As the fear surrounding COVID-19 grows, Asian Americans are facing increased discrimination, stigma and violence. Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif.) told MSNBC in an interview on Tuesday that attacks on Asian Americans are at about 100 per day.
Chu added that “at least 1,000 hate crimes incidents being reported against Asian Americans” since the pandemic reached the United States, according to NBC News. Her numbers come from hate incident reporting sites spearheaded by three AAPI civil rights organizations: Stop AAPI Hate, OCA – Asian American Pacific Advocates and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
The representative also cited examples of hate crimes against Asian Americans: the stabbing of three Burmese Americans in Texas, an Asian man in San Francisco attacked while collecting cans, and a 16-year-old Asian American sent to the hospital after school bullies accused him of having the virus.
“These are very, very alarming and are not helped by President Trump who calls this the ‘Chinese virus,’ ” Chu said in the interview, according to The Hill.
Healthcare experts from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have warned against labeling the virus the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.” They say the labels reinforce xenophobia and racism against Asian Americans.
At first, Trump defended his use of the term. He claimed that calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” was “not racist” because the virus originated in China. The term, therefore, was accurate.
Last week, however, Trump’s tone shifted when he tweeted that it was “very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world.”
Chu, however, told MSNBC that the president’s tone shift was “too little, too late.”
“He continues to double down on that term, and his followers continue to double down on that term. What he should do is send a strong message to his followers to not say that. He should start with his task force,” Chu said, according to NBC News.
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