By Peter Galuszka

“The Chinese Virus?” “Kung Flu?” Wuflu?”

These are some pejorative and racist names being bandied about for what is technically known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2. The disease associated with the virus is COVID-19.

These distinctions are part of a column written by the Virginia Asian Advisory Board in today’s Virginia Mercury. They write: “In an already anti-immigrant environment, Asians, particularly Chinese, are reportedly facing increasing acts of racism.”

They report that businesses with Asian-sounding names are being shunned, Uber and Lyft drivers are not giving rides of people based on their names and the social media is filled with stories critical of Asians, which is nuts because Asia is even more diverse than Europe.

Donald Trump, our Incompetent in Chief, is leading the charge for demeaning Asians by insisting on calling the virus the “Chinese Flu.”

During the 2016 campaign, he constantly put down Mexicans and other Latinos. That summer I was taken aback when I was at my neighborhood swimming pool. A group of what looked like eighth-grade boys was splashing around shouting “Mexico sucks!” I stopped them and asked them why they were saying that. They said, “That’s what Donald Trump says.”

Prince William County Corey Stewart has made a political career by dumping on immigrants. He claimed to be “Trump before he was Trump.”

A prominent contributor at Bacon’s Rebellion (you know who you are) has called COVID-19, the “Wuflu,” which, of course is a smart ass way of noting that the virus allegedly started in the Chinese city of Wuhan. This same individual drew statewide criticism a few years back when he ran a picture of a space alien dressed up like Pancho Via with a sombrero and glittery suit. He is holding two tacos and says “I come in peace.” The tome discussed the immigrant “problem.”

That upset me because one of my closest and oldest friends is a Mexican. She has a law degree and spent about three decades as a globe-trotting diplomat. By far, she is one of the smartest and most compassionate people I know.

Such rudeness hits me personally because of my last name – Galuszka. It comes from Poland or Ukraine. My grandparents on my Dad’s side were Austrian citizens of Polish descent. They spoke Polish and were very active in the Catholic Church.

Growing up, especially in secondary school, I was called a “Polak” a bit. Even when I worked at BusinessWeek, people assumed I came from a blue collar shot and brew town in the Great Lakes factory belt.

In fact, my grandfather had a college degree and spoke five languages. He was a local bank president and ran a food wholesale distributorship in Springfield, Mass.  That had the Campbell’s Soup franchise for most of western New England. Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the Polish nationalist who became prime minister in 1919, visited their home.

My grandfather and my grandmother had a girl who died and stillborn child. The survivors were an uncle who became a priest and another who became a doctor, as did my father.

One served as an Army doctor with Patton’s tank forces in Europe. My father served as a battalion surgeon for a Marine Corps amphibious tank unit that fought at Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. He stayed in the Navy and eventually headed the urology department at Bethesda Naval Hospital before retiring with the rank of captain.

I grew up on a Marine base, in Bethesda and then West Virginia and North Carolina. None of these places is some Bo-Hunk town out of the Deer Hunter (in which the marriage scene was filmed in a Russian neighborhood in Cleveland).

Years later, working as a journalist, I had to reach someone at a chemical plant in Louisiana. The telephone operator stumbled over my last name, completely mispronouncing it. The she said in her syrupy Southern accent: “Why don’t you CHANGE it?”

This is the kind of crap that B.R. commenters should avoid. I am sensitive to it, especially when Latinos are portrayed as having such vast cultural differences that they can never be true Americans. I got that implied line at a local Chesterfield paper I once wrote for. They portrayed Latinos as poor, dirty and living in trailer parks on Jeff Davis Highway. In fact, my next-door neighbor who maintains his property better than I do, has a PhD in psychology, works in mental health, and is from Colombia.

The only place where I have lived where my non-Anglo sounding last name was not a problem was in Moscow and, to a lesser extent, Chicago.

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61 responses to “Racism and COVID-19 in Virginia”

  1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Peter –

    I was only kidding. We’re going to be Okay. Just hold on a bit longer. We’re almost done.

