Outrage Over Trump Saying ‘Chinese Virus’ Says A Lot About Critics’ Biases

Excerpts:

At a time when a pandemic is blazing its way through the U.S., Trump’s pointed use of the term “Chinese virus” might not have been the most elegant, but it stems not from any malice or racism, but from a desire to defend the public, and more specifically, the U.S. military, from defamatory denunciations.

Additionally, Trump has helpfully reminded everyone that despite its massive propaganda campaigns, China is the source of this deadly virus. When the pandemic subsides, Beijing needs to be held accountable for authoritarian practices that prolonged the virus and inflicted suffering on its citizens and people worldwide.

There is nothing racist about that.

Outrage over Trump saying ‘Chinese virus’ says a lot about critics’ biases

Washington Examiner · by Ying Ma · March 20, 2020

Much outrage has materialized over President Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the novel coronavirus pandemic affecting the United States and the world. Critics have condemned the president as “racist” and “xenophobic.”

Certainly, such allegations are not new for the president. Just as in the past, they reveal far more about the biases of the accusers than they do about Trump.

For the past three years, many of the critics calling Trump a racist have repeatedly condemned him of buddying up to authoritarian strongmen such as Chinese President Xi Jinping. If Trump were a real anti-Chinese racist, why would he have great fondness for the leader of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens? Trump haters cannot be bothered to answer such questions.

More importantly, critics who are now in a mad hurry to label Trump a racist have not bothered to notice that Trump’s characterization of COVID-19, the current strand of coronavirus, as “Chinese” is quite recent. He began using the term pointedly and repeatedly in his tweets and public statements within the past week, even though the world started paying attention to the seriousness and lethality of the COVID-19 outbreak in China as early as January 2020.

Had Trump been keen to denigrate Chinese people, he would have labeled the virus “Chinese” far earlier. Instead, his label coincided with a number of recent actions by the Chinese government that his administration and he himself clearly did not like: expelling China-based Western journalists working for three major American newspapers (the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post), blaming the U.S. military for having brought COVID-19 to China, and waging a global misinformation campaign to absolve China of the responsibility of having inflicted the coronavirus on the world.

Trump has insisted that his labeling of the virus as Chinese was “not racist at all,” because the virus “comes from China.” In fact, Trump appeared most angered by Chinese officials’ bald-faced slander against the U.S. military, especially when China’s authoritarian system suppressed the free flow of information about the coronavirus outbreak in the early days and made it difficult for those in and outside of China to understand the severity of the crisis properly.

Certainly, COVID-19 has no ethnicity and affects individuals of all races and colors. At a time when Chinese Americans report an uptick in racism prompted by the pandemic, calling the coronavirus Chinese risks maligning U.S. residents of ethnic Chinese descent, not just the Chinese Communist government.

It would be more accurate, and it would sound a whole lot better, to refer to COVID-19 as the “China virus” (by its country of origin), as the president has done at times, or as the “Wuhan virus” (by its city of origin), as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regularly does.

Regardless, even these references have engendered accusations of racism in and of themselves, demonstrating that the purveyors of identity politics have no sense of objectivity and no shortage of time on their hands for faux outrage.

Additionally, while some instances of coronavirus-related racism against Chinese individuals are very real and ugly, some allegations are examples of identity politics run amok. For instance, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is among many who have blamed racism for the drop in business at Chinese restaurants since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Never mind that many Chinese restaurants across the country, especially those situated in Chinatowns, are patronized most heavily by Chinese customers. Certainly, they must not have ceased going to Chinese restaurants out of racism.

Perhaps worshippers of identity politics forgot to take into account that at least in the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, people simply wished to minimize their contact with crowds, staffers, and other patrons at Chinese restaurants, all of whom are far more likely to have traveled to China or have come into contact with friends and family who are more likely to have been exposed to the virus. This is not racism; it is common sense and self-protection.

Now that the virus has spread much more widely across the U.S. and around the world, federal and state governments have instructed people to practice social distancing and avoid dining at restaurants in general, not just Chinese restaurants. It makes people’s earlier precautions about patronizing Chinese restaurants appear far more sensible.

At a time when a pandemic is blazing its way through the U.S., Trump’s pointed use of the term “Chinese virus” might not have been the most elegant, but it stems not from any malice or racism, but from a desire to defend the public, and more specifically, the U.S. military, from defamatory denunciations.

Additionally, Trump has helpfully reminded everyone that despite its massive propaganda campaigns, China is the source of this deadly virus. When the pandemic subsides, Beijing needs to be held accountable for authoritarian practices that prolonged the virus and inflicted suffering on its citizens and people worldwide.

There is nothing racist about that.

Ying Ma is the author of Chinese Girl in the Ghetto and the former deputy director of the Committee for American Sovereignty, a pro-Trump super PAC.

Washington Examiner · by Ying Ma · March 20, 2020

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