“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus.” -Donald Trump
It should go without saying but maybe someone needs to hear it…using phrases like “China Virus” “Chinese flu” and “Kung Flu” to describe COVID are 100% racist, deplorable to God, and DANGEROUS. This is just one of the recent examples of weaponizing race. This language is a #dogwhistle and cheering for it, defending it, and making excuses for it makes you guilty by association and it reveals a lot about your character. #ConfrontRacism #BetheChurch #breakthesilence
My friend Todd Fisher wrote about this and I thought it should be shared:
“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus.” (Tweeted yesterday by our president). He began his campaign by pledging to protect us from Mexican rapists. And I said nothing. After the Black men wrongfully charged as the Central Park 5 were exonerated, he continued/continues to double down on his years of attacks. And I‘ve been silent.His reference to “sh*thole countries” was aimed at Haiti and African nations. For this one, I did write a post–if only in my mind–and remained quiet.
So, to my Latinx, Black, and African friends—I am sorry for my silence, ask forgiveness, and repent (turn from the way I was living). Now that his racist language impacts my own wife, children, and parents I will speak up. But I do so with remorse for so many previous moments of recalcitrance.
His “China Virus” and “Kung Fu flu” rhetoric is not a reference to the geographic origins of this pandemic. And we all know it. He uses race to divide. He plays into fears, prejudices, and ignorance.
I can no longer sit by.
You’ve heard stories in the news, and perhaps some of you have wondered if they are real. Be assured, they are real. While grocery shopping just prior to the quarantine, my wife (and a dear friend to many of you) was told to “go home” by an older white gentleman she did not know. Her heritage may be China, but my wife’s home is Indiana.
My son was taunted as “Captain Asia” by a boy on the soccer field (pre-pandemic) when wearing a t-shirt bearing the logo of one of his heroes. When walking in our sidewalk-less neighborhood last week, a man driving a large pickup with an outsize American flag unfurled from its bed, drove dangerously close as my wife tried to step out of his way. He laid on his horn, shouted indecipherably at her and made unpleasant gesticulations. And she wondered if he was able to distinguish if she was Chinese or just by her complexion that she was “other.”
Racism has long been a gash in the fabric of American society. But the leader of our nation pulls at this tear, he uses this to his advantage. And so often he is given excuses by those who should know better. Especially those who also claim to pledge allegiance to the Prince of Peace. He is emboldened by the silence of people like myself. And those with their own explicit racial prejudices are now themselves emboldened.
There’s so much that could and should be said. But for now, I ask this: if you are a friend of mine or my family, and you are tempted to support or explain away the not-so-veiled racism of assigning blame (in the face of a health crisis that doesn’t seem to just “disappear”) to “the Chinese”—don’t.Because it’s not the political forces of another country who are being targeted: it is people of Asian heritage.Please don’t make excuses for those who spread such ideas. And please don’t buy into the subtle insinuations that “the real problem is to be found in that person who looks different from you, different from ‘us’.”
This rhetoric is being weaponized and serves to further marginalize all our families and neighbors of Asian descent. And they of course join so many peoples and groups who are marginalized as “other.”Now, to any of you who might say as a Christian and a pastor I shouldn’t speak thus, I’m well aware of the arguments and the scriptures. They have run through my mind in so many moments. In those moments I suppressed the even clearer command to not withhold good when it is in one’s power to act (Proverbs 3:27).
In the same passage that keeps many Christians, especially pastors, quiet in the face of injustice enacted by elected officials (you might have had it thrown at you: “honor the emperor”) we’re also told “it is God’s will you that by doing good you should silence the talk of ignorant fools” (1 Peter 2—check it out). “What is the good we are to do?” you may ask? Scripture is clear: in addition to walking humbly with God, “good” is to “do justice and love mercy” (Micah 6:8).
Justice means speaking out and acting on behalf of those who are marginalized, oppressed, threatened. It means joining God’s work of real-world action to give glimpses of a world set right. And it also means to do tangible good, even to those who, under control of our true spiritual enemy, behave as one’s enemy. So I pray, as instructed in scripture, for our nation’s leader (1 Timothy 2:3). Perhaps you’ll be moved to do the same? I pray he would be saved and come to the knowledge of truth (2:5). That he would be healed of whatever deep pain haunts him, healed of whatever trauma causes him to embody the truism, “Hurt people hurt people.”
Would you also pray for my wife and children? They are strong, but they are impacted by this vitriol. Would you pray they would be physically and emotionally protected? And let’s join our prayers for all people who are marginalized in this moment. And let out our prayers turn to action to truly love our neighbors as ourselves.”