Let's talk about why 'Chinese virus' is such a harmful label
Roger Chang, head of CNET news, I want to talk about two words Chinese virus.
I want to talk about why it's both wrong and dangerous to use that label.
When referring to the current virus.
The term has been Thrown around a lot recently and really made the rounds last week when President Donald Trump used it in a tweet.
I kicked off a discussion about whether I was appropriately able to use and the racist connotations that had and also whether or not this was, you know, going to be harmful for Asian Americans.
President Trump in a press conference defended the tweet.
He said that, you know, he argued it came from China so it's accurate, it's not racist.
And historically speaking, he's not wrong.
There are a number of infectious diseases named after their places of origin.
There's the Spanish flu.
There's the Ebola and Zika viruses.
There's the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MARES.
But here's the thing.
These are all names used in the past, and we're a lot more aware of the power of our words now.
Back in 2015, the World Health Organization set new guidelines For how they would named infectious diseases, they did this probably because they start to understand the negative impact would have on certain populations when you applied the idea of a virus with their location, but let's take some of those names, shall we?
Now most experts agree that the Spanish Flu did not originate in Spain back so it's kind of interesting as World War One and Spain was one of the few countries that was actually neutral and so it was doing its due diligence and doing and being transparent and publicly.
Announcing the cases of flu that it had.
Now all the countries around it were middle World War One and didn't want a lot of negative headlines floating around it would jeopardize their efforts to raise money for the war efforts.
And so they all kept silent as a result the term Spanish Flu stuck it just suddenly enough in Spain, they call it the French flu.
Just do some research recently.
Found that some experts believe that the Spanish Flu originated in Kansas.
But should we call it the Kansas flu?
There is the Zika and Ebola viruses.
Now can you tell me where Zika and Ebola are?
Chances are probably not some of you may not even realize that Zika was a place.
It's a lot harder to marginalize a population we're using such a specific location.
So those aren't really great example say with no virus Switch was named after Norwalk in the US, but no one really knows that.
For the record, Zika is a forest in Uganda, and a bola is named after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In the last week alone, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed with a congressman that it was absolutely wrong to use the term Chinese virus.
Michael Ryan, the head of World Health Organization's emergencies program, really stressed being careful with how we describe This pandemic because there's definitely a mass hycidal impact here.
And this is where we get into the crux of why it's such a wrong label to apply.
I've seen that we have a policy to treat terms like Chinese virus and foreign virus in a specific way.
We avoid using the term unless it's in a Put on someone's specifically say it.
Say President Trump in a tweet or in a press conference.
But whenever we add the term, whenever we use the term, wanna add some context around why it misrepresents the global nature of this pandemic.
And, let's face it, this is a global problem, this isn't a US problem, this isn't a China problem, this is an everyone problem.
Things have changed and we now know that Practices that seemed acceptable even just a few years ago have a real harmful and negative impact.
Though the president shrugs off a connection between the term and violence against Asians, there's no denying that there's been a rise in reported in incidences around the world.
Here in the US, Asians are getting assaulted.
They're getting yelled at being ostracized for nothing more than looking a certain way.
And this isn't a theoretical exercise for me.
My son's classmate and his mother were standing in front of the store earlier this month.
They were minding their own business when a woman stopped their car in front of them, pulled down the window and started yelling at them for being Asian.
The boy who is pretty much a toddler, same age as my son I was confused and asked why she was angry, and even asked if she was mad at his toy.
Stores like that are just heartbreaking.
It's why I felt the need to talk about this now, because there is a real impact here.
And those words Have a real [UNKNOWN] on people.
And I know there has been a theory being pushed out by China that somehow the U.S. military is responsible for the coronavirus.
I mean, I feel that's pretty baseless and even wanna refer to it because it was such A baseless accusation and one without any kind of proof.
And also it's just as damaging, this, he said, she said, really does no one any good when it Comes to fighting the Corona virus and fighting the spread, this pandemic.
These words are not helpful to anyone.
I don't really want to get in front of this camera, this phone Tape this thing in my make shift home office that I'm dealing with where I'm dealing with juggling my kids, taking care of my kids, and juggling work.
There's a lot going on right now.
As I'm sure there's a lot going on for you as well.
I'd much rather be focusing on frankly on coverage of coronavirus, giving you guys updates on what's going on the different policies that are being put in place in different communities.
How to best make use of your time at home how to better work from home.
All the things that Cena does amazingly well, but can I can ignore this issue, there, there's just enough instances of violence.
There's enough troubling stories out there that I felt like I needed to talk about this that we need to have discussion about why this term is so wrong to us.
People still ask why the fuss?
Why are you making such a big deal about this?
You know, we've been doing this we've used terms like this before.
Why not use?
But the better question you want to ask yourself is, when we have more actuate terms for the Corona Virus, why do we needlessly choose one that jeopardizes and ostrasizes people?
Using a term that stigmatizes people.
People isn't useful.
We need more cooperation not less.
We need more communication not less.
We're really in this as a whole world right as one people.
Viruses don't see borders.
They don't see races.
They don't see income.
They'll take anyone out.
So there's a real threat there.
Last week, the World Health Organization official stressed the need for solidarity, and for us all to work together, solidarity.
Those two words I can get behind them for seeing that I'm Roger Chang.
Thanks for listening.
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