Jeannie Mai recently shared her views on the racism some Asian Americans people are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Real host wrote an essay to People addressing the spike in racist comments and posts since the outbreak occurred. Mai, who is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent, has said that she has experienced the racial remarks on her own social media pages.
She shared in her essay that, in between seeing updates on how the virus is affecting Italy and, more recently, the U.S., she often comes across xenophobia against the Asian communities. She said that some of the things she has seen online have been vulgar words and racist memes against her and her race. She said seeing the racism with her own eyes made her see the importance of using her likeness to call it out.
“It feels like there’s two viruses — COVID-19 and fearful ignorance,” Mai wrote in her essay. “I realize we all need to open up the discussion of Asian American-directed racial tension that has been caused by the novel coronavirus.”
Mai also said that the memes and videos she’s seen affect her greatly in other ways besides race. She said one of the first viral videos where a Chinese man was being harassed with racial slurs while he was trying to collect cans. Mai expressed that the video was upsetting to her because it took place in her hometown of San Francisco.
Mai then addressed how the racism toward Asian Americans in light of the outbreak has affected entrepreneurs within the community. She shared that many businesses in cities like New York, Houston, and Boston have seen a decrease in sales over the last few weeks. Mai says she believes people are misplacing their fears at Asian Americans, which is causing them not to have the resources needed for them and their families. The talk show host also encouraged others not to use their fear as a way to be cruel to Asian Americans.
“We need to check our friends who make inappropriate jokes in our circles. Take action against hate crimes when we see it. Don’t be bystanders, be upstanders,” Mai shared. “Your fear is no excuse to be racist to Asians. Racism won’t end racism.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak, Mai has been one of many celebrities to stress the importance of staying inside until it’s safe to leave your home. The Real, along with multiple other shows, have temporarily suspended production to prevent the further spread of the virus.