Hollywood celebrities of Asian descent are letting their voices be heard on the rising racist incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The artists, composed of Asian American actors, creatives and advocates, also condemned President Donald Trump’s rhetoric that racializes the deadly disease, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Shannon Lee, daughter of martial arts icon Bruce Lee, recently took to her late father’s Instagram account to address Trump’s insistence on calling the illness the “Chinese Virus.”
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Just as my father came to understand that there ultimately is no Chinese or Japanese way of fighting (just HUMAN ways of fighting), I want us all to understand there is no “Chinese Virus”. 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. That doesn’t cure anything, solve anything, help anything, or stop the virus, by the way. This virus knows no color, no nationality, no gender, no borders. I could point out that the Asians in this country facing people’s prejudice at the moment are overwhelmingly Americans, some of who have lived here for generations and helped build this country, but honestly I feel like that is beside the point. WE ARE ONE FAMILY. Where we live, how we look, what we eat, what our customs may be are just the things that make us interesting individuals. So please, let’s not perpetuate any anti-Asian sentiments or actions now (or ever frankly). Bigger still, let’s not perpetuate any anti-HUMAN sentiments or actions. Even casually joking about a Chinese virus with your Asian friends is other-izing and doesn’t bring us together. Now is a time where our responsibility to one another for the greater good of our communities and our world as a whole is being tested and we need to pass the test. We need to upgrade our human potential right now. So lets perpetuate PEACE, LOVE, HEALTH, WELLNESS, RESPECT, CONNECTION and SUPPORT. We are all in this together. -Shannon . . #onefamily #brucelee #weareallinthistogether
“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.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) officials have earlier warned against calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” noting that it could unintentionally lead to racial profiling.
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:
— Niha Masih (@NihaMasih) March 26, 2020
Meanwhile, actor John Cho tweeted how dangerous it is for fellow Americans to make COVID-19 a racial issue.
Ching chong-ing this virus is gonna get Americans killed, jackasses.
— John Cho (@JohnTheCho) March 23, 2020
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.”
Shut your racist asses up.
— Eugene Lee Yang (@EugeneLeeYang) March 13, 2020
Fashion blogger Eugénie Grey, who runs Feral Creature, also shared on Twitter a racist attack that happened to herself.
In her post, she narrated how during a walk with her dog, she was body-slammed before her dog was kicked.
Someone body slammed me while I was walking Napoleon and KICKED HIM because I’m an Asian person outside wearing a mask and gloves. We are physically ok but will not be so mentally for a long time.
— eugenie grey (@feralcreature) March 17, 2020
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.