Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a resolution last week calling on the Senate to condemn the term “Wuhan virus” as racist.
The resolution, introduced May 14, describes the terms “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-flu” as “anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric” that “have perpetuated anti-Asian stigma.” The resolution on the Senate to condemn “all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID–19,” including “all manifestations or expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance.”
In a press release from early April, the senator announced that she was planning to introduce the resolution along with Democratic Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono. (RELATED: Cuomo Refers To Wuhan Coronavirus As The ‘European Virus’)
“There have been disturbing reports of increased profiling, intimidation, or hate towards Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants during the COVID-19 crisis – this is inexcusable,” Harris said.
She cited an FBI intelligence report that was discussed in an ABC news article that said hate crimes against Asian-Americans were likely to increase and an NBC News report saying that anti-Asian sentiments have increased during COVID-19.
“Let’s be clear: COVID-19 does not target any group by race or ethnicity. We must condemn any instance of racism or discrimination, wherever it exists,” Harris added.
“The increased use of anti-Asian rhetoric has resulted in Asian Americans being harassed, assaulted, and scapegoated for the COVID–19 pandemic,” the bill reads.
President Donald Trump has frequently referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus,” which some have condemned as racist. According to a Washington Post article published in March, “several experts” spoke out against the president’s use of the terms, including UCLA professor Gilbert Gee, who told the Post that “they’ve basically made it okay to have anti-Asian bias.”
I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the “borders” from China – against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
University of Maryland at Baltimore County psychology professor Charissa Cheah, who is conducting research on anti-Asian bias during the pandemic, called Trump’s use of the terms “reckless and irresponsible,” according to the Post’s report.
“[Trump is] essentially throwing his American citizens or residents of Chinese and Asian descent ‘under the bus’ by ignoring the consequences of the language he uses,” she said. “He’s fueling these anti-Chinese sentiments among Americans.”
The president has defended his use of the terms, saying at a White House press briefing in March that “It’s not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” according to a Politico report.