Jeannie Mai is using her voice to speak out against rising racism directed at Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. In a heartfelt essay for PEOPLE, The Real co-host, who is Chinese and Vietnamese, wrote about “fearful ignorance” that’s driving hate speech and, in some cases, physical violence against Asians.
“It feels like there’s two viruses. COVID-19 … and fearful ignorance,” Mai wrote, before explaining that she had realized it was imperative to “open up the discussion of Asian American-directed racial tension that has been caused by the novel coronavirus.”
Mai continued by explaining racist attacks she’s faced since the coronavirus pandemic spread in the United States, and concluded with a powerful statement:
“Your fear is no excuse to be racist to Asians. Racism won’t end racism,” she wrote. “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.”
Read her full essay here.
Mai’s experience is supported with facts and research. On April 10, CNN reported that researchers at the Network Contagion Research Institute reported, “Coronavirus pandemic has coincided with a surge in Sinophobic, or anti-Chinese, sentiments.”
Alex Goldenberg, an analyst at the institute, told CNN, “We are seeing instances where this Asian conspiracy is seeping into the mainstream, and an outgrowth of that could very well be violence.”
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.