After weeks of absurd accusations of racism hurled at anyone who used the term Chinese or Wuhan virus, Bill Maher has had enough. Starting about three weeks ago, after the media had spent months using these terms for the novel coronavirus, it suddenly became offensive when members of the Asian Pacific American Caucus objected to using the terms. It was argued without any significant evidence that saying Chinese virus would lead to bigotry and even violence toward Asian Americans.
On his show “Real Time” on Friday night, Maher, no friend of the president nor White House officials who have used the term, made the compelling and somewhat obvious point that we can’t pretend China isn’t responsible for this pandemic because some racists “might get the wrong idea.” After listing the myriad illnesses named after geographic locations, from Ebola to Lyme disease, that somehow managed not to cause a backlash of nonsensical claims of racism, Maher got to the more important point.
China is to blame in many, many ways for the global pandemic that has wreaked havoc over the world, killing tens of thousands and plunging the global economy into a nightmare scenario. China’s initial lies about the virus lapped up by a World Health Organization that increasingly looks hapless and corrupt set the world back in preparing for the pandemic.
Not only have those lies apparently continued, but the very conditions that may have given rise to the virus, the wet markets, are still in operation. In short, nobody should have any confidence whatsoever regarding any information coming from China, which makes fighting a virus that originated there even harder than it already would be.
Maher understands that the primary beneficiary of this faux outrage over calling the virus by its accurate name is not Asian Americans supposedly living in fear of racism, but China itself, which has consistently tried to distance itself from the outbreak, up to and including promoting bizarre conspiracy theories that the U.S. Army actually brought the virus to China.
Far too many in our media, entertainment, and political worlds, some with strong connections to China, have succumbed to this absurd panic and effectively let China off the hook for malfeasance that not only needs to be addressed but should also be punished. For Maher and many Americans, carrying water for the communist Chinese government in the name of intersectionality is a bridge too far.
The idea that calling this virus, as we have with so many others, by a name based on its origin is racist has always been a canard meant mostly to focus blame on president Trump. Those beating this drum are playing China’s game, and they should stop. The communist Chinese government has a lot to answer for, and nobody should forget that. A good way to remember is by calling this pandemic what it really is, the Chinese virus.