Anti-Asian racism has been boiling over since the beginning of the pandemic, culminating in threats and crimes committed against Asians around the globe, including in Colorado.
The danger that Asian-Americans face, however, hit home for many last week when six Asian-American women and two others were killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia.
Anti-Asian racist incidents rose quickly in the U.S. after former President Donald Trump took to calling the coronavirus “the Chinese Virus,” “the Wuhan Virus,” and even “Kung-flu.”
Here in Colorado, some conservatives and some businesses followed in Trump’s footsteps by parroting his terms–or coming up with their own creative names to label the virus.
For example, Randy Corporon, a Colorado talk-radio host who was elected last year to serve as state committeeman on the Republican National Committee, refers to the coronavirus as “The Chinese Communist Party Wuhan Virus.”
In a statement to the Colorado Times Recorder, Corporon emphasizes that he uses his made-up term to condemn the Chinese Communist Party for mishandling the disease and the information surrounding the disease, as well as to denounce the Chinese government for the oppression of its people–and “will continue” to use the term.
“I decry any racially motivated property damage, injury, or death. People who commit crimes should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. My limited understanding of the Atlanta massage parlor shootings is that the accused has claimed he has a sex addiction and was targeting sex shops. I also understand there were non-Asians who were shot, but I admit I have spent no time investigating the story. Regardless, my answer won’t change.
The spread of the COVID-19 Virus has caused death, destruction, and misery on a global scale, all magnified and complicated by the effort to terrify and quarantine entire populations and shutter businesses, schools, churches, etc. rather than focus on protecting the vulnerable and treating the sick. The Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus out of China without warning to the world, continues to spread propaganda about it through the World Health Organization and complicit media, and continues to refuse to cooperate with the rest of the world in sharing information that would help us understand whether it is a laboratory or natural creation, how it works, how it got out, and how we can prevent something similar from ever happening again.
The Chinese people are an ancient, noble people. They are oppressed by, and certainly not responsible for, their government. The Chinese Communist Party must be called out, identified, exposed, and opposed at every opportunity. Thus, I refer to COVID-19 as the Chinese Communist Party Wuhan Virus often when engaging in political speech and will continue to do so.”
Below, listen to Corporon on KNUS 710-AM refer to a “Chinese Communist Party Wuhan virus survivor” during his Wake Up! With Randy Corporon episode Saturday:
Corporon, who was a Trump delegate to the 2020 Republican National Convention, isn’t alone in Colorado in using this type of rhetoric.
Casper Stockham, far-right Republican candidate for Congress who lost to Democratic incumbent Ed Perlmutter, referred to the virus as the “Wuhan virus” on Facebook.
Another conservative radio host, Jimmy Sengenberger, defended Trump’s use of the “Chinese Virus” in a column last year for Colorado Politics.
A liquor store in Louisville had a sign outside the building last march March that read, “Thanks China,” as well as advertising Firestone for $14.88, a known numeric hate symbol that stands for white supremacy.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, labeling merchandise as $14.88 is a common white supremacist tactic.
Whether or not the Georgia shooting spree was overtly racially motivated remains to be determined in investigations of the crime.
The New York Times reports that massage parlors that offer sexual acts often exploit the Asian-American women working for them, who have either been sex trafficked or have been tricked into accepting a job that involves sex acts. Sometimes, clients go into a massage parlor expecting sex, and threaten workers for said sexual acts.
Racism against Asian-Americans has existed for as long as there have been Asian-Americans in the U.S.
Jennifer Ho, Director of the Center for Humanities & the Arts and Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, wrote an op-ed for CNN explaining how to be an Asian American woman is to be either a victim of sexual violence or to be a canvas for sexual fantasy.
The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center, an organization that tracks racism against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, has reported that around 3,800 incidents of racism in the U.S. have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic.
In Colorado, there have been 44 cases reported of anti-Asian discrimination, according to the group.
One of the officers involved in investigating the Georgia shootings came under fire for claiming that Long was having “a very bad day” when he committed the murders and was also discovered to have promoted racist anti-Asian t-shirts on his personal Facebook.
Correction: “China Communist Party Wuhan Virus” was changed to read as “Chinese Communist Party Wuhan Virus.”