Does anyone here like Chinese

racism: I'm.not. a virus.

Racism against Asian people has increased since Corona. Our author no longer dares to cough in public and is angry.


Read on one side

A few weeks ago I was on the train. When I got to my destination, I stood at the door to get out. Two men eyed me. I already knew what was to come. "Here comes Corona, get out quickly," said one to the other. I didn't reply, just stood there annoyed. It's atypical that I don't defend myself against injustices, but at that moment I just felt exhausted. I had no strength to stand up to these racist statements. I've been doing this since the beginning of February.

Nhi Le

is a freelance journalist, speaker and moderator. Her focus is on feminism and media culture. In 2019 she was described by Zeit im Osten as one of the most important young East Germans.

Since the epidemic began two months ago, Asian and Asian-looking people have faced racism every day. So much that they feel compelled to emphasize that they are not a virus (#I am not a virus). As the number of infected people rose, so did the number of people who were excluded and assaulted. Last month, a music college banned all Chinese applicants from taking the entrance exam on the grounds that they could all be infected. Two weeks ago a man in Munich sprayed his Chinese neighbor with disinfectant and threatened to cut off her head. To this day I get messages almost every day in which people tell me about hostility towards themselves and their families. I ask myself: where is all this going?

This is the supposed logic: all Asians = Chinese = corona sufferers. A white person who may have even been on vacation in Ischgl and could therefore be much more likely to be a carrier would never be as hostile to any Asian person.

Racism, including anti-Asian racism, is nothing new. Typical resentments are particularly evident. It says that Asians are dirty or even uncivilized anyway. Some jump in time and believe in the colonial narrative of the "yellow danger", which served to stir up fears of the Chinese. The prejudice was shaped by a French sociologist. Most of all, they feared for Western supremacy, which is why the image of a wild Chinese horde that would invade Europe was invented. Others open up today's show and just throw around crude derogatory jokes like "Kung Flu", a combination of words from Kung Fu and Flu, the English word for flu.

Anyone who talks about racism often hears the answer: "People are simply afraid of being infected". Such a reaction is always painful for those affected because others want to deny you your own experience.



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The fear of being constantly accused of being the cause of the virus eats up so much space in my head. It paralyzes me in everyday life and makes things a matter of course a risk situation. I am asthmatic so cough a lot. Whenever I'm in public with people, I try to suppress my cough.

Some time ago I had to see a doctor. I called the practice beforehand to explain my concern and to emphasize that I had neither contact with infected people nor was I in risk areas. It seemed necessary because I had read reports from Asians telling them how they were denied treatment and sent home.