A group of Asian American doctors have come together for an emotional video tribute to spread a message of kindness amid the growing number of racist attacks against people of Asian descent.
Uploaded on YouTube, “Asian American Doctors Unite Against COVID-19 Racism: Hate is a Virus” features doctors from different Asian ethnicities.
In the video, doctors can be seen holding signs with several common hateful messages that have recently been directed at Asians amid the COVID-19 crisis, such as “It’s a Chinese virus,” “Go back to China,” and “You’re a disgusting, filthy bat-eater.”
Other doctors held signs that respond to these racist comments, reminding people that most of those who are being targeted have families that “poured blood, sweat, and tears into this country.”
One doctor wrote, “I actually enjoy pizza, hamburgers and avocado toast.”
One doctor held a piece of paper with a racist message saying, “You’re a selfish disease carrier,” followed by another doctor reminding people that “I’m on the frontlines, risking my life to save yours.”
Dr. Dagny Zhu, Harvard graduate and ophthalmologist, uploaded the video on her YouTube channel. She shared that the inspiration to put the video together came from wanting to encourage everyone to work together against the pandemic.
“I have been seeing acts of incredible hate and violence, and I think of my parents, grandparents… helpless and innocent people who cannot defend themselves,” she told NextShark. “We made this video to show that in the end, we are all human. Viruses know no origin or race. Pandemics have come and will continue to come from all over the world. In times of fear, there is no place for hate or blame. We made this video to promote kindness and unity, so we can fight this pandemic together.”
Zhu herself appears in a clip as part of the video, where she holds a sign saying she’s a “physician, patient and a mama to be.”
Dr. Christy Chen, a geriatrician and the producer of the video, shared her most important sentiment with NextShark:
“The real virus circulating within all this is hate. Hostile and spiteful actions. Being quick to judge, blame and criticize others for something that is out of our control. It may not kill you right away, but it destroys goodness and humanity. It infects us by ruining relationships and faith in mankind. It destroys trust, love and connectedness- everything that we need right now to rebuild this world.”
The video ends with more doctors holding signs that read, “Let’s all be kind and get through this together. In times of crisis there is no place for hate.”
Since COVID-19 began spreading worldwide earlier this year, many Asian Americans have been reporting their experiences with being attacked and discriminated against because of the virus. This alarming trend has prompted several groups to call for unity amid the hate propagated by others.
Dr. Karen Tang, a nationally renowned obstetrician-gynecologist from Philadelphia, said she has heard enough of the heartbreaking stories of Asian Americans being physically attacked in New York and Texas.
“I’m sure there have been countless acts of racism and violence that haven’t gotten media attention (or perhaps haven’t even been reported),” she noted. “Racist language, and talk about wet markets, eating bats, etc has been all over social media. Meanwhile, Asians make up a large percentage of the health care workers in the U.S. and other countries, and are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19. I wanted to be part of a statement that this virus knows no race – and that all of us, across all races and ethnicities – are in this together.”
Meanwhile, dermatologist and health and beauty blogger Dr. Joyce Park, shared that her parents have become too afraid to wear protective masks outside due to the number of racist attacks targeting those who wear them.
“My parents had been following the COVID-19 outbreak in China since December, and they wanted to wear masks they had at home to protect themselves and others,” she narrated. “However, they were too afraid to do so, because they heard of racist attacks against Asians in the US, and they did not want to attract attention. As an Asian American doctor, hearing this made me feel so disappointed in our society. In this unprecedented time it is more important than ever to band together for strength rather than wrongfully point fingers and target certain communities. We wanted to make this video to fight against the wave of racism that has occurred against Asians during this pandemic, and show that no matter what, we still put caring for our patients as our first priority.”
As of 2018, over 17% of active physicians in the U.S. identified as Asian, making Asian American doctors the largest subgroup in the country after White doctors, according to data by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Feature Image via Dagny Zhu, MD