I wrote about this earlier today. In that post, I asked if Trump and conservative pundits are using the phrase “Chinese virus” to promote division in the country. A taste:
There are many Americans–especially Chinese-Americans–who are offended by people calling COVID-19 the “China Virus.” So why do we continue to call it that? It now seems like Metaxas, Starnes, and Kirk (and Trump)–all self-identified white Christians–are defending this description of the coronavirus (and others like it) precisely because they want to throw more salt in the wounds of those who are offended by it. Why else would they continue to insist on calling it the “China virus?”
Sadly, it looks like I was right. Jabin Botsford of The Washington Post snapped this picture during Trump’s press conference today:
Here is Allan Smith of NBC News:
President Donald Trump on Thursday was photographed reading from notes at the daily coronavirus task force press conference where the word “corona” was crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” to described COVID-19.
The photograph, taken by a Washington Post photographer, showed the word crossed out in what appeared to be Sharpie and in the president’s own handwriting.
The image comes as Trump has ramped up his description of the coronavirus as a “Chinese virus” as he’s been questioned about whether he considers the label to be racist.
“It’s not racist at all,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “It comes from China, that’s why.”
Read the rest here.
In case you missed it, here is CNN’s Brian Stelter’s report on Ingraham’s recent comments about “massive demographic changes.”
Ingraham is correct about the demographic changes facing America today. This is not the first time we have seen such changes. It is also not the first time that Americans have responded to such changes with fear-mongering. This time around the fear-mongers have a cable television channel.
A few more points:
- Ingraham says “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.” She says this in the context of immigration and demographic change. And then she says that her statement is not about race or ethnicity. Seriously? Then how does Ingraham define the America “that we know and love?”
- Tucker Carlson says “no society has ever changed this much, this fast.” This sounds like something a white Southerner might say during the late 1860s and 1870s, the period of Reconstruction when freed slaves were trying to integrate into southern society.
- In her response, Ingraham condemns white supremacists. But her comments about immigration and “demographic change” seems to be little more than a defense of a white America that she believes is being threatened by people of color. How is this any different than David Duke and others?
- How does Tucker Carlson know that we are undergoing “more change than human beings are designed to digest?”
- Ingraham says that “the rule of law, meaning secure borders” is what “binds our country together.” On one level, Ingraham is correct here. Immigration restriction and securing the borders once bound America together as a white Protestant nation. White Protestants did not want Chinese men and women coming into the country, so they “bound our [white Protestant] country together” by passing the Chinese Exclusion Act. White Protestants did not want more Italians and other southern Europeans coming into the country, so they passed the Johnson-Reed Act (1924) to restrict them from coming. So yes, Ingraham is correct when she says “the rule of law” and “secure borders” have bound our country together. It was racist then. It is racist now. On another level, Ingraham probably needs a history lesson. For most of the 19th-century, the United States did have something equivalent to open borders. So there has been a significant chunk of American history when secure borders did not bind America together.
- I will let someone else tackle this, but “merit-based immigration” seems like a racist dog-whistle. This reminds me of when Trump said that we need more Norwegian immigrants and less immigrants from “shithole” countries.
Often-times fear is propagated by Christians who claim to embrace a religious faith that teaches them that “perfect love casts out fear.” This faith calls us to respond to demographic change with love, not fear.
By the way, I wrote a book about how fear of such “demographic change” led evangelicals into the arms of Donald Trump.
I am always a sucker for a good story from New Jersey shore history. Over at Atlas Obscura, Eveline Chao tells the story of how Chinese immigrants living in New York formed a neighborhood at Bradley Beach. This one hit home because the grandmother of a high school friend had a house at Bradley Beach and I remember spending a few summer weekends there.
Here is a taste:
ONE DAY IN 1941, LEE Ng Shee went for a stroll in Bradley Beach, New Jersey. She was the wife of a prominent merchant in New York City Chinatown named Lee B. Lok, who in 1891 had established Quong Yuen Shing & Company, a general store on Mott Street. The family liked to spend their summers on the Jersey Shore, though it was a challenge to find landlords who would rent to nonwhites. Lee Ng Shee was passing a house on Newark Avenue, stepping carefully on her bound feet, when a woman came out on the porch. “Are you looking for a house?” the woman called out. “Would you like to buy this one?”
Lee knew a deal when she heard one. “Two thousand dollars later, Lee B. Lok and family were ensconced in a summer bungalow of their very own in the village where twenty years before they would have been lucky to be able to rent some rooms over a store,” wrote Bruce Edward Hall in his Chinatown memoir Tea That Burns.
Lee’s lucky break paved the way for more Chinatown families. Others bought along the same street, and soon, Newark Avenue became an equivalent to Mott Street in Manhattan; a mini, parallel Chinatown on the Jersey Shore. Jokingly, they dubbed the area Chinatown-by-the-Sea. Other old-timers call it “the Chinese Riviera.”
While the Lees blazed the path of home ownership, the story of how Chinatown families started renting in Bradley goes much farther back. In 1877, the minister of a rural parish in Sherman, Pennsylvania asked his congregation to open their homes to poor children from New York City. Tuberculosis was endemic in the city’s overcrowded tenements, and fresh air was believed to help with respiratory ailments.
Read the rest here.
Erika Lee, the director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota and the author of The Making of Asian America, argues that Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from the United States makes the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 look tame by comparison. The Chinese Exclusion Act only applied to manual laborers.
She explains in a recent seven-minute interview at Public Radio International.