washington Post op-ed in response to a Newsweek issue that featured a chimpanzee as the cover photo for an Ebola story that was derided by many as flawed and poorly reported. Said Seay, “Far from presenting a legitimate public health concern, the authors of the piece and the editorial decision to use chimpanzee imagery on the cover have placed Newsweek squarely in the center of a long and ugly tradition of treating Africans as savage animals and the African continent as a dirty, diseased place to be feared.”