America’s current descent into violent racism is aimed at Asian Americans, particularly Chinese Americans. Many of these citizens are suffering indignation and violence. There have been many attacks in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area.
An elderly man was killed in one such attack. Recently, six of eight people killed in an Atlanta-area shooting were Asian American. The New York Times reports that the Asian-American community has “been reeling from high levels of racist attacks.” The apparent motivation for this animosity is our former-president’s implication that the coronavirus was intentionally released upon us by a Chinese government laboratory, scientific evidence to the contrary.
The idea that a fatal disease is the result of deliberate action by a minority ethnic group should not be strange to the Jewish community. During the 1300s, Jews were accused of poisoning drinking wells, causing the Bubonic Plague. The European Jewish population, perceived as outsiders, also suffered threats, beatings and murder by hateful mobs.
Today, a QAnon-believing congresswoman has spoken of a fire-starting “Jewish Space Laser” controlled by the Rothschilds. This modern echo of the Dark Ages is a reminder to us that ignorance still governs the fear and hate that brutal demagogues thrive on.
The current experience of the Asian American community mirrors our own. As Americans, we must identify, reject and eliminate evil bigotry. The demagogues claim patriotism. However, their words and the violent response of their followers are the very definition of un-American.