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The Victims We Don't Count

Elizabeth Bratton explores why President Trump's use of the term "Chinese Virus" could result in racist stereotypes, worsening the divide between people, rather than forming the unity we desperately need in these trying times.

via Doorstep News

On Tuesday the 16th of March, Donald Trump posted a tweet, pledging to support the aviation industry in the wake of "the Chinese Virus".

The president's rhetoric angered many, through his association of coronavirus with one particular group of people.The World Health Organization has previously pled for people to be careful when discussing the virus, explaining that "words & language can perpetuate negative stereotypes or assumptions, strengthen false associations between #COVID19 & other factors, create widespread fear, or dehumanise those who have the disease".

On the same day as the above tweet was posted, CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang tweeted:“a White House official referred to the #Coronavirus as the ‘Kung-Flu’ to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back."

The next morning, Donald Trump posted another tweet, maintaing that he has "always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and [has] done a very good job from the beginning".


In Wednesday's press briefing update, one reporter asked why Trump had chosen to describe COVID-19 as "the Chinese Virus". The president responded, "China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them, that was false,” explaining "It did come from China, so I think it’s a very accurate term.”


When questioned about the use of the term "Kung-Flu", Trump remained adamant that Asian-Americans "would agree with [the use of] it 100 percent", due to the fact the virus originated in China.


Trump later attempted to justify the naming of "the Chinese Virus" in a tweet from the White House Account:


Another story from the UK includes an attack on staff at a Chinese restaurant. Sharon So, described how a group of boys spat at her father, demanding to know if he had the coronavirus. So identified one of the perpetrators as a regular customer, and explained that business has dropped by more than half since February. The family is now "monitoring" the father, concerned that there is a risk of infection after the spitting.

In New York, one Asian subway passenger was yelled at by another rider, who demanded he move away from him. The attacker was angry about the proximity to which the other man was standing to him, and proceeded to spray him with Febreze. The NY retweeted the video, offering advice to its followers:Yuh-Line Niou, is a State Assembly member, who represents New York City's Chinatown. She believes that Trump's comments have given racists validation, as she recalls hearing chants of "corona, corona, corona". Meanwhile, Niou's office has also received phone calls that accused her of eating bats.

NBA Player Jeremy Lin played basketball for the Toronto Raptors; last year becoming the first Asian-American player to be part of a title-winning NBA team. Lin accused the president of "empowering" racism, proceeding to describe how "every day Asian-Americans, including those [he knows], are threatened and physically attacked".


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