We are not Corona Virus!
I am sure you too have seen the whole media circus around the Corona virus lately and you might have noticed how negatively it has affected the Chinese and other Asian communities. Up to a point that makes me boil with anger. I am not really an activist, as I know I’m too soft for it. I always try to solve things in harmony but if it’s really necessary, I do stand up for what I believe is right.
This was one of these times. I needed to step up and do my part in spreading awareness. I have talked about this on my Instagram briefly, but it’s a subject that I would like to give more context and attention here on the blog, so that you understand where my anger comes from.
Many brave Chinese people have spoken up about the controversial topic regarding the social effects of the Corona virus and I am so happy and proud to see this movement happening, now more than ever. The more stories people share, the more powerful the message will be received and can potentially be conveyed to the ones who have no idea - or even worse, who do people harm.
So this is my side of the story. One of many….
In 2018 I wrote an article on the blog called ‘the Asian banana generation’. It’s about my struggle of growing up in The Netherlands having a Chinese ethnicity, ending my story by saying that I am proud to be both, Dutch and Chinese.
Unfortunately, the Dutch society makes me and other Chinese people feel the opposite of proud right now. Intolerance towards the Asian community has currently reached the highest point in The Netherlands, this mainly being caused by the influence of media.
My whole life I have been forced to endure racist comments which are supposedly perceived as jokes while I am supposed to swallow those painful comments, like it’s nothing. Why are we singing “Henkie penkie Shanghai” at school? Why do people have to say “Ching chang chong” or “Ni hoa” when they walk past me? Why do people make jokes about my eyes or me eating dogs (which I have never eaten in my whole life)?
It’s textbook 101: racism! But somehow it’s still accepted in society, which apparently gives people the feeling that acting racist is also their right, whether it’s intended or not (and come on, it always is, I mean - if your subconsciousness thinks it, then you think it too). I mean, let’s be honest here, by making “jokes” based on someone‘s different background you are being racist! I mean, even if it was funny, making fun of someone‘s background is - YEAH THAT‘S RIGHT - still RACIST.
I never really let it get too close to me that much, that’s simply how I was raised. You get a thick skin after a while but every time someone makes a comment like that it still stings. Dealing with ignorant people on a daily basis is exhausting. The excuse “it’s just a joke” is not relevant anymore. There should be a boundary - and this generation will let you know!
This discrimination has always been there. And then came the Coronavirus. Apparently it gave people the right to use it as an excuse to be racist. Asian looking people are being discriminated even more.
The „icing on the cake“ was when I heard the song on Radio 10 “Beter volkomen dan Chinezen”. This song sums up the level of ignorance that lots of people still have. Some people have already died of the virus and they decided to turn it into a “funny” (but actually just racist) song. It’s just disgusting and disrespectful.
Later that day my brother told me that he and his girlfriend were harassed in front of their house, only because they are Chinese. My parents with a Chinese supermarket are worried about the business because some customers are now afraid of Chinese people being infected. I have allergic reactions to dust and hundreds of other things. These past couple of days, especially while traveling, I‘m so anxious to sneeze in public. And the list goes on and on.
Get your facts straight
The media can be our friend or enemy. Collecting your insights from different sources is what I strongly recommend. The common flu kills more people annually than the Coronavirus. This panic and hysteria is only fueled by racism and xenophobia (and selfishness) and not evidence or practicality. This misinformation and racism is more dangerous than any virus. Read this article for some facts: 'Something's Not Right Here Folks" | A Look at USA 2009 H1N1 Virus Compared to China 2020 Corona Virus'
I’m reading about the racist incidents in The Netherlands and I see how the outside world is reacting to this. I totally get why the older generation tried to avoid this confrontation. There is a war going on at the moment and it’s getting out of hand. The racist incidents are increasing and people forget to see the bigger picture. In the end, it‘s not about race, it’s about common decency to respect each other as human beings.
There is still a loooong way to go but the Chinese community is more united than ever to fight discrimination. When you do something or say something discriminating against the Dutch Asian community, you will hear it at @broodjekaasmetsambal.
I am pleasantly surprised that all generations are involved this time. My family and their friends are actively collecting petitions and spreading the news. That’s how far it has gone.
What can we do?
- Help educate people to understand
- Speak up when you see incidents happening
- Sign the petition against discrimination --> here
I think it’s our right and obligation to make people see what is going on and I really hope they will learn with time. (I am addressing the real ignorant people.)
Enough said. Message = world peace!