President Trump’s “China virus” rhetoric is deeply harmful, racist or not

ERIK SUCHY

Opinion Writer

In these times of deep racial tension and turmoil, I feel at odds with tossing the phrase “China virus” around casually as though it’s a softball without any ability to hurt anyone.

I can understand why President Trump is apt to blame the Chinese government for its attempts to cover up a pandemic they knew that was occurring. They silenced their own scientists and reporters from letting other countries know about the extent of damage the virus could cause. Considering the transgressions of the Chinese government, I feel President Trump’s efforts to shift political blame are more in line with his childish and immature antics than an expression of blatant xenophobia against the Chinese people.

.Regardless of how everyone interprets President Trump’s words, we all must unite against the far-reaching implications of the “China virus” and the significant harm it has caused the Asian community. The phrase has become a dog whistle, being hijacked as an excuse to bully and harass members of the Asian community worldwide.

A couple in Woodbury was left a threatening note attached to their door. The note used racial slurs and said the residents should take their disease back to China.

In March, the NYPD arrested a 13 year old for allegedly beating a 59-year-old man of Asian descent while calling him anti-Asian sentiments and referencing COVID-19. In London, back in February, a Singapore man fell victim when he was tackled and beaten by four people. One of the assailants screamed, “I don’t want your coronavirus in our country,” before fleeing the scene.

While Trump isn’t personally liable for enabling these attacks, there is no excuse for his ineptitude that warrants him to voice the phrase in the first place. I would like to think that everyone listening to President Trump is smart enough to understand immature hyperbole. However, we should not believe that just because such a term has entered the public discourse of name-calling, it wills people the right to use it as a form of racial harassment. It results in episodes of verbal and physical abuse. For sanity’s sake, Donald Trump and everybody that listens to him, please treat others the way you want to be treated.