One of them is Tzi Ma, the veteran Chinese-American actor who starred in The Farewell and the upcoming Mulan, who fell victim to racial harassment. Speaking to Variety, Ma, 57, recalled an encounter in early February at a Whole Foods grocery store in Pasadena, where a car approached him as he made his way to the store entrance.
“He rolls down the window and goes, ‘You should be quarantined,’ and then he took off,” said Ma. He added that incident left him speechless and he yelled back at the drive-by verbal assaulter, who had already fled the scene. “This is emotional,” he said. “This affected my psyche.”
Last week, Ma joined the digital campaign called #WashTheHate, which aims to raise awareness of COVID-19-related anti-Asian sentiment. The campaign features videos from Asian-American artists, influencers and leaders washing their hands for 20 seconds and sharing personal stories about how the virus has impacted their lives.
In his video, Ma said, “We’re all scared; now we act out of our fears by wearing masks, hoarding supplies and sadly some of us lash out on Asian Americans as if Asian Americans were responsible for this virus just for being of Asian descent. Stop it.”
In the Variety interview, Ma urged other members of the Asian-American community to stay alert when they’re out and about. “I think we all need to be very vigilant. I think we all need to be a little bit more hypersensitive to our surroundings, keep our eyes and ears open.”
Ma also has a few words for the anti-Asians out there. “Does it stop the virus?,” he asked. “I don’t think so. Does it make you immune to the virus? I don’t think so. With this kind of hatred, you’re going to be sick, ‘cause it can’t be good for you.”
Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim, who revealed he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday, also condemned the COVID-19-inspired racism. “Please, please stop the prejudice and senseless violence against Asian people,” he said in Instagram.
“Randomly beating elderly, sometimes homeless Asian Americans is cowardly, heartbreaking and it’s inexcusable. Yes, I’m Asian, and yes, I have coronavirus, but I did not get it from China. I got it in America, in New York City.”
Bernice A King, the daughter of civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr, showed her solidarity with Asian-Americans by sharing Kim’s quote in her Twitter post.
“Please, please stop the prejudice and senseless violence against Asian people. Randomly beating elderly, sometimes homeless Asian Americans is cowardly, heartbreaking and it’s inexcusable.”https://t.co/cO1zlbrVFV— Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 20, 2020
Here are other celebrities who have taken to social media to share their views on the issue:
Using dangerous rhetoric to incite racism isn't what is needed right now. The virus really doesn't care where you come from, it is unbiased to all. Stand up for each other in these dark times, it's the only way we are going to make it out the other end. Stay safe ❤️— Henry Golding (@henrygolding) March 20, 2020
Hey @JohnCornyn “This is Chinese culture and every disease comes from there.” is factually false and worse is a clear rallying call for idiots to go after people who look Asian. There are Asian kids out here just trying to live you reckless moron. https://t.co/0PBGC9XKLJ— Ronny Chieng (@ronnychieng) March 18, 2020
💔 Be better. To wake up to your chaos is truly a nightmare. Please. Be better. 💔 To my followers- be safe. I love you. pic.twitter.com/Okbg735cQC— Lana Condor (@lanacondor) March 18, 2020
Calling the Coronavirus the Chinese virus stokes hate and blame towards Asian faces. I don’t understand why people need to call it that so badly when it puts others in danger. It takes zero effort to call it something else, so pls just do that. https://t.co/o1UWN4aQcl— Jenny Han (@jennyhan) March 18, 2020
There have been five hate crimes perpetrated against Asian Americans in NYC alone since the coronavirus crisis began. Trump's ignorant rhetoric is dangerous because it stokes racial fear and violence. Call it out. Don't let it stand.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 18, 2020
Dear @realdonaldtrump,— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) March 19, 2020
When you blame a virus on an entire race of people, you turn people against them. When you make these unscientific political statements, some of your followers begin to act violently and in exclusionary, xenophobic ways against these people. Do better.
It’s called covid-19. Not Chinese virus. As an HIV+ American stigmatizing the name in this way is so irresponsible, racist, and lacks leadership we desperately need.— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) March 20, 2020
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos