Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is facing backlash from Asian Americans for his op-ed on The Washington Post regarding the racism linked to COVID-19.
In the opinion piece, published on April 2
, the 45-year-old American political commentator spoke about an encounter while he was out getting groceries.
“Three middle-aged men in hoodies and sweatshirts stood outside the entrance of the grocery store,” Yang wrote in his piece. “They huddled together talking. One looked up at me and frowned. There was something accusatory in his eyes. And then, for the first time in years, I felt it.”
“I felt self-conscious — even a bit ashamed — of being Asian.”
He then touched on the issue of the rising number of attacks against Asian Americans due to the COVID-19 panic in the U.S., which now has over 245,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University
“The percentage of Asians who use the not-for-profit Crisis Text Line to speak with a counselor has shot up from 5 percent of callers — about in line with our share of the population — to 13 percent, an increase of 160 percent,”
Yang wrote. “Some level of background disdain or alienation has grown into outright hostility and even aggression.”
Some people took offense from Yang’s comment about Japanese Americans volunteering for the military during World War II to “demonstrate that they were Americans.”
In Yang’s last two paragraphs in the op-ed piece, he wrote:
“We Asian Americans need to embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before. We need to step up, help our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations, and do everything in our power to accelerate the end of this crisis. We should show without a shadow of a doubt that we are Americans who will do our part for our country in this time of need.
Demonstrate that we are part of the solution. We are not the virus, but we can be part of the cure.”
Many Asian Americans took to Twitter to express their opinion on the matter.
Korean-American Actor Steve Yeun, who endorsed Yang during his campaign, also weighed in.
NextShark has reached out to Andrew Yang for further comment and plans to have an interview with him next week.