No, Calling Covid-19 ‘Chinese Virus’ Is Not Racist

No, Calling Covid-19 ‘Chinese Virus’ Is Not Racist

House Democrats are making absurd accusations of racism in the middle of a health crisis, and it's a ridiculous waste of time.

The world and the nation are on edge over the pandemic spread of a deadly virus that originated in Wuhan, China. Tests are being scrambled, quarantines established, arenas emptied, and national guards deployed. So it was only a matter of time before the most serious problem the virus poses came to the fore. Racism. That’s right, as with all things, progressives have found a way to detect horrible racism in the response to Chinese virus.

What is the racism, you ask? Well, it’s the term “Chinese virus.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a tweet in which he used the term, and now the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are outraged and demand an apology. According to the caucus Chair Judy Chu, “Calling the 2019 novel coronavirus the ‘Chinese’ or ‘Wuhan’ virus is as descriptive as calling it the ‘CPAC’ virus” — referring to a case discovered at a recent conservative conference. She went on to say it is “harmful.”

This is an absurd thing to say. The term “Chinese” or “Wuhan” virus is incredibly descriptive as it refers directly to the origin of the virus. The virus literally started in China and spread to the rest of the world. This matters not just in terms of how we think about people moving in and out of China, but also about the communist Chinese government’s role in creating conditions where these viruses grow.

And it’s not just Kevin McCarthy who is being accused of horrible racism. According to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there is rampant racism at work in the behavior of the average New Yorker. AOC claims people aren’t going to, or as she put it, “patroning” Chinese and Asian restaurants.

It is not clear if she has evidence this is happening to Asian eateries more than others, but even if it is, there are plenty of more reasonable and far more likely explanations for it than racism.

New York City has an enormous immigrant Chinese population. It makes sense that people might avoid getting food prepared by someone far more connected to the epicenter of the virus, which is China. I haven’t made that decision. I had Chinese food in Brooklyn two nights ago, and it was delicious, but someone making that choice is not a racist.

Racism is something used against people, not viruses. Nobody is linking some defect in Asian people to the coronavirus. It’s a point of focus because China is a big part of this story. My son’s school has a heavy immigrant Chinese population. At a recent recital there, the principal, who is Asian, made detailed announcements about how the school is tracking families who have been to China recently.

This isn’t racism. The fact that he did not also talk about kids from Latin America wasn’t a slight against Chinese kids; it was talking about the necessary information. House Democrats are adding an absurd demand that we all virtue signal during a health crisis. It is little more than a tiresome waste of time.

McCarthy, the gourmands of New York, and everyone else should ignore these vapid complaints of alleged racism. They only make sense if you already believe everything is infected with racism to begin with, which most Americans do not, because it’s not true.

Chinese virus, Wuhan virus, Wu Tang virus — call it whatever you want. Let’s fight it instead of focusing on imaginary people who are deeply offended by the racism of geography.

David Marcus is the Federalist's New York Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter, @BlueBoxDave.
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