Mulan Star Tzi Ma Recalls Racist Attack At Grocery Store, Urges Others To Join #WashTheHate Movement

COVID-19 is a health issue, not a racial one.

Some US political leaders’ insistence of labelling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” has rattled many Asian Americans who are concerned that they will be the targets of more hate crimes.

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.

Here are other celebrities who have taken to social media to share their views on the issue:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: TPG News/Click Photos

 

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