I am More Afraid of White Supremacists Spreading the Coronavirus, not Asian Americans

unsplash.com

The COVID-19 (or popularly called the coronavirus) global pandemic has reared its ugly head here in the United States, contributing to the rise in racist and xenophic harassment and attacks against Asian Americans. News stories are emerging all over the internet about Asian Americans being harassed and being called g**ks and ch***s. One incident was reported where an Burmese family was slashed with a knife, including a small child, at a Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas. A Hmong American couple received a hate note in (not-so-nice) Woodbury, Minnesota telling them “go back” to their country or else they will be killed. President Donald Trump does not help this situation by calling COVID-19 the “chinese virus.” One reason for the rise in racist violence against Asian Americans is because of the perception that they will spread the coronavirus to everyone else. Thus, Asian Americans are singled out for violence based on the racist (and completely false) stereotype that they are walking diseases. Yet, there are news stories coming out that demonstrate that it is actually white supremacists who we should be afraid of spreading the coronavirus, not Asian Americans.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/white-supremacists-encouraging-members-spread-coronavirus-cops-jews/story?id=69737522

News are emerging about white supremacists encouraging its members to spread coronavirus to cops and Jews. In New Jersey, a man named George Falcone coughs at grocery store workers claiming he has coronavirus. Cody Pfister fron Missouri licks several food items from Wal-Mart as an attempt to mock (or spread?) the virus. Another story features Margaret Cirko from Pennsylvania coughing on food at a grocery store, leading to the disposal of nearly $35,000.00 worth of food. We could use this food at a crucial time like this! Daniel Tabussi, also from Pennsylvania, is also charged with coughing on elderly shoppers at a grocery store. And recently, University of Connecticut doctor Cory Edgar was arrested after intentionally coughing on medical employees. And in one of the most twisted acts of “covidiocy” yet, Ava Louise, a self-described aspiring singer licks a toilet bowl and then goes on Dr. Phil to defend her actions. She later stated she wanted to cough in his face, perhaps an attempt to spread the virus to him and others. I don’t see news of Asian Americans spreading the virus intentionally. Yet, we do not take the kind of action against these white supremacists as we do against Asian Americans.

https://nypost.com/2020/03/24/new-jersey-man-arrested-after-coughing-on-wegmans-worker-saying-he-has-coronavirus/
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/missouri-man-arrested-licking-items-walmart-mock-coronavirus-fears-n1168901
https://nypost.com/2020/03/26/woman-who-licked-toilet-seat-for-coronavirus-challenge-wants-to-cough-on-dr-phil/
https://thehill.com/homenews/news/489981-woman-accused-of-coughing-on-stores-food-jailed-charged-with-terrorist-threats

These are just a few examples of white supremacists spreading or attempting to spread the coronavirus (or the most generous interpretation of these acts is that they are “pranking”). And these are very concrete and very real threats to our nation at this time of the global pandemic. In fact, these acts are so serious, sickening, and threatening that they are now being classified as terrorism by the U.S. Department of Justice. Intentionally spreading the coronavirus to innocent people who are just going about their day buying food in order to survive in this global pandemic is indeed terrorism.

White supremacy is at play here because these individuals know that their entire race will not be condemned from their singular act. They know that nothing they do will stop people from attacking, killing, or harassing Asian Americans. They know that their actions are sanctioned by cultural attitudes of racism and xenophobia. And that is why white supremacy protects these individuals during this global pandemic by creating false images of outsiders and Asian Americans as “disease carriers” in our imaginations. This is why our minds are fixated on finding a scapegoat in Asian Americans, and not looking at the very real terrorism right here in our country. Recent reports by the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization have indicated that the U.S. has surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most infected cases of COVID-19. Yet, the very threat we have here at home is being ignored, and we are instead projecting the threat onto some outside nation and onto “foreigners.”

The point of this essay is not to create further “blame,” but rather, to direct us to more pointed thinking about how and why we are projecting racist fears onto Asian Americans, when there is another real threat right at our doorsteps. While it seems the physical distancing is helping many people stay “safe,” Asian Americans are not even safe in their own homes. And everyone is put in danger when we have individuals like these folks intentionally spreading diseases in public.

So while violence against Asian Americans is on the rise due to the global pandemic, let us not forget the very real terrorism happening in our own states. Thus, the racist violence directed towards Asian Americans is a symptom of white supremacy, but so is the domestic terrorism of intentionally spreading of the coronavirus by Americans. I can definitely say I am more afraid of these folks giving me the coronavirus, not Asian Americans.

Some useful links:

Writer, thinker, reader, professor, scholar, and traveler.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store