Black Folks Are Tired: On “Kung-Flu,” the “Chinese Virus,” and Expectations of Advocacy

I’m sure everyone has heard by now that a White House staffer was accused by Weijia Chang, a CBS reporter and Asian-American, of calling COVID-19 the, “Kung-Flu.” In a now viral tweet, Chang rhetorically asked, “I wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.” On top of that, our Commander-in-Chief has been referring to the illness as the “Chinese virus” for well over a week at this point.

chang

Many Asian-Americans are expressing concern that characterizing COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” will further flame racist fires that they say they are experiencing. Several news reports like this one are popping up that detail Asian-Americans, some not even Chinese, dealing with slurs, physical assaults, and other poor treatment at the hands of non-Asians who believe that the victims are automatically carrying and spreading the virus on account of their ethnicity.

Of course, many on the left are pleading for others to take up for Asian-Americans to help extinguish this apparent onslaught of problematic behavior and combat anti-Asian racism.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we…start with this bullshit!

Anti-Blackness is a global problem and Asians and Asian-Americans have been some of the biggest perpetrators of anti-Blackness. Just yesterday, I came across this article where Chinese people were expressing their wish that after this pandemic is over, we niggas stay away from their country.

liang

Peter Liang, a police officer, was acquitted after he chose to add his name to the Hall of Fame of officers who saw a Black face and shot first and asked questions later when he killed Akai Gurley, an unarmed man, and didn’t even bother to call for help. And when that happened, did Asians join with Black Lives Matter to express their anger that yet another Black person was gunned down by implicit bias? Neaux. They rallied behind Peter Liang.

Latasha

But, let’s take it all the way back before many of us were born (or old enough to know better). Latasha Harlins was 15 years-old when an Asian store owner thought she was stealing and shot her in the back of the head, killing her. The store owner was found guilty of manslaughter but served no jail time.

On top of that, many Black people are able to recount the poor attitudes and treatment doled out by Asian owners and employees towards Black people; owners who have made hand-over-fist off of their Black patrons in overwhelmingly Black neighborhoods.

In a larger context, there would be no rights for any other ethnic groups were it not for the work done by Black people for decades. Period. Black people are tired of people telling us we have to advocate for groups that prove over and over that they hate us. We’ve done a 400+ year bid at the hands of white people, first, then non-Black Latinos, Asians, Italians, etc. I promise Asians, the “model minority,” will be just fine.

We have our own battles to fight; many we’ve been fighting since we got here around 1619. We already know what it’s like to not be able to walk around in peace without racist slurs thrown at us for no reason. We know what it’s like to have to fear for our children merely going to school. We know what all of this shit is like.

We also know what it’s like to walk into an Asian-owned store and be followed around and told to hurry and buy something because they think we might be stealing. We know what it’s like to hear non-Black Latinos use “the n-word” against us. We know what it’s like for the same Italians whose pizza restaurants we patronize to treat us like garbage even though we help put food on their table.

Black people have been asking people…EVERYBODY…to recognize our humanity for ages.

So…we’re tired. Ask the white people, who started that shit, to help.

Here’s a tip to the Asian-Americans who are concerned with how they’re being treated though…and listen closely because this comes from an expert…a real life African-American…

it wasn’t the Coronavirus that made them dislike you.

Chew on that.

wink

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