“The person called my Filipino mother a ‘Chinese coronavirus bitch’ and said that both of my parents are ‘bearers of the virus.’”
Because COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, Asian Americans have been widely scapegoated, regardless of whether they’re Chinese or not. (Asian Americans ― Indonesians, Chinese, Koreans, Thai, Filipinos, and others ― aren’t a monolith, but for Americans with bigoted views, that hardly matters.)
Asian Americans of every descent are dealing not only with the virus itself, but verbal and physical violence from xenophobic neighbors. The choice to wear a mask or not is widely debated among friends and relatives ― do you wear one to protect yourself from the virus or does it draw unnecessary attention?
The encounters are not unlike what American Muslims and other Arabs and South Asians experienced after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
While President Trump finally called for Asian Americans to be protected on March 23, he failed to acknowledge the part he’s played in their vilification. He continues to interchangeably call COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” even as the World Health Organization warns against the shorthand. He even changed his own news conference script to reflect that (a viral photograph shows the word “corona” crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” in the president’s handwriting). At least one member of his staff reportedly joked that it was the “Kung Flu.”
In a Vox article, one interviewer said “They just see that you’re Asian and you are horrible”. One person said that someone yelled at her “Go back to China or I’ll shoot you myself”