A News China magazine sits on top of a dresser.

Spread Information, Not Ignorance

By Tiger Shi
Web Content Contributor

It was a calm night in February. I was walking back to my apartment from the bus stop after returning from a night class. As I stepped in the front door, my roommates and friends were there in the living room playing video games. A friend stood up immediately and sprayed me with Lysol antibacterial while shouting, “Coronavirus!” The whole room froze then laughed, including me.

Of course, I know that friend and he was doing it for dark humor purposes. I know deep in his heart, that he is not a bigot at all. However, as an Asian-American, I am deeply angered by those who do stuff like that and are serious about it. An outbreak from a particular region or anywhere in the world is NOT an excuse for being ignorant. 

The Coronavirus outbreak first begun in Wuhan, a central Chinese city, in a similar fashion as the SARS virus did from 2002 to 2004. The difference is, Coronavirus spreads faster and kills more aggressively than SARS.

2020 saw an overwhelming development of transportation advancements and unfortunately, the virus became a stowaway abroad flights all over the world as overseas Chinese return from China after celebrating Chinese New Year. Just as when the outbreak worsened, my parents fortunately flew home before the U.S. suspended all flights to and from China. 

Coronavirus isn’t the only issue I am concerned about. I am concerned about the number of attacks against the Asian American community over the outbreak. That is offensive and un-American to associate a virus with an ethnicity or race. It’s like assuming an African-American has Ebola. Either way, hate has no place in our society whatsoever, pandemic or not. This brings me to my next point: referring to the virus. 

President Trump was in hot water recently for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.” The way I see it, he is technically correct as the virus has its origins from China. Of course, I cannot tell the president or any elected official what to say and what not to. The point is it shouldn’t matter what the virus is called now. At this point, we as Americans should unite to combat it now that our country has been hit hard with it like Europe, Africa, South America and the rest of the world. The situation in China has improved as people recovered. But, for us, we are climbing that dangerous mountain with rising numbers of cases. 

Speaking of unity, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan Coronavirus relief bill that is making way for the Senate to approve before it will reach President Trump’s desk. That is exactly what we the people should be looking for. We are in the middle of a pandemic and there are those who still politicize and become partisan, not to mention some being racist or behaving inappropriately. On the political note, I think there is bound to be idiots on both sides (Republican and Democrat) which they should cut it out, during crisis or not. 

An American flag proudly hangs from a bookshelf.
We are all Americans! Photo by Tiger Shi.

Personally, I have not experienced any racism or discrimination against me over the Coronavirus disaster. I am blessed to have friends, family and even complete strangers to support and comfort with during this uncertain time. We are in this together, regardless of ethnicity. The key is to know the symptoms, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. If you do get infected, remain CALM. Talk to your medical provider and work for treatment. Most importantly, we should stop blaming and start absolving in order to end this pandemic once and for all. 

Featured image by Tiger Shi.

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