  2. Having had a relative who has Polish ancestry, I asked why no one ever touted that the Polish mathematicians were the ones who were solving Hitlers’ Enigma machine and that a great line of chemistry/physics scientists descended from Marie Curie, who happened to be 100% Polish and taught her 2 daughters to speak Polish. She went to France due to the gender discrimination in Poland at the time.
    I can think of another very promiment engineer, Dr Moncarz, brilliant guy, who again is Polish.
    I’m not sure where the stereotype comes from. I don’t see where the Polish folks are dumb at all.

    1. Dr. Albert Sabin was Polish.

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Thanks. I have a friend who lives outside of London and is of Polish descent. Her father was a pilot who joined the RAF and fought in the Battle of Britain. I was taken aback years ago (maybe 1969) when the movie about it came out. In one scene, a bunch of Polish fighter pilots are zooming in on a German bomber. A British pilot yells over the radio to “Stop that Polish yammering!” I guess yammering in English is the gold standard.

    1. Right. Clearly, we should be “taken aback”, perhaps even outraged, because the Royal Air Force (of Great Britain) uses the English language to communicate.

      If I joined the Polish Air Force I would expect to be required to speak Polish.
      If I joined the French Air Force I would expect to be required to speak French.
      etc., etc.

      What is “racist” about expecting people to learn the language in general use of the country in which they are living and working?

      1. idiocracy Avatar

        English is the standard for radio comms in aviation.

  4. Lawrence Hincker Avatar
    Lawrence Hincker

    You address a much larger problem – the US vs Them syndrome. It’s been around as long as homo sapiens banded into tribes. And civilized society needs to combat it.

    But racist naming? C’mon Peter. It is clearly the Wuhan Virus because it originated there. Consider:

    West Nile Virus
    Zika Virus
    German Measels
    Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
    Lyme Disease

    The all represent a common naming convention. Trump, in his inestimable way, gets it half right and half wrong. PC talk of the modern era demands that we use COVID 19. But using normal naming convention, it would be the Wuhan Virus.

    1. Don’t forget the Guinea Worm, Ross River Fever, Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola (named for the Ebola River in Zaire), Marburg Virus Disease, Lassa Fever, La Cross Encephalitis, and St. Louis Encephalitis. I’m sure there are many more.

      It’s absurd to change our disease naming conventions in order to placate those who find racists under every bed. Perhaps we should start worrying about something real — like the wet markets in China (and some other Asian nations) where viruses hop from one species to the next. COVID-19 wasn’t the first new contagious disease to come from China, and it won’t be the last.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese government originated this “stop calling it Chinese” meme in order to deflect from the regime’s complicity in (a) tolerating wet markets, and (b) responding so poorly to the outbreak.

    2. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      Common naming convention … yes but only a colloquial one.

      I read the article in the Mercury and see that is was written by the Virginia Asian Advisory Board. In it they quote the World Health Organization, who in 2015 issued an advisory asking the media and others to “follow best practices in naming new human infectious diseases to minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations, economies and people.” The advisory was issued because the WHO has seen that disease names can provoke a backlash with serious effects.

      So … while the naming may seem like a trivial issue to those of us who have used them, the fact is … it matters to the people who are directly affected. The Asian Advisory Board cares because they believe the names are “stigmatizing the Asian community and that is dangerous”.
      Good enough reason to call the disease by its real name … COVID-19.

  5. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Oh, boo hoo. My grandfather always insisted that “Haner” was Dutch because of the anti-German bias he experience during WWI. (Actually, the town of Hahn is near Frankfurt. Hahner is how it started.) His spouse, my amazing Irish grandmother, had stories about the “No Irish Need Apply” signs. We can all be victims if we want. Lots of diseases are named for their point of origin, and China has been working overtime to pin the blame on the U.S. Army (yeah, a team picked Wuhan to infiltrate….) I think “WuFlu” is a little too cute but its not racism. Without racial tensions to inflame, could Democrats win an election? If Trump is doing the same it is learned behavior.

    On my mother’s side, Shufflebarger (boy, she got teased) is indeed Swiss. Town called Shaufflelberg (Shovel Mountain). Think I spelled that right.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      On the other hand, there was the Spanish Flu, which while not coming from Spain, sounded better than using its most probable origin; American Army Barracks Flu.

      1. Steve Haner Avatar
        Steve Haner

        And my Grandfather S was at Camp Lee that fall. Never did hear how he fared, but then I am here….Man, if I could get each grandparent back for a one hour interview, knowing now what questions I wish I’d asked….

    2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      Yeah, Steve –

      My name is Fawell. Did it come from Fowl or Foul. If it be the latter, was that blood tainted by the Welsh? The issue keeps me up at night, listening to Pandora for tell-tail signs flooding out all over. Of course it’s all illusion, the Welsh have great genius. It’s all amazing. Take the greatest post WW11 Americans, they came from the Baltics – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – they redefined America in arts and sciences, explained it all to the Americans ( including southerners), along with Germans, Hungarians, and Russian Jews.

  6. LarrytheG Avatar

    My view, my arguement, my point of view:……….

    I think there is often a tinge of racism when it comes to tribalism and implications that various ethnic groups have unhealthy or other bad habits – in the way they live, farm and prepare food, etc.

    long, long ago – Deuteronomy reiterates what Leviticus states on pigs. And the pig, because it has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud; it is unclean.

    and so one society considers another to have unhealthy habits – as a race.

    Others consider the use of human excrement as a fertilizer as endemic to ethnic groups and races.

    Today, we talk about “shithole countries” and yes, some places you visit require a bunch of different immunizations and booster shots to protect you from bad stuff in those regions.

    Andrew Zimmern has a TV show about ‘bizarre foods” in various other countries which often deal with “food” hanging from vendor stalls with flies crawling on it that we’d never eat yet in those countries it’s typical.

    and those distinctions can and do factor into ” a belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

    that feeling of us vs them takes a lot of forms from individuals to entire races

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      One idiot (yes, we know who) made a comment about s$%thole countries. He was widely condemned at the time even by most in his own party. I never, ever heard anybody else say it, and he can be taught, because he never said it again. You didn’t see a Fox News special on “S&%$thole Countries” or even a list on Drudge, or a supportive sermon from Falwell Junior (actually, not sure about that….). But in 20 years Larry will still be citing it….

      But I have seen stories recently about the blatant racism of the Chinese, including about an ironic museum display on how Africans resemble wild animals, in (of all places) Wuhan.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Oh he was convinced to hold his tongue but then he just turned around and said Chinese Flu … and racist groups grabbed hold of it.

        It’s still who he is… and yes.. he’s fundamentally an ignorant person who still harbors such racist thoughts even if convinced to refrain from actually saying it – our policies and our society are influenced by it.

        and yes.. if there is racism going on 20 years from now, will still say so – sorry about that.. you stand up or you be part of it.

        1. What do you know? You’re just a “typical white person”.

  7. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    This reminds me of my in-house days and a diversity session I attended. By and large, they were reasonably useful as one could see things through different lenses.

    But I was a bit taken back when the facilitator said it was racist to require people to use English in the United States. They should be able to use their native language in all parts of their lives.

    I raised my hand and asked whether it was racist to have required many of my ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, France and Holland to give up their languages to succeed in the United States. After being told that was “different,” I asked whether it was fair to ignore past wrongs and only concentrate on current ones. Fully realizing that the answer to my question cut both ways, the facilitator said my question wouldn’t be answered.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I purchased tired recently – and the person I dealt with had a thick Spanish accent and bite my tongue I was annoyed by it. I know better but the instinct is still there.

      How about you TMT? do folks speaking foreign languages annoy?

      1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

        No, hearing someone speak another language doesn’t bother me at all. I do expect someone to be able to communicate clearly in English when I’m transacting business with them. And, as I age, it’s harder to understand people speaking English with very heavy accents. But that one is on me.

        I don’t mind women wearing a hijab, any more than it bother’s me to see people wearing nose and mouth masks during the pandemic. But just like anyone else wearing a total face (except for the eyes) covering, it bothers me to see a woman wearing a niqab. Total face masks except on Halloween aren’t appropriate in public or on official identification. And “yes,” I think there are dirt bags who would dress in a niqab to rob a bank or store.

  8. spencer Avatar

    Maybe it’s conspiracy but there appears to be a growing number of scientists that believe covid -19 could have originated in the USA (multiple strains of it exist here, only one in Wuhan for example). A month from now the world may be referring to it as Yankee flu. Has a nice ring to it, IMO.

    Unless I’m in a panic, I’m not annoyed at all by the foreign accents of providers of service and I enjoy the melting pot aspects of American culture way more than nationalism. My sexuality rendered me an outsider for most of my life so the status quo changing doesn’t upset me in the least. I’ve never found provincial charming. I don’t see any value in hiding our xenophobia in the struggles of our ancestors (you can’t help the dead, move on). 2020 isn’t 1890 and you’d have to be pretty stubborn to believe that the same standards should apply.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Well for some.. the fact that scientists are saying it – just cooks it totally these days!

      on the foreign accents.

      It seems a lot of places I go now today it’s that way. I got eyeglasses the other day and I have no clue the ethnicity of the guy who fitted me but the accent was so thick I could not understand every other word, and he was going on and on about some sort of identity issue he was having with his credit card company.. and all I could do was nod like I was sympathetic.

    2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      If we look back at how the U.S. treated blacks, Native Americans and women, but ignore the treatment of Catholics, Jews and speakers of European languages, except for Spanish, we are saying the latter don’t count. If your argument is “we can’t help the dead,” we cannot help the dead period.

      Again, why are the treatment of some people’s dead ancestors sufficient to create societal responsibilities to their descendants but the treatment of other people’s dead ancestors should simply be forgotten? Whether you look at it from logic alone or from equity, the argument falls apart.

      Either we look backwards and address all bad conduct by society or we should look forward and work towards treating everyone fairly. I resent the hell out of the idea that my ancestors don’t count.

      1. spencer Avatar

        Because “Irish need not apply” signs are no longer a thing. Discrimination based on national origin has been illegal for many decades. No one is refusing to photograph an Irish American wedding. The Irish in America aren’t being targeted for different treatment today. That said , in places where something like redlining suppressed generational wealth (effecting someone today) , that’s something to reckon with. IMO, no dead lives matter. No reparations for African Americans or Irish Americans but if a group is floundering, it’s in everyone’s interest to bring them along.

        Sure. The Irish of yore lost their accents. The Polish learned English. It isn’t because of a massive effort to assimilate though, that’s just how immigration works.
        The man at the eye glass shop has a think accent. His children won’t. His grandchildren won’t be able to speak his native language. This has been repeated throughout time.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          I hear you and agree with you. I do think there is a different between those who “assimilated” – who were allowed to and those who suffered many generations of systemic discrimination in jobs and education.

          I’m not sure about reparations but isn’t that what we did with Native Americans and Casinos?

      2. spencer Avatar

        Btw, your ancestry does matter insofar as you get to be white in Western society and enjoy all of the privileges associated with that status. I do too (super WASPy here).

        Having patience with a person struggling with English or a Colombian family speaking Spanish at home doesn’t threaten our status. Scapegoating the Chinese for a pandemic to deflect from our own mishandling (and I’m really forgiving of the government on this one) of it makes us little. We’re better than that. We know better.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          re: ” Scapegoating the Chinese for a pandemic to deflect from our own mishandling (and I’m really forgiving of the government on this one) of it makes us little. We’re better than that. We know better.”

          Yup. but why are you forgiving? And yes, we DO know better but are not strong enough in our stated convictions apparently.

        2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          Glad to know that there is one who is so all-knowing as to be able to discern which people are privileged based solely on their ethnicity. It’s attitudes like this that poison real dialog between people. And you still haven’t explained why unfair treatment for some people’s ancestors should be given special recognition while unfair treatment for other people’s ancestors should be ignored.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            unfair treatment as a person or even a group is life. It happens and it’s not anyone’s fault that someone has mistreated another unless you want to make it your business because it’s a relative or friend.

            unfair treatment of an entire race – for generations by other races- is different and should not be that hard to see nor need others to be the “deciders”.

            That “unfair treatment” including brutal treatment of people physically as well as denying them education or the right to own land or vote.

            that’s not the same as run-of-the-mill “unfair treatment”.

          2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

            Larry, can you ever look at an issue without generalizing? Not every white person is privileged; some are. Not every black person has been pinned down by his/her ancestors’ sufferings; some are. Not every Hispanic person is here illegally; some are. Not every Asian is a math scholar; some are. Let’s move beyond generalizations. Isn’t that what the debate about Wuhan coronavirus versus COVID-19 is allegedly about?

            If you feel guilty about what you or your ancestors did to someone else, make your own amends. Leave everyone else out of it absent evidence that they engaged in bad behavior.

  9. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Not sure the Wuhan virus is right. The larger issue is suscrimibation by name and nationality

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      I have no problem sticking with COVID-19 but what do you think we should do about the other similar names from the past? West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, Ebola, German Measles, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease
      Norovirus. Let’s give every pandemic a reference to the bacteria or virus and a number. Or let’s call this COVID-19 and ignore what other people call it.

  10. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    We should call this the Bacon flu

    1. Close cousin to the swine flu.

  11. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Here is why we call it Chinese Virus.

    China Boomeranging
    By Victor Davis Hanson
    March 17, 2020 6:30 AM

    “Sometime in late November the Chinese Communist Party apparat was aware that the ingredients of some sort of an epidemic were brewing in Wuhan. Soon after, it was also clear to them that a new type of coronavirus was on the loose, a threat they might have taken more seriously given the similar Chinese origins of the prior toxic SARS coronavirus and the resources of a Level 4 virology lab nearby.

    Yet the government initially hid all that knowledge from its own people in particular and in general from the world at large. Translated into American terms, that disingenuousness ensured that over 10,000 Chinese nationals and foreigners living in China flew every day on direct flights into the United States (Washington and California especially) from late November to the beginning of February, until the Trump travel ban of January 31.

    All this laxity was also known to the Communist apparat in Beijing, which must have been amused when Trump was roundly damned by his liberal critics as a xenophobe and racist for finally daring to stop the influx on January 31 — the first major leader to enact such a total ban.

    Yet, no thanks to the Chinese, America, so far, has been comparatively lucky — despite the grave risks of damaging a multi-trillion-dollar economy with the strictest quarantining, isolation policies, and social distancing in its history. Half the country lives in the interior away from ports of entry on the coasts. Medical care, sanitation, hygiene, and meat markets operate on different premises than in China, the supposed fated global hegemon. Transparency in a consensual society together with a free-market economy is encouraging tens of millions of citizens to work in tandem and independently to figure out creative ways to ameliorate the epidemic, politically, medically, socially, and economically. The result is that as of mid-March, the U.S., the world’s foremost immigration destination and among the most visited of nations, had suffered fewer virus fatalities than some European countries a fifth or sixth of its population size.

    No doubt when mass testing begins, the figures of known cases will soar, and fatalities will rise. Yet while we know pretty well the number of Americans who have died from the virus, we have in truth little idea of how many now carry it or how many have recovered from it, without knowing what sickened them or even whether they were ostensibly sick at all. In other words, the rate of new cases identified by testing may exceed the rate of new deaths, apprising us of a more precise — and perhaps lower — degree of viral toxicity.”

    For more of article see:

  12. warrenhollowbooks Avatar

    I sense more than a little deflection in this attempt to gin up a hysteria about anti-Chinese “racism” with the most anecdotal of evidence. It gives the social justice types cover over the facts that they responded to Trump’s common sense plans to stop travel from China with outraged charges of “racism’ and “hate” and even Congressional attempts to strip the President of that power. A case of ignore our stupid attack of last week and concentrate on our completely sensible one of this week.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I don’t think there is hysteria but the racist trope from the leader of the country is duly noted and understood to be who he really is and that he has supporters who do agree with him.

      He did not say “Chinese virus” accidentally one time and walked it back as a misspeak. Nope.. he said it several times then suddenly he stopped and not because he had regrets …

      He’s done stuff like this before… there are dozens of examples… he’s just ignorant and yes, racist and when he is in front of his rallies – it all comes out over and over and when he is formally speaking, his advisers sometimes have luck in giving him a prepared statement.

      That all comes undone in some of the press conferences where he reverts to who he really is.

      When some talk of “all the good” he has done – and characterize these other things as just human flaws his opponents harp on… I dunno – he’s an abhorrent individual who unfortunately is the leader of the country and the free world. His words do very much reflect who he is – it’s not mistakes in verbalizing. His policies reflect it. He is who he is and some folks love him and others loath him. He’s really good at connecting with those who like him.

    2. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      ‘gin up racism’ from one side or just shift the blame from the other?

      The best part of shifting blame is that it allows you to claim what a great job you are doing. For anyone out there who still believes the ‘orange man’ here are some of the phony claims.

      • That the Trump administration “banned flights,” “closed the borders,” or “stopped flights” from first China and later the European Union to halt the spread of COVID-19 …

      It simply isn’t true. At no time through the course of this awful period have flights even once been halted between either China and the U.S. or Europe — including even Italy — and the United States. “There’s no restriction on Americans going back and forth,” Ron Klain said on Feb 5. “There are warnings. People should abide by those warnings. But today, 30 planes will land in Los Angeles that either originated in Beijing or came here on one-stops, 30 in San Francisco, 25 in New York City.

      • Trump said he was “bold” in imposing travel restrictions even though “everybody said, it’s too early, it’s too soon” and “a lot of people that work on this stuff almost exclusively” told him “don’t do it.” “We closed those borders very early, against the advice of a lot of professionals, and we turned out to be right. I took a lot of heat for that,” Trump said on March 4.

      Not exactly the criticism of his actions …. “at this point, sharply curtailing air travel to and from China is more of an emotional or political reaction,” said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. …”The cow’s already out of the barn,” he said, ”and we’re now talking about shutting the barn door…. 300,000 people came here from China in the previous month. (Jan)

      • Trump tweeted that the virus was “very much under control” in the United States on Feb 24. The next day White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a television interview, “We have contained this. I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight,”

      The U.S. was a target of travel bans and quarantines during the 2009 flu pandemic. It didn’t work to stop the spread. Told to focus on monitoring a small number of quarantined travelers returning to the U.S., public health departments were not fully engaged in preparing mitigation, says Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security,

      • Trump said the travel restrictions “saved a lot of lives” and reduced U.S.COVID-19 cases to “a very small number.”

      No comment!

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        Trump has no clue what he is doing – and that’s not that unusual for most POTUS but they typically do listen to their experts and advisors and go carry that view to the nation.

        In Trumps case, he goes by his “gut” as to who he listens to most recently, and that lasts about as long as it takes for a “nasty question” to come at him in a press conference then he just goes high order and flings lies and falsehoods all over the room and calls reporters “fake news”.. it’s like the official daily national POTUS temper tantrum.

        This is the leader of the country and the free world ….

        “Coon-Man” OTOH – is one guy out of 50 – some of who are POTUS material like Cuomo but most are not. If you took a look at the Governors of Louisiana or Iowa or New Mexico or South Dakota – in all likelihood they’d be a lot like “coon-man” except most of their citizens would not refer to their Gov that way.

  13. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    My mom was scottish and german so we did not learn polish. I wish i had because later i studied Russian worked there for six years. My accent is bad and i can read it better than speak it. I could travel on my own. I learned how it was to be odd person out. Among americsn correspondents, the best speakers were those who learned it at home or in the military. One upi guy had been a Russian specialist in Army security. His language was so good he could handle hearings on Chernobyl without a translator. The KGB took a special interest in him

  14. warrenhollowbooks Avatar

    “Scapegoating the Chinese for a pandemic”
    Scapegoating is a loaded term you use when you don’t think that legitimate criticism is involved. So are we to assume the handling of the epidemic by the Chinese autocracy has been all fair, above aboard , efficient, and respectful of the rights and needs of their citizens?
    I wish Democrats would provide us with a list of the currently approved autocratic regimes. so I know who I am allowed to criticize.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: ” So are we to assume the handling of the epidemic by the Chinese autocracy has been all fair, above aboard , efficient, and respectful of the rights and needs of their citizens?”

      Nope. It was bad. Are you speaking of the Government of China or the Chinese?

  15. warrenhollowbooks Avatar

    If your big injustice issue is that your name is mispronounced you probably live in America.

    personal note: My most recent ancestor came here in the seventeenth century and my name is constantly mispronounced.

    1. idiocracy Avatar

      I can top that. My last name is of English origin. It is still mispronounced (here in Virginia). The sad part is, it’s pronounced exactly like it is spelled, but most people (here in Virginia) cannot pronounce it. Perhaps that is an indictment on the quality of the education system (here in Virginia).

      Back in Illinois, I don’t recall anyone ever mispronouncing my last name.

  16. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Warrenbooks the chinese communist government under xi us a really bad actor on human rights and freedom of speech. It’s not exactly a “progressive” thing. You need to think in s bigger way

  17. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    One point the folks here seem to missing is not so much the nomenclature if the virus but discriminating against people with Asian names. One drives thenother.

  18. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Great points, Jane

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      I may call it Chinese flu but I’ve still gone for takeout at Cheng Du up on West Broad, and will again. I’m sure there are people stupid enough to think ill of Americans of Asian background because of this, but the word stupid applies. If not this they’d have some other beef. First time I bought a Japanese car my uncle the former WWII Marine was truly mad and said so.

  19. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Bacon. My Chinese source says this us from an anteater. not a wet fish market in Wuhan. Maybe anteater virus?

  20. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Haner. You are German and it shows. I am too but less so. Suggest you watch “Le Charite” on Netflix to get your background right.

    1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      Now I understand about SH … Spent my few days in Germany on a bike trip trying to get people to smile … Exhausting! 🙂

  21. warrenhollowbooks Avatar

    The fact is the Democratic Party called the travel restrictions racist and actually moved legislation sponsored by dozens of Representatives to strip the President of the power to do so. I am sure they would like that to disappear down the media memory hole now. The would rather create a fake hate “environment” to cloud the issue and ensure they have safely earned their social justice points.

    1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
      Jane Twitmyer

      Yes, I see that the Democrats objected to Trump’s restrictions, but not the virus ones. The Trump official cited national security concerns as the reason for specific restrictions, passed about the same time as the virus travel advisory.

      On Jan 31st the Trump administration announced it would restrict the ability of immigrants from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania to get certain immigration visas. The new policy does not amount to a blanket travel ban, but only applies to those seeking to live in the U.S. permanently rather than temporary residence. It will also restrict diversity visas for nationals of Sudan and Tanzania.

      The first version of the travel ban took place over three years ago and was against several Muslim-majority nations. A revised version of that ban was later upheld by the Supreme Court, and travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen is still restricted.

      Travel from North Korea and Venezuela has also been curtailed.

      These are the bans the House Dems criticized, not the virus’ travel advisories, although some disagreed …. and according to The Hill, Pelosi said she would seek a NO BAN Act to “prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.”

      We are talking apples and oranges here.

  22. warrenhollowbooks Avatar

    Again, it is too bad the the current administration cannot catch some of the break the American Left is willing to give to the largest non-democracy on earth: you know, the one without free elections or opposition parties or constitutional freedoms.
    I suppose we have to wait unto Donald Trump and the Chinese leadership become a bit friendlier and then we can expect Democrats to turn on a dime and start going into full “Russia mode.”

    Did anyone ever read anywhere over the last three years media discussion of how criticism of Russia was the same as criticism of Russians ergo a slander on Russian-Americans and thus the same as hate?
    That argument would have been just as silly.

  23. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” Larry, can you ever look at an issue without generalizing? Not every white person is privileged; some are. Not every black person has been pinned down by his/her ancestors’ sufferings; some are. Not every Hispanic person is here illegally; some are. Not every Asian is a math scholar; some are. Let’s move beyond generalizations. Isn’t that what the debate about Wuhan coronavirus versus COVID-19 is allegedly about?”

    TMT – did the Federal and State Govt categorize your ancestors as property than could be owned by others because of your race? How about owning land or using the same restroom or holding a job or getting an education or voting? Did any of your ancestors get treated that way?

    You’re confusing mistreatment of people with State sanctioned discrimination of a race of people based on their color and yes if your ancestors were not treated that way and others were – then you had privledge that they did not have.

    It’s not about guilt – never was – nor should be.

    It’s about recognizing the truth and the facts that this country systematically harmed people for generations, moms, dads, kids, who were separated and sold like cattle, while you and your ancestors did not suffer any of that. Yes, you had “privilege” if you got an education and someone like you but black was denied that. Ditto for being able to use the same bathroom or get a job, or own land or vote.

  24. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    You are the southerner not me. I grew up in Minnesota. There was no slavery in Minnesota ever. I went to the same schools with black kids; went to the same bathrooms; played on the same football teams. I was not part of the segregated South. I’m not responsible for it.

    Minnesota’s governor was the first in nation to volunteer troops after Fort Sumpter. Two of my 2nd great grandfathers fought for the Union. One of them was denied a pension because his papers were burned in a fire. He was an uneducated Irishman (he signed his pension application with an X), so he had to give up. He went back to work for the railroad in his 70s. Earlier, he had to change his last name to get a job. None of these people seemed very privileged to me.

    Several of my ancestors had to flee France because of their religion – Huguenot. My 5th great grandmother’s property was confiscated by Pennsylvania because her late husband sided with the British. He was a messenger and died of smallpox. She and her 7 kids were homeless and had to trek to the Gaspe Peninsula. My 2nd great grandparents were not permitted to immigrate to the United States because they were Irish. They were permitted to go to Canada. My brothers and I were the first in 4 generations to grow up with a father. My 2nd great grandfather, great grandfather and grandfather all died when their sons were under 10. The widows had lots of money – not.

    So where is the privilege? Don’t put the way you were raised on others. Many of us lived in a very different world and we are not responsible for the actions of people in your world.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      TMT – I’ve lived all over – son of Marine – North and South. Fathers side was German immigrants to NY, mothers side English Virginians. Went to school all over the US.

      Perhaps Minnesota was never segregated?

      I can see why you feel the way you do but all of us are responsible for how Blacks were treated by the US if our ancestors had rights that blacks were denied.

      Blacks have been systematically discriminated against for generations – by the US as well as states – both North and South.

      At the end of WWI – Blacks were attacked all over the US …

      the question as to your personal involvement is not the same as if the Govt discriminated against them and if they did – and they did – what should be done about it – as govt – not as individuals.

      1. idiocracy Avatar


        Don’t hold me responsible for the poor decisions your Virginian ancestors made.

        Someone whose ancestors never lived in a slave state and never owned any slaves (and is only here in Virginia because his parents are still here and he has to take care of them, which is the result of a corporate decision made 30+ years ago, that corporation having since figured out what Virginia is all about and leaving as a result..but not before laying my dad off. Personally, I think he should have told said corporation to go pound sand when they told him he needed to move to Virginia)

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          It’s not about holding anyone responsible. It’s a question of equity
          for those that were harmed by discrimination and it was more than “slave states”. Discrimination against blacks has ocurred in all 50 states
          as a result of govt policies.

          Let me ask you – since neither you nor I did not do anything against Native Americans – do you think we should not address the harm done to them by the government? Do you think they are entitled to some benefits as a result of their past treatment?

          Just FYI – I’m not a “southerner”, nor a descendant of slave owners, nor anything close – I’m a military brat and did attend segregated schools in Virginia and I dd see the rampant discrimination against them and yes, I saw it in Northern states also as most residential subdivisions did not allow blacks in them nor in the white schools that served those neighborhoods.

          Discrimination was practiced by the US GOVT on things like USDA program for instance.

          The Real Story of Racism at the USDA

          the USDA, an agency whose own Commission on Small Farms admitted in 1998 that “the history of discrimination at the US Department of Agriculture…is well-documented”—not against white farmers but African-American, Native American and other minorities who were pushed off their land by decades of racially biased laws and practices.

          Now, if you and I had nothing to do with this discrimination does that mean it’s wrong to address it and try to remedy it?

          Do you know the history of how blacks have been treated – not just in the South? Do you think that just because you had nothing to do with it that it’s wrong for the govt to try to make amends for it?

      2. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
        Jane Twitmyer

        And its not about whose responsible individually either, regardless of ancestors … My ‘lots of greats’ grandmother left England because she was a Quaker and is considered the Mother of the church. Didn’t know that until I did Ancestry., the Scots were too predominant. But Philadelphia was a still kinda Quaker place to grow up and guess that’s where the ‘city of brotherly love’ came from.

        Anyway, it’s about the whole community’s responsibility for the country’s earlier mistakes … all of our responsibilities.

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