Racism and xenophobia have always been one of the first things that gets stoked when there's a global issue.
The global issue of the moment being COVID-19—aka coronavirus—which originated in China.
That means people are acting seriously sketchy about people they believe to be Chinese regardless of their actual country of origin.
It's racist, it's irrational, it's ridiculous, but it happens every time. So when a woman named Min got on the subway and a White woman immediately covered her mouth with her scarf, Min knew exactly what she was dealing with.
So she decided to conduct a little "experiment."
First Min took some time to observe. It's possible that she was just wiping her mouth, right?
Maybe she just happened to do it when Min walked by. But no, she kept her scarf up.
The woman hadn't been covering her face when the only people around were also White, Min could see her as she approached.
The woman didn't cover up until she saw Min. She covered and stayed covered while Min was around.
Min decided to see what would happen if she faked a little cough into her elbow. She made sure she had her phone ready to record, just in case.
And then she let the cough go.
Subway lady was NOT having it. Her response said everything Min needed to know.
Princessmin_c / Twitter
The woman looked up from her phone and mumbled something that she refused to repeat. When Min tried to speak to her, she engaged for just a few seconds before she got up and left.
This woman really moved to the other side of the train rather than sit near Min.
So I get on the train and this white woman immediately covers her mouth with a scarf when she sees me. I thought it… https://t.co/cAstkkUau7— min (@min) 1583180400.0
Her post ignited a serious Twitter war.
Was the woman being racist or was she just being cautious? Was it really racist to cover up in public?
No, that's not inherently racist.
But why did she only cover up when she saw an Asian person? Why not use those precautions when White people passed her way?
Newsflash: White people from the United States travel to China for business and pleasure. Asian people from the United States can have no connection to China.
Not all Asians are Chinese. Not all Chinese-Americans have been to China.
Cue the fight music.
@princessmin_c But that is not racism, it is a valid prevention against the coronavirus pandemic that the world is experiencing.— Felivia Mejía (@Felivia Mejía) 1583249009.0
@AnonApu @Felivia @princessmin_c Ok, so it’s in Asia. Does that mean every Asian who lives in America is automatica… https://t.co/jcovjC5Wfk— They think that I’m Tom Cruise // RIP KOBE (@They think that I’m Tom Cruise // RIP KOBE) 1583321223.0
@SwordAndScale That's not self-preservation. Self-preservation would be wearing a mask for the entire commute, not… https://t.co/oEwYbfy1Kk— Elliott 🌿 (@Elliott 🌿) 1583285098.0
@princessmin_c I don't blame her at all for that reaction. Asians are the