President Donald Trump continues to refer to the deadly coronavirus as the "Chinese virus," while his critics are warning that such rhetoric is not only misleading — most of the deaths from COVID-19 have occurred outside of China — it also encourages racism against Asian-Americans living in the United States. And one Asian-American who has experienced such racism first hand is CNN's Kyung Lah, who said she was called an anti-Asian slur this week while reporting on coronavirus.
Lah, on Friday, told her colleague, Jake Tapper, that not since "elementary school" had she heard that slur "directly to my face."
"It's something you see on social media frequently, especially if you're an Asian-American reporting on controversial or non-controversial news items," Lah incredulously explained from Los Angeles. "And so, we were standing there preparing for live shots this morning — just hours ago — and a man walked up and used a racial slur. Slung it right at me. And I was so surprised and so taken aback that I asked him to repeat it because I couldn't believe it."
Lah continued, "So, it is something that is happening. And what I find most surprising is that it's happening in front of our faces, directly at people. That is something that I have not experienced in a very, very long time in this country."
In response, Tapper asserted, "I'm so sorry you experienced that. And I would just like to note that if you are stupid and racist enough to be holding random individuals of Asian descent responsible for a pandemic, then you should be self-quarantining from society anyway."
After it emerged, COVID-19 hit China hard. More than 3,100 people in China have died from the coronavirus pandemic. But coronavirus has turned out be even deadlier outside of China. As of Friday afternoon, coronavirus had claimed 11,153 lives worldwide, according to John Hopkins University. And 4,032 of them were in Italy, which now has more coronavirus-related deaths than any other country in the world.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 20, 2020