“I want us all to understand there is no ‘Chinese Virus,’” Lee wrote. “A virus knows no nationality, and wherever and however it started, it does us no good to point fingers, ostracize, attack or demonize Asian people.”
Now, the phrase is indeed being linked to the spate of racist attacks many Asians and Asian Americans receive in the United States. These attacks have recently become rampant not only online on social media platforms but also in the real world.
Washington Post’s Niha Masih recently blasted Indians who use the hashtag #Chinesevirus on Twitter:
The artists themselves have witnessed such discrimination.
In a recent tweet, YouTube star Eugene Lee Yang of the “Try Guys” shared an incident at a local coffee shop in which “an older woman in front of me demanded her drink get remade because her barista was Asian.”
An older woman in front of me demanded her drink get remade because her barista was Asian.
When I tried to inform her how irrational that request was, she turned and sneered, “are YOU Chinese?”
I replied, “no, but your ugly-ass knockoff purse is.”
Just last month, veteran actor Tzi Ma was harassed in Pasadena, California by a driver who screamed, “You should be quarantined!”
He told ABC News that the incident made him feel numb and cold.
“It’s almost like when I was living in New York where my apartment was broken into where everything was just turned upside down and you walk in and it’s the same feeling,” he shared.
According to Ma, leaders whose words inspire others to do hateful deeds must be held accountable for their actions.
Ma, along with the Asian American communications agency IW Group, Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, and many others have launched a social media campaign called #WashTheHate
The campaign, which aims to raise awareness around racial insensitivity, involves participating celebrities tweeting videos of themselves washing their hands following CDC guidelines while speaking out against racism.
“We’re hoping this campaign sends a message of solidarity and compassion to the world,” Ma said in a statement. “Hatred and division aren’t going to prevent this virus from spreading and will only make an already difficult situation even worse. We’re calling for everyone — regardless of their race or country of origin — to recognize that we’re all in this fight together.”
Celia Au, of the hit show “Wu Assassins,” is among the artists who joined the #WashTheHate campaign.
“There are serious concerns in the Asian American community about scapegoating and becoming the targets of misplaced fear and anger,” she noted. “The mission of this campaign is to get our stories out there and build a constructive dialogue with the public. We can’t be silent.”
Telly Wong, chief content officer at IW Group, explained that their organization “felt obligated to take action” as the hate and biased incidents toward Asians continue to rise amid the coronavirus.
“We tapped into our relationships in the community to bring together some influential voices who not only want to address the problem but also be part of the solution,” Wong added.