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Jeannie Mai condemns coronavirus racism: 'Hate will get you sick, even if the virus doesn’t'

Mai opened in an editorial about how Asian Americans have received harsh remarks due to the fact that the virus had originated in China
Jeannie Mai (Getty Images)
Jeannie Mai (Getty Images)

Jeannie Mai, one of the hosts on the syndicated talk show 'The Real', has opened up about the spread of racism against Asian Americans in the wake of coronavirus.

Mai, 41, opened up to People in an editorial about how people from her heritage (she is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent) have received harsh remarks due to the fact that the virus had originated in China. She also revealed that her own Instagram account donned "vulgar remarks and racist memes."

"After receiving numerous vulgar remarks and racist memes on my own Instagram, I realize we all need to open up the discussion of Asian American-directed racial tension that has been caused by the novel coronavirus feels like there’s two viruses. COVID-19 … and fearful ignorance," she said. In the editorial, Mai recounted the first time she witnessed racist incidents since the outbreak of the coronavirus was in her hometown. "One of the first viral videos exhibiting racism towards Asians was of the lone Chinese man in my hometown of San Francisco. He was collecting cans to recycle at a neighborhood he frequented, only to be attacked and mocked by a group of men shouting racial slurs. Even worse, while this man stood crying and pleading for the return of his cans, the onlookers from the neighborhood, ranging from small children to adults, just stared on," explained Mai.

The editorial went on to speak of other incidents that were racist in nature including that of a 16-year-old boy being physically attacked by bullies in San Fernando Valley with accusations of him having been infected by the virus because of his Asian-American heritage. "On Feb. 13, Los Angeles authorities spoke out against a number of bullying incidents and assaults against the Asian-American community, including a middle-schooler being beaten and hospitalized," Mai said further.

"Yes, the virus originated in China. Everyone already knows that. But do we all know that not all Asians are from China? And that not all Asians have coronavirus?" said Mai, condemning the racism and violence over something that warrants the need of a community to heal. "Viruses don’t discriminate against people of certain racial backgrounds. But clearly, people can. This strain of coronavirus may be new, but anti-Asian sentiment certainly isn’t," she continued.

After breaking down "three simple understandings" to curb racism and wrong information, Mai ended the heartfelt piece by saying, "We ARE going to get through this. We DO need one another to remain calm, positive and forward-thinking. Let us NOT repeat the mistakes of our pasts to turn an entire race of people against one another. Let us stand up for and with each other in these dark times. Hate will get you sick, even if the virus doesn’t."