The actress is calling out the president for repeatedly calling COVID-19 the 'Chinese Virus.'

By James Hibberd
March 18, 2020 at 04:46 PM EDT
Credit: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Lana Condor is calling out President Trump for repeatedly calling COVID-19 the "Chinese Virus."

The Vietnamese-born American actress (X-Men: Apocalpyse, To All the Boys I've Loved Before) slammed the president on Twitter for seemingly trying to get Americans to associate the pandemic that's now spread worldwide with people from China.

"You have no idea the ramifications your racist words and actions have on the Asian-American community," Condor wrote. "You simply cannot even fathom the danger you are putting our community in. How dare you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself a leader? You know what leaders do? They LEAD by setting good examples and ACTION. Something we've yet to see you do. You need to take notes on Chinese billionaire Jack Ma who is ACTUALLY leading -- by donating tests and millions of masks to AMERICA because you haven't. Please. Be Better. So we aren't afraid to leave our house in fear someone will verbally or physically abuse us because of your xenophobia."

Trump used the term "Chinese Virus" in a series of tweets this week. On Wednesday the president defended the usage to reporters. "It's not racist at all," he said. "No, not at all. It comes from China, that's why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate."

The White House also issued this statement: "Spanish Flu. West Nile Virus. Zika. Ebola. All named for places. Before the media’s fake outrage, even CNN called it 'Chinese Coronavirus.' Those trying to divide us must stop rooting for America to fail and give Americans real info they need to get through the crisis."

It's true many viruses and diseases are named for the place that they seemingly originated. And it's accurate that COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, originated in China (and no, it wasn't a biological weapon created in a lab).

There are just a few problems with the White House's logic.

First, "Chinese" is not a place.

Second, the disease already had a name – the descriptor "novel coronavirus," or the more specific "COVID-19" – that has been widely used for months.

And finally, there have been reports of customers avoiding Asian-owned business and outright racist attacks in recent weeks linked to people associating the virus with Asians.

So when the president swerves out of his way to try and re-brand COVID-19 the "Chinese Virus" – again, an ethnicity, not a place – it sure sounds like an attempt to blame certain people for what's essentially a random virological accident with terrible consequences for everyone (including China).

And if you think people would never confuse "Chinese Virus" and Chinese people, that it's just a name, think about this: 38 percent of Americans say they won't drink Corona brand beer anymore despite Corona having nothing whatsoever to do with the coronavirus – which is remarkable, particularly because there are so many actual good reasons not to drink Corona.

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