Profs: Trump is 'racist' for calling coronavirus the 'Chinese Virus'

With the threat of COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus, intensifying by the hour, President Donald Trump and his Coronavirus task force are mobilized to halt the ongoing threat, but some professors have decided to focus on Trump’s allegedly “racist” name for the virus.

On Monday, Trump stated in a tweet, “the United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!”

Marie Myung-Ok Lee, instructor and Writer in Residence at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, suggested in a Salon op-ed that coronavirus fears have “transmogrified into unchecked xenophobia and racism.” She further suggests that “Trump-enabled racists @-ing him on Twitter” are exacerbating the problem.

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Lee suggests that white supremacy and xenophobia are responsible for the fact that Trump and others have dubbed the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, the “Chinese Virus.” 

According to Lee, “white supremacy can be a factor even in the way that we name viruses — such as when the language around it, purportedly objective and scientific, stems from a white-centered, xenophobic perspective.” 

“Trump’s overheated rhetoric on migrants and people of color — and ‘s**thole countries,’ as he calls much of the world — are absolutely fanning the flames of the racist response to the Coronavirus,” wrote Lee, adding that “it is important to recognize that this bias against Asians is nothing new.” She argues that “the engine of white supremacist culture and language continually hums underground until something like 2019-nCoV makes it visible.”

In direct response to Trump’s tweet, Lee tweeted, “Anyone who calls #TrumpVirus C-virus [Chinese-Virus] is racist but we already knew that.”

“Trump is literally pushing fear to metastasize into racism -- If you think you’re a good person, don’t let it...” she added


Lee is not the only university teacher who holds concern for the president’s rhetoric. 

Rosalind Chou, associate professor of sociology at Georgia State University, shares a similar position.

In a Salon piece, Chou was quoted as saying “the comments made by President Trump intensifies the xenophobia and racism that’s become rampant against Asians and Asian Americans globally. He’s fueling fears against Chinese specifically.”

Chou believes that, as a result of the language used by the president, “people of Asian ancestry across the globe may face collateral damage,” claiming the President’s statements are “dangerous and erroneously assign blame to people who are as susceptible to the disease as anyone else worldwide.”

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Tyler Moore, secretary of the Turning Point USA chapter at GSU, said the professor does not speak for GSU in condemning Trump.

“I’ve seen a lot of videos disrespecting the president…I find it hypocritical,” Moore told  Campus Reform. Moore further said that he views the politically-motivated attacks on the president as “disgusting” because doing so in a time where there needs to be unity “shows hypocrisy and malice.”

However, the rhetoric from Chou is not a surprise to Moore, who claims that political tension is heating up at GSU.

Moore has experienced students and faculty getting “violent and angry” with his TPUSA chapter. He told Campus Reform, “People scream in our face when posting free market stuff and tabling.”

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Moore says he himself has even experienced personal attacks from faculty, claiming that he has “gotten in trouble for asking questions” that push back against the left-wing ideas promoted in class. Moore says that “the college is indoctrinating students by redefining everything,” citing marriage, sex, and other social issues.

Politicians and political commentators have also joined in on both sides of the argument. Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted Wednesday that “the president is turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on…”

Political commentator and host of the Ben Shapiro Show, Ben Shapiro, also added his thoughts: “It is not only NOT racist to call coronavirus the Chinese virus – a term directly targeting the Chinese government, not Chinese people – it is both accurate and necessary as the Chinese government distributes propaganda blaming everyone but their own s****y government for this.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Justin_Begley