Never one to miss an opportunity for xenophobia, the right-wing has been eagerly pushing racist memes and conspiracy theories blaming the Chinese for the coronavirus crisis, egged on by a Trump administration that until very recently made a huge show of calling it the “China Virus.”
That has predictably led to an outbreak of racist attacks and harassment against Asian-Americans by an American population seemingly chomping at the bit to commit ethnic violence at the slightest provocation. NBC News reports over 650 racist acts were reported over the last week alone.
The New York Times’ interviews with nearly two dozen Chinese Americans show that they are “afraid — to go grocery shopping, to travel alone on subways or buses, to let their children go outside.” Some recounted being spit upon; CNN reporter Kyung Lah told fellow host Jake Tapper that someone shouted a racial slur at her as she prepared to do a live shot.
But even as the president switches gears and now promises to “protect our Asian Americans,” his son continues to push racist tropes against Asian-Americans.
Donald Trump Jr. recently posted a video to Instagram with scenes from a kung-fu movie showing Donald Trump superimposed over one of the fighters and beating up the other fighter, who is marked with a Chinese flag.
Racism in broad daylight courtesy of @realDonaldTrump’s son @DonaldJTrumpJr … this is not ok. This is not a joke. Asian Americans are under increasing racist threats and attacks because of disgusting rhetoric like this. pic.twitter.com/rYwHeN9iLD
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) March 27, 2020
“Kung Flu” is a term popularized by the Trump administration, whose officials used it to describe the virus to the face of a Chinese-American reporter.
Since the crisis began, conspiracy theories have been rampant on right-wing social media and eventually trickled into mainstream discussion. Racist stereotypes about Chinese eating habits led to the “bat soup” meme, which posited that the consumption of exotic animals was responsible for the virus. The meme was based on mislocated videos from a travel blogger of restaurant patrons eating bat soup at the Seafood House in Palau, a Pacific island archipelago near the Phillippines.
The theories that the virus originated in a bioweapons facility in Wuhan province have been similarly debunked, but that hasn’t stopped right-wing media figures like Rush Limbaugh and even sitting United States Senators like Tom Cotton (R-AR) from promoting the idea.
It is horrifying to see the president’s children pushing racist memes and imagery of Donald Trump inflicting violence on Asians. While they may seem harmless, the appalling numbers of racially motivated attacks against America’s Asian-American population — who America does not exactly have a great track record with — say otherwise.
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This is a staff report from former Occupy Democrats Editor in Chief Colin Taylor or contributor Rob Haffney.