Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Asian community is facing perhaps an unprecedented level of racism. Even Asian Americans who were born in the U.S. and have never even visited their country of origin are experiencing this too. Across America, the Asian community reports other citizens plugging their noses as they walk by, exaggerated social distancing to the point of being offensive and ridiculous, and even being refused service by some establishments.
This racial backlash was not helped by President Trump's use of the term "Chinese Virus" during a press conference on March 18, 2020.
President Trump claims that he only used the contentious term because the disease originated in China. The President seemed unconcerned, if somewhat dismissive, as reporters questioned him about whether he was worried that his use of the term "Chinese Virus" could ruffle some feathers. President Trump even seems to come dangerously close to playing a blame game, but swiftly backpedals. Is his reason for using the term truly an innocent one? Whether it is or not, it should have been obvious that the use of these words was unwise, even thoughtless, and that this term puts an entire race under one umbrella, thereby unfairly alienating that race.
Taking to Twitter, some Asian Americans expressed that they will hold the President fully responsible for any racism they may experience due to his use of the term "Chinese Virus." Just check out President Trump's notorious--and famously extensive--Twitter feed.
Obviously, we know COVID-19 started in China, but this DOES NOT MEAN that Asian peoples are infected. What can we do about this totally unfounded and unnecessary racial tension? We can educate ourselves. We can resist the temptation to jump to conclusions that are bred from panic. And we can find our empathy.
If you'd like to view the entirety of the controversial press conference, you can catch it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgDcS-ZBH0k.