One of the most awful aspects of the pandemic is the uptick in attacks on Asian Americans. Trump is responsible for fanning the flames of these racist hate crimes, because he refers to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as “the Chinese virus.” People were already angry about it when a photo of Trump’s notes for his Thursday briefing started circulating online. The word “Corona” had been crossed out and “Chinese” was written above it. Trump claimed it wasn’t racist to call this, saying it started because a Chinese foreign ministry official pushed a conspiracy theory that the U.S. military purposefully brought the virus to China. In fact, in 2015, WHO denounced naming viruses by location and issued guidelines about how to name emerging human diseases, noting that one of the goals is “to minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people.”
Trump has since said that he will stop using the descriptor, and on Monday tweeted support of the Asian American community, but it’s too little, too late. There have been an increase in racist attacks on Asian Americans and Asians around the world.
Celebrities are among those who are decrying the attacks and reminding people that the spread of the novel coronavirus isn’t the fault of any group of people and that it can infect anyone. Daniel Dae Kim spoke out against the violence against Asian Americans when revealing his coronavirus diagnosis.
Leonardo Nam, who has roles in Westworld and the MacGyver reboot and will be in the upcoming Room 104, posted on Instagram telling people to call the virus what it is, “a global pandemic,” and to support the Asian community.
Asians around the world are experiencing racism in the wake of the Coronavirus, and hatred and violence are only encouraged when people in positions of power refer to it as the “Chinese Virus.” Let’s call it what it is, a global pandemic, and let’s unify in support of our @phenomenal Asian community when others in leadership are unwilling to do so. Be kind, wash your hands, and stay strong.
Awkwafina posted that she has been sadded by the rhetoric and worried about people who are vulnerable:
Have been away working for the past few months in all of this devastation, and wanted to make double sure I was OK to travel before coming back home to the US.
Haven’t said much about this whole thing because mostly I am just saddened by it. I worry for those who are most at risk for serious illness, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. I am saddened by the rhetoric that has come out of this, and the cruelty that came as a result. I hope that while we self isolate and socially distance to stay safe, we also stay sane and calm. Wishing everyone a sense of peace during this batshit crazy time – I will be locking myself up for the next 2 weeks rewatching the Tiger King. Love you all ❤️❤️❤️
[From Instagram via Just Jared]
I’ve seen posts on Facebook from Asian-American friends who say they’re afraid to leave their homes to go to the store because they worry that they’ll be attacked. Julian Borger, the Guardian‘s world affairs editor, tweeted on Wednesday:
According to Der Spiegel, the G7 foreign ministers haven't been able to agree on a joint statement because of Pompeo's insistence it refer to #coronavirus as the "Wuhan virus". Pompeo did not deny that this morning – said G7 don't agree on everythinghttps://t.co/hizImEAtnK
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) March 25, 2020
Every time I think that we’ve hit a particular “bottom” with the Trump administration, it falls out. I am not surprised. I am disgusted and enraged that this is even a discussion that needs to be had: that grown adults in positions of power don’t seem to care about being racist in their description of the coronavirus, and about the hate crimes that they are encouraging. New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched a hotline for people to report hate crimes and biased incidents against Asian Americans in the state. I’m glad that she’s taken that stand, but I hate that it’s necessary. I hope that other attorneys general do the same, and I hope that people continue to call out Trump’s racism and the racism of others. Trump seems to be incapable of feeling shame (probably because he’s incapable of feeling empathy), but others might rethink both their own prejudices and start to consider the dangerous impact that their words can have on others.