As Asian Americans are being stigmatized during the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has begun referring to the outbreak as the “Chinese Virus” when speaking about it publicly.
Former NBA player Jeremy Lin, one of the most prominent Chinese Americans to ever play in the league, criticized Trump in response. Lin tweeted his thoughts on Tuesday blasting Trump for “empowering” racism and mismanaging the crisis that continues to amplify in the United States.
Lin responded directly to a tweet from Trump that refereed to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus.”
🤦🏻♂️I wish you would powerfully support the vulnerable people that will suffer due to our mismanagement of this virus, including those that will be affected by the racism you’re empowering https://t.co/QfRHiOFGEm
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) March 17, 2020
Lin shot down detractors who argued about German measles and Spanish flu, noting that Asian Americans are under attack in the United States during the pandemic.
‘Subtle anti-Chinese message’
“And I don’t wanna hear about no German measles/Spanish flu bc everyday Asian-Americans inc ppl I know are threatened and physically attacked,” Lin wrote. “I don’t give a crap about the history of names rn [right now]. What I do know is this subtle anti-Chinese message only empowers more hate towards Asians.”
Attacks, confrontations against Asian Americans
Police in New York have made two hate-crime arrests for attacks on Asian Americans, while there are nationwide reports of harassment directed at the community and Asian American businesses suffering.
From CBS News:
New York City's Asian communities have seen a rise in attacks, including on the subways. Videos posted to social media appear to show people violently confronting Asian-Americans. One appears to show a man yelling "tell him to move," referring to an Asian man standing in front of the train car's doors.
Trump has defended his use of the term “Chinese virus” as a response to a Chinese diplomat floating a conspiracy theory that the U.S. military brought the virus to the Wuhan province of China.
“China was putting out information which was false that our military gave this to them. That was false,” Trump said Tuesday. “Rather than having an argument, I said, ‘I have to call it where it came from, it did come from China.’ ”
Wednesday, Trump again defended using the phrase “Chinese Virus” during a news conference addressing COVID-19.
“It’s not racist at all,” Trump told reporters. “Not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”
Lin called for a united front from the community to stand up for itself while advocating social distancing protocols during the pandemic.
“I'm not good with the old school Asian model minority stigma where we won't speak up or stand up for ourselves,” Lin wrote. “In times like now, we truly truly need to stay united. Let’s fight this virus TOGETHER!! Wash your hands, practice social distancing, take this seriously, stay safe.”
Lin, a point guard, played in the NBA from 2010-19. He won an NBA championship playing as a reserve with the Toronto Raptors last season.
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