A web site created to collect reports of hate crimes received more than 750 reports nationwide in its first week, and over 100 in San Francisco alone. (Courtesy photo)

A web site created to collect reports of hate crimes received more than 750 reports nationwide in its first week, and over 100 in San Francisco alone. (Courtesy photo)

Let’s be better humans

Racist terms for coronavirus are fueling hatred against the Asian American community

By Norman Yee

The virus at the center of the current pandemic reshaping all American lives goes by many names: COVID-19, coronavirus, to name a few. Recently, President Trump and his cheerleaders have called it the “Chinese Virus” and the “Chinese Flu.” President Trump and other lawmakers doubled down insisting that these are not racist terms.

Let’s call these made-up labels what they are: racist. They are not only race-baiting, but they are dangerous and have already incited violence against the Asian American community.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on naming infectious diseases recommends against using location-based names to avoid the stigmatization of locations and ethnicities. The CDC, WHO, and medical professionals have widely denounced the President’s use of the label, “Chinese virus,” stating that it is inaccurate and inappropriate. The United States Commission on Civil Rights, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, and many others condemn the use of those racist terms.

These terms fuel xenophobia, bigotry, discrimination and violence against the Asian American community. The STOP AAPI Hate Reporting Center (www.bity.ly/stopaapihate), launched a little over a week ago, tracks incidents of harassment and violence against Asian Americans. Incredibly, just within the last week, more than 750 incidents have been reported nationwide, and over 100 in San Francisco alone.

President Trump feigned support for the Asian American community but never acknowledged that his language was racist and a dog whistle for attacks against Asian Americans. The damage is already done, and without informing the public why it was wrong, the damage will keep on going.

I, along will all my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, stand united in sponsoring a resolution condemning the term “Chinese virus” and similar terms and will urge all San Francisco departments not to use those terms.

This is the time to unite, not divide. As San Franciscans, we should rise above this behavior, and come together to focus on the very real medical problems at hand. Let us condemn President Trump’s words and not let him deflect from the challenges ahead. Let us guard against the contagion of hate and unify all communities in the face of this global pandemic. If you are a victim of an incident, please report it to www.bitly.com/stopaapihate and as always, report violent assaults or suspected hate crimes to 9-1-1.

Supervisor Norman Yee is president of the San Franciso Board of Supervisors and a former San Francisco Unified School District board member.


If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott speaks alongside Mayor London Breed at a news conference about 2019 crime statistics at SFPD headquarters on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What the media gets wrong about crime in San Francisco

By Lincoln Mitchell Special to The Examiner Seemingly every day now, you… Continue reading

Vice President Kamala Harris is under fire for her comments in Guatemala earlier this week. (Examiner file photo.)
SF immigration advocates slam Kamala Harris’ ‘betrayal’ to her past

Kamala Harris’ comments earlier this week discouraging Central Americans from traveling to… Continue reading

Youth activists with the Sunrise Movement march along a rural road during their two-week trek from Paradise to San Francisco to call attention to an increase in deadly wildfires as a result of climate change on June 2, 2021. (Photo by Brooke Anderson)
Weeks-long climate march culminates on the Golden Gate Bridge

Lola’s alarm goes off most mornings before dawn. The 17-year-old high school… Continue reading

Most Read