How Four Days of Facebook Venting About Trump’s Coronavirus Verbiage Led Some to Listen.

Today’s Casual Racism is Hurting Innocent Asians, While White Supremacists Threaten to Weaponize Covid-19.

Image for post
Image for post
Jonathan Mok, 23, after being beaten in Central London.

To the image above, the simplenews.co.uk website description of the incident read: A Singaporean pupil has stated he was beaten up by a bunch of males in central London who informed him: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my nation.”

We’ll come back to this.

For now, I have a question: What is the difference between those who cannot curb their violent tendencies, or the tendency to suddenly and without warning snap and violently lash out … and those who process the term “Chinese Virus” and use it to blame and beat members of the Asian community?

My answer: Nothing.

Allow me to explore this idea a bit further by bringing into this dialogue another hot-button issue: gun ownership.

I will relate the two topics shortly. I promise.

Do you own a gun? No judgement; I’m asking. Do you justify your gun ownership over a fear of being attacked and/or your right to due protection under the Second Amendment?

We all know there’s an awful lot of bad out there that has nothing to do with personal politics. We all hear about the shootings of innocents, and also the usually partisan arguments that follow, such as “good people with guns would stop bad people with guns” and the like, arguments that too frequently and unfairly devolve into simplistic battles of right vs. left.

So, to those on the right — and the left — who own guns and do not shoot innocent people, I assume we can agree that those who do either have no control over the actions, or are mentally ill, or simply evil? Surely those people will not be controlled, or convinced with any logic. Years of therapy, perhaps.

And that’s where those who perpetuate the “PC“ argument as it regards Trump’s “Chinese Virus” verbiage — who do not consider themselves racist — miss the point. Needlessly placing innocent people in harm’s way is the true transgression, not a simple matter of censorship. By perpetuating the argument that any outcry against Donald Trump calling the virus the “Chinese Virus” is entirely and solely PC-inclined, one is inadvertently (or otherwise) enabling and encouraging those with no control to take their fears and frustrations out on their fellow man, in this case innocent Asians who are being blamed for Covid-19.

If it is neither you nor I who is the problem, then we have a mutual responsibility to not casually encourage those who are.

This is no different than those who shoot innocents over their own fears and later claim that they were protecting themselves over some nonsense the newly-dead had nothing to do with. You didn’t do it. You didn’t take a life. They did, but a little research will show that many, including minors, consider themselves emboldened by our dialog on the matter and saying as much to authorities.

We cannot be the root of the problem, and that’s exactly what happens with this “Chinese Virus” nonsense. And yes, all of us are responsible for those prone to adapting the current presidential narrative and taking matters into their own hands.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

To be clear, I am not blaming Donald Trump for the onset of these attacks, and no, I am not blaming him for the onset of the virus, one statement being more ridiculous than the other. Many of the above incidents occurred prior to Trump jumping on the bandwagon, and were international in nature. What I am blaming our president for is exploiting “Chinese Virus” as a catch-all, despite the advice of both his advisors and the World Health Organization.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Once Trump did unapologetically and consistently exploit the new verbiage, things only got worse.

On social media, amidst posted images and articles of Asian-Americans being physically bullied and attacked, posts like this became de rigueur:

Image for post
Image for post

I blocked this person, but big deal. She will go on and share her provocative posts elsewhere.

I certainly, though, had my say:

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Note: Please click on the above link and fill out the incident report if you or someone you know of the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) community suffers a racially-motivated incident related to Covid-19.

Onward.

Several other emotional Facebook posts followed from me, which in their wake caused notable consternation — and several friendship blocks — from those who consider this president to be beyond reproach.

However, more positively, the anger my words elicited also triggered a real dialogue on the “Chinese Virus” controversy.

Some told me they were reconsidering the matter. That’s a win.

But it’s not enough.

For one, I’ve long refused to transform my social media into an echo chamber. Though the vast majority of my friends and social media followers are left-leaning, I make it a point to maintain Trump supporters (and anyone who disagrees with me, for that matter) on my page to hear other sides. We all have to co-exist, now and following any administration. Pretending one side or the other does not exist is, to me, stupidity.

I do my best, frequently against the will of my readers … and then my own anger begins anew when I see articles like this:

So, on repeat … I am not a fan of this president, who I do blame in part for emboldened racism in the country he leads.

However, after this most disastrous week for the entire world, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to move forward.

I maintain a fairly large social media following and I appreciate that I may have some influence in those circles. Though moving on, I hold a good deal of residual anger over Donald Trump, who I believe today is once again dividing the country … while exhibiting some leadership traits for the first time in his presidency.

In the midst of lying, balancing a tone of optimism and reality, and dog whistling for votes in November, that is.

Alas, as we have the ability to contain our social interaction, I believe we have the ability to contain our potential negative influence.

Make no mistake, my Trump postings of late have been poisonous. What I have shared above are my more civil ramblings. In the coming days, I will personally tone my posts down a bit because what is transpiring is, simply, bigger than me. This does not mean I will ever stop fighting for what I believe in, but it is now time to hop off from the Trump train and spend time productively, and more helpfully. How? Primarily by heeding and spreading the advice of our true experts: our doctors and scientists.

Trump has shown up to work. Late, but he’s shown up. He is playing a desperate game of catch-up because now there is no choice.

I’m toning down, but damn if that son of a bitch gets a pass for initially downplaying what appeared to be evolving into the greatest global scourge of the last 100-plus years, then diverting his complicity for racist attacks by spewing simplistic nomenclature that does no one any good and only threatens to harm more innocents.

No, I will not give him a pass as I now have relations in jeopardy, and who knows where any of us will be in the days moving forward?

Trump in part blames Obama for the calamity. He’s desperate to hold on to his base; I get it.

That said, any voter mindset from here forward that does not hold elected leadership accountable for their actions — or lack thereof — is madness. I personally don’t give a damn what side you’re on, or more pointedly how much you adore Donald Trump.

We’re in this together. Our elected officials have taken oaths to work for all of us.

This administration took action late, and we’re all in the crosshairs as a result.

Including those who voted for him.

I’m moving on because there is no choice … while being mindful of a pending bodycount, inclusive of our Asian brothers and sisters, who matter every bit as much as those of us who are not considered part of that community.

I’ll rant about Trump if/when I feel that I have to — such as to call attention to matters that in my opinion should not be ignored — but those posts will be balanced with more helpful information.

Finally, for those of you who responded to my Facebook posts, and expressed to me that you were at the very least willing to be more open-minded about holding your elected officials to account, I thank you for hearing me.

All in this together …

If you have found this article of value, feel free to recommend, share and follow me here on Medium (and I will follow you back), where I publish new stories daily on a variety of topics.

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store