By Aisa Villarosa | Medium
While issuing a proclamation of national emergency to help curb the spread of one virus, the President and other American leaders have actively promoted another contagion.
Condoned by the single most powerful figure in our government, the resurgent xenophobia tied to Covid-19 — also referred to as “Wuhan virus” and “kung-flu” by White House officials, politicians, and the media — has become weaponized and widely disseminated.
Nationwide surges in anti-Asian violence are again a norm, buttressed by harmful misinformation and further legitimized by institutions and communities. Universities have assured students that “fears about interacting with those who might be from Asia” are acceptable reactions. Many deploy the term “China virus” as if those of Chinese or Asian heritage are themselves a walking, breathing plague. Boycotts of Chinese restaurants and assaults on business owners, workers, and customers persist, driven by racist narratives of Asian food, services, and people being unclean and dangerous.
We are fighting two viruses — coronavirus and racialized hatred — and right now, one is much more relentlessly pernicious than the other. Far from isolated, this new era of “yellow peril” is the latest chapter in a deep American history marked by racism and xenophobia.