For Kamala Harris, geography is now racist
We might never resolve the debate over whether COVID-19 raged around the globe after emanating from a Chinese wet market or a bioresearch lab. But it is beyond dispute that the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China.
We know this because in the early days of the outbreak the mainstream media routinely referred to the illness as the “Wuhan coronavirus” or “China’s coronavirus.” Such phrasing was routinely used by on-air personalities at CNN, MSNBC, CBS and ABC as well as writers at The New York Times and The Washington Post.
But something changed as President Donald Trump insisted on referring to the pandemic in terms that the media initially presented. Almost without notice, referring to the disease as the Wuhan or Chinese virus went out of style, and was dubbed a racial slur. The upshot of this was visible at a news conference last week, when Trump was once again held out as a racist after telling reporters to “ask China” about why the administration was boasting of its testing data in response to a question by CBS reporter Weijia Jiang, who is Asian-American.
Now we have input from Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and potential running mate for Joe Biden. Recently, Harris authored a Senate resolution that seeks to cement the specious charge that Trump, you, or anyone else is a racist by referring to coronavirus by its birthplace.
“The use of anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric related to COVID–19, such as the ‘Chinese Virus,’ ‘Wuhan Virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu’ have perpetuated anti-Asian stigma,” the resolution states. Harris’s document also maintains that Asian-Americans are increasingly victimized by hate crimes, resulting in them “being harassed, assaulted, and scapegoated for the COVID–19 pandemic.” Additionally, she wrote, “anti-Asian rhetoric has also resulted in Asian American businesses being targeted for vandalism.”
The resolution further calls for “all public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment in any form,” and urges federal law enforcement officials, in conjunction with state and local officials, to “expeditiously” investigate all credible hate-crime reports regarding Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and to collect data on the rise of such incidents related to COVID–19. The cops should also “hold the perpetrators of those crimes, incidents, or threats accountable and bring such perpetrators to justice.”
Harris indicates we should follow the example of the World Health Organization, which has discouraged use of the descriptors Wuhan or Chinese because that “perpetuates stigma.”
Finally, she says the U.S. must recommit itself to promoting tolerance by “prioritizing language access and inclusivity in communication practices,” and by “combating misinformation and discrimination that put Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at risk.”
Twenty-five Democrats have signed on to Harris’s resolution. A couple of points to consider.
Of course, any idiotic cretin who attacks Asian-Americans or U.S. citizens from the Pacific islands over coronavirus must be prosecuted and held accountable — just as any other street thug who menaces innocent people.
Additionally, the FBI already counts racially motivated crimes against Asian-Americans in its annual hate crimes data, so Harris is not establishing anything new with this provision.
But her resolution, if it obtains more oxygen, will accomplish two things.
First, as is already happening, it will needlessly brand people who use the terms Wuhan or Chinese as racists worthy of condemnation and “stigma,” even if it keeps with a longstanding practice of identifying diseases by their point of origin.
More importantly, just as New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo did when he called coronavirus the “European virus,” or the WHO did by abiding the Chinese government’s lies about COVID-19, Harris’s resolution, if adopted, would further allow China’s communist leaders to evade responsibility for inflicting so much death and misery on a world that, like the Asian-Americans that Harris argues are more frequently subjected to hate crimes, didn’t deserve what the villains wrought.