Michael Yu 三藩市
It has been almost 3 years since Covid-19 started to ravage humanity. The world community has suffered a great deal at all levels. At the beginning of the pandemic, many people died in Wuhan China because of the virus. When the virus further spread, almost all daily activities were forced to shut down everywhere in the world. In the United States, public places including schools, libraries, playgrounds, and business buildings were ordered by city officials to close the doors. Students had to go online to attend classes while professionals worked remotely in front of their computers. Essential workers such janitors, nurses and police officers were risking their lives performing their duty physically to keep the city functioning. As a sophomore at high school when the pandemic started, I experienced my share of suffering. I could no longer see my friends to discuss schoolwork and solve problems together. School was no longer fun. I could no longer enjoy my grandparents’ cooking on weekends as I always had. Meals had become boring. All we were left was anxiety hoping the pandemic would end soon.
After a few months into the pandemic, Wuhan led by its courageous people had fought a great battle and saved many lives. China had since started to open up its cities and resumed normal activities steadily while continuing to test, contact trace and quarantine its citizens tirelessly. China being a developing country used all the tools it could find, united all fronts and kept fighting back, setting a great example for the world to follow. However, in the United States, people were misled by former president Trump who insisted the virus would go away by itself very soon. Instead of tackling the problem head-on with the advice of health officials, President Trump started to spew out conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus. He intended to distract people’s attention from his own incompetency which had been the characteristic of his administration when dealing with complex domestic issues. One of his conspiracy theories speculated that the Covid-19 virus was created intentionally in the lab in Wuhan, and it was an attempt by the communist China to hurt the free world in order to gain economic advantage. To this day, the speculation has gone wild but still without a sliver of evidence. He further called this virus “China Virus” in front of large audience. This kind of rhetoric has given energy to haters. It has divided people and diverted efforts from fighting the pandemic. People started to subconsciously link people of Chinese or Asian descendent to the virus. With all the struggle people were already having in the pandemic, it was quite natural for some of them to look for a scapegoat – something or someone else to blame. Thus, the term “China Virus” lit up the anger other race groups felt toward Asians. Next, we would hear about the staggering climbing reports on Asians being attacked by other racial groups. I’ve experienced such an attack verbally myself. One time, when I was shopping at a Walmart store in the East Bay, someone just blurted out in front of my face, “Go back to China!”. Immediately, a furor rushed through my body from head to toes and I felt like I was going to explode but my head went blank. I did not know how to react. To this day, I still regret I didn’t do anything although I feel lucky at times that I didn’t get hurt physically unlike some other unfortunate cases we’ve heard.
I have reflected a lot on the incident and come to realize the attacks had been the result of the irresponsible politicians’ rhetoric fueling the frustration of the less educated people. We really must stand up and fight back the hate crime Asians have been experiencing. We must hold politicians accountable and vote out those who try to sow division and hate among voters to gain political advantage. I also think about our Asian history in this country. The Chinese immigrants have been a more likely target whenever there was an economic or political crisis. This has to do with our own culture which promotes the virtue of hard working and less complaint when facing adversity. Our generation needs to be more proactive and vocal in protesting against injustice. To stem hate from its root, we need to be united and send a strong message to the perpetrators, “Enough is enough!”. We also need to be active advocates for more health education to teach the less educated that viruses have been always lurking around no matter where you are, who you are. We – the world as a whole – must always be prepared to fight against all odds. We can only win if we treat each other kindly and respect what Nature has to offer.