Last Friday, the University of Iowa’s Pan Asian Council issued a statement condemning coronavirus-related anti-Asian bigotry, and warned against “racialization” of the disease.
The statement’s very first sentence — sans any qualifier — parrots the mainstream media in taking Chinese COVID-19 death figures at face value: “The United States now leads the world in confirmed cases of COVID-19, rising to the top of the chart at an unprecedented rate of viral transmission.”
The PAC goes on to indicate what it “unequivocally rejects”:
The racialization of the COVID-19 pandemic; the framing of COVID-19 as a wartime attack from foreign lands into our national borders; and the prescribing or associating of a nationality to the virus and disease, which only works to confirm that nationality as the viral disease.”
The group then goes back in time to demonstrate how evil the United States was in “associating Asians” with disease. It links to a UC Berkeley article indicating the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act led to “invasive medical examinations and interrogations” of Asians despite no evidence of illness.
There’s also the so-called “Yellow Peril” of the mid-19th century:
The Yellow Peril positioned Chinese and Asian immigrants as dirty and backward-thinking, who would steal jobs and resources away from deserving white Christian Americans. In addition to ubiquitous anti-Asian harassment, the Yellow Peril mindset made possible numerous policies and laws that actively oppressed Chinese and Asian immigrants. There is a longstanding tradition in the United States of identifying9people of Asian descent as trespassers and perpetual foreigners in order to use them as scapegoats.
The PAC at least is consistent in acknowledging the World Health Organization stopped naming diseases based on regional origins five years ago, and this includes the Spanish Flu and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The problem, such that it is, is average people still widely use those terms, not to mention the media utilized “Chinese Flu” and “Wuhan virus” for weeks until the disease hit the US with full effect.
(As a brief aside, the editor-in-chief at The Amherst Student said President Trump has ignored the “orders” of the WHO in using those terms.)
Progressives should give (fellow progressive) Bill Maher a listen on this topic:
China is a dictatorship that, for decades, enforced a one child per family policy under penalty of forced sterilization. But they can't close down the farmer's market from hell? #CoronaVirus #WetMarkets pic.twitter.com/pvkfhdTk4i
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) April 11, 2020
Lastly, that the PAC unquestioningly believes the number of US coronavirus cases is greater than China’s (which has over 700 million more people) is mind-boggling. Just as the American media apparatus blasted the notion the virus had escaped from a Chinese lab — which now seems highly likely — even Bloomberg News concedes China “concealed the extent of the virus outbreak.”
UPDATE: Link to The Amherst Student editor-in-chief’s statement was added.
h/t: The Daily Iowan
IMAGE: Nikita Konashenkov / Shutterstock.com