Stop the Hate

The World Health Organization warned against calling COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.” Yet the ignorant president stokes xenophobia in a time of global pandemic. He and his supporters claim it is nothing wrong with calling the virus where it came from. The example they used is the “Spanish Flu,” which originated from Spain.

They are dead wrong. The flu did not come from Spain. It started in Kansas. The official name is H1N1 not the “Spanish Flu.” Spain was the only country that reported honestly on the pandemic. As for Ebola, scientists pushed back from calling it “Yambuku,” which was the name of the village where the disease first started. Influenza first appeared in North America and we didn’t call it the “North America Flu.”

In a time of worldwide crisis, we must unite and fight against the virus—not against each other. The president knew he mismanaged the pandemic; therefore, he tried to put the blame on someone else and he didn’t care if it had a dangerous impact on the Asian-American community. Hate crimes had risen in New York City against Asian Americans. Over 1,000 cases of xenophobia toward Chinese Americans reported between January 28 and February 24. Between 50 to 70 percent of Chinese-American businesses had been lost.

What I am ashamed of the most is the piling up from the Vietnamese-American community, particularly supporters of the president’s racist remark, referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.” How can we do this to our own Asian-American community? Let’s face it. Most Americans can’t tell the difference between Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Laos, Korean, and Vietnamese; therefore, you are not shielded from being targeted with your Asian face. In middle school, I had been called “Ching Chong,” “Chink,” “Dog Eater,” “Gook,” “Slanted Eye,” and any racist remarks against Chinese Americans. I hope that our kids won’t have to go through what I had experienced. My ten-year-old son told me that he and his close friends stood up for their Chinese friend when kids singled him out because of the coronavirus. I was so proud of him and his friends. I urge you to think about your kids too when you make a racist reference and call the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.”

We stood with the LGBTQ community when they were being discrimated in the AIDS epidemic. We stood with the Muslim-American community after September 11. Now it is time to stand with the Asian-American community. If you have experienced anti-Asian hate crimes in the wake of COVID-19, please report your incident at the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council website.