Racism against Asians prompted by coronavirus stigmatization

Through the use of damaging phrases by people in power, Asians face even more discrimination and racism than they already do.

As a result of continued stigmatization during the COVID-19 pandemic, a surge of hate and attacks against Asians and Asian Americans has emerged.
The current president of the United States, his aides and senators have been using the phrases “China virus,” “Chinese virus” and “Kung Flu” instead of COVID-19 or coronavirus. Whenever people protest against his or other leaders’ use of the phrases, president Donald Trump states that the use of those phrases are not racist because the virus originated in China.
People defend the use of these phrases, citing Spanish Flu, West Nile Virus, Ebola and Zika being named after the places where they originated. For the sake of argument, Spanish flu originated in Kansas and West Nile, Ebola and Zika are rivers and forests, not nationalities.
Regardless, this is a global pandemic. It may have started in China but does not affect only Chinese people. This virus should not be associated with ethnicity.
The World Health Organization tweeted, “The official name for the disease was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatization” on March 2, also stating that the disease was “not a ‘Wuhan Virus’, ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Asian Virus.’”
A considerable number of defenders of the use of those phrases state that people want to call Donald Trump racist for anything. However, the president, the leader of The United States of America, is using this language after the name for the disease has been defined which prompts racist attacks, verbal and physical, on Asian people.
Active for only two weeks, a website set up by organizations Chinese for Affirmative Action, Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and San Francisco State University received over 1,100 reports of “verbal harassment, shunning and physical assault.” Sixty-one percent of these reports were from non-Chinese people.
At a White House press conference, ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked Trump why he used the term “Chinese virus,” bringing up incidents of discrimination of Asian-Americans. He continued to defend his use of the phrase, stating that he wanted to be “accurate” about where the virus came from.
Trump has a large audience and continues to use those discriminatory phrases to refer to COVID-19. As a result, many people have started associating Chinese people with the coronavirus and in turn many Asians or Asian Americans.
This association turned into verbal attacks which escalated into physical ones against Asian Americans. New Yorker writer Jiayang Fan tweeted that she was taking out the trash when a man cursed at her several times.
A young Chinese woman, Yuanyuan Zhu was spit on at a crosswalk by a man yelling profanities at her, according to The New York Times.
An Asian man was turned away from a hotel in Indiana, reported CBS News, because employees thought he had coronavirus.
CBS News also covered a sixteen-year-old boy who was bullied and assaulted for being Asian and taken to a hospital for his injuries.
A woman wearing a mask in a subway station in New York was assaulted, CNN said.
An Asian American family with children two and six years old were stabbed in Houston, Texas, according to ABC News.
People refuse to serve Asians, boycott restaurants owned by Asians, assault them verbally and physically and more.
In the face of so many attacks like these, why not stop using terms that make it easier for people to scapegoat Asians?
According to The Hill, Texas Senator John Cornyn stated, “China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats & snakes & dogs & things like that, these viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu.”
MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and the Swine Flu did not originate in China, but in Saudi Arabia and North America respectively, according to The Washington Post. Cornyn, trying to defend Trump’s use of the racist terms for the virus, ended up making more racist remarks and perpetuating the stereotype that people of color/immigrants are dirty, diseased and uncivilized.
Raising awareness about these racist remarks turning into attacks is only a tiny fraction of the process of combating America’s built-in prejudice. Collective blaming of Asians must stop here, along with the repeated excuses and defense of racist behavior.
As Francis Jeffrey once said, “Opinions founded on prejudice are always sustained with the greatest of violence.”