The President’s xenophobic use of playground taunts like “Kung Flu” to direct blame for COVID-19 at Asians is fueling a rash of hate crime against Asian Americans. VOX notes the rise:
Trump’s decision to lean into racist rhetoric — including terminology his own adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has condemned in the past — comes as Asian Americans continue to report hate incidents such as verbal abuse, physical assault, and property damage during the pandemic. As the coronavirus spread around the world, tropes that treat Asians as perpetual foreigners have also resurfaced, fueling racist and hostile anti-Asian sentiment.
Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that’s been tracking self-reported hostile anti-Asian incidents since late March, says it’s received more than 2,100 reports since the project began. Such incidents have included instances of employees getting shunned in the workplace, families being spat on at fast food restaurants, and children getting beaten up by their classmates. The group says it saw a surge in reports after Trump began using rhetoric like the “Chinese virus” and noted that many “anti-China” comments were frequently associated with verbal and physical assaults.
“A White male walked by me and said, ‘you f—king Chinese spread the Coronavirus to this country, you should all leave this country!’” one incident report read.
“A woman sitting at a bus stop was screaming at myself and other Asians that she saw walking,” read another. “She said that we were ‘dirty Chinese,’ that we were trying to take over the US.”By Li Zhouli@vox.com Jun 23, 2020, 6:30pm EDT
Health authorities around the world caution that using terms that pinpoint geographic areas to describe viruses can cause violent reaction against populations having no “blame” for infectious disease. Let’s hope that cooler, wiser heads turn down the volume on this rhetoric so unthinking masses don’t use it to trigger namecalling, crime and violence against our Asian-American communities.