There has recently been an increase in violence and harassment directed at Asian people, both around the world and in the United States. The assumption is that Chinese people, or Asian people more generally, are responsible for the creation and spread of coronavirus. This idea is absurd. Coronavirus has entered the U.S. and other countries through infected people from all over the world who happened to be traveling and come into contact with the virus.
Trump and other politicians just pour fuel on the fire by reinforcing racist stereotypes. Donald Trump has called COVID-19 the “China Virus” while other politicians have called it the “Wuhan Virus”. The United States has a long and ugly history of scapegoating immigrants and “outsiders” for every social problem, from lack of jobs to the spread of diseases. This includes when Irish immigrants were blamed for the 1832 cholera outbreak and when Chinese immigrants were blamed for smallpox, malaria and syphilis, culminating in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and multiple anti-Chinese massacres. We must be committed to protecting and defending each other not only from the threat of diseases like the coronavirus, but also the disease of racism!
Featured image credit: Yichuan Cao—Sipa USA