In times of doom and gloom when we are at the mercy of a foreign enemy -in this case a virus we should be mature enough to use constructive language that will raise us up and not risk denigrating other Americans among us. President Trump seems to take glee in branding the coronavirus with terms that everyone knows has been contributing to hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Asians in America. He called it a “foreign virus” during his Oval Office speech. It’s unusual for this president to address the nation from the Oval Office. When I was a teenager any time the president addressed the nation from the Oval Office everyone was glued to the TV set back then. Granted in those days we had three major networks. But the point is we paid attention. Calling a virus “foreign” serves no scientific purpose. A virus does not recognize borders. It does not need a passport. His use of the terms “foreign virus,” Chinese virus,” and now defending the term used by a White House staff “Kung flu” does nothing but embolden racists to attack Asians. When the president uses such words people with prejudices believe they now have the green light to act on their racism.
It’s high time the president use words to edify and build up people. He has a unique position to bring people together. It makes no sense uses his stature to make some Americans feel like they are lesser than others. It’s similar to how Haitians felt when people stigmatize them as carrying the AIDS virus. Even though the HIV was first recognized here no one calls it the American virus. Instead they used a scientific name for human immunodeficiency virus. Not American virus. And as for those who bring up German measles well there is the regular measles or Rubeola and the German measles or Rubella, German measles was called that because it was heavily studied by a group of German physicians. And the Spanish flu so named because Spain was neutral during WWI and the press was free to report on that flu unlike the countries at war that banned what could be reported in the media. So people assumed that the flu originated in Spain which according to accounts it did not. Even the Spanish called it the French flu believing it came from France. And to be fair the Spanish flu was first recorded in Kansas in the United States.