A PSA about the Coronavirus

Hi, everyone! I’m Diane and I’m Asian. There’s a major panic about the coronavirus and I wanted to let anyone who is reading this to understand one thing:

Please do not use this as an easy excuse to be racist to Chinese and Asian people!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. We’re not racist, we’re afraid.

CoronavirusDon’t worry, I get that - TOTALLY get that. I’m afraid too! However, it doesn’t mean you can go around and be afraid of Asian people. ALSO, if you think this isn’t happening, think again.

There are countless jokes about the coronavirus and how people should stay away from Asians and Chinese people (including American-born!) because apparently, Asian people eat wild animals and are disgusting!

Here are some examples of racism towards Asian people:

  1. A Chinese university student in the States didn’t know English and she nervously wrote a note for someone, saying that she didn’t have the virus and it was safe for the recipient of the note to sit next to her. You can find the post here.
  2. There is now a Wikipedia page for racist and xenophobic attacks on Asians around the world over the coronavirus. For instance, in Sydney, Australia, a headline from the Daily Telegraph said, “China kids stay home.” A Canadian reporter went to a barbershop for a haircut, in which his barber was Asian and had a mask. He tweeted, “Hopefully all I got today was a haircut.” In Cairo, Egypt, store clerks have been hesitating to serve Japanese customers and have used ‘corona’ as a slur to abuse Japanese people. In NYC, a Thai-American woman was verbally abused on the subway about the virus and another woman was kicked - he called her “diseased.” You can find the page here
  3. A Chinese man in Sydney, Australia died because everyone refused to give him CPR, for there was a fearful assumption that he had the coronavirus!
  4. UC Berkeley has had a lot of Asian xenophobia after the news and the school posted an Instagram post, saying such xenophobia was ‘normal’ over the coronavirus fears. They have since deleted the pose but only apologized for any misunderstanding the post may have caused (aka sorry we offended you).
  5. Lyft and Uber drivers have been accused of refusing Asian riders because of the coronavirus. One driver has admitted he has turned down rider requests with “Chinese-sounding names.”

When is xenophobia ever a “normal reaction”? Fear can fuel racism, just like how the Ebola virus made people racist against Black Americans and how 9/11 caused a great deal of xenophobia and racism towards Muslims. There is so much blame with the Chinese and it is despicable how much discrimination and racism have grown from the coronavirus fears. Please, please, please do not let this fear drive hate and racism. Do not scapegoat Chinese and Asians. Please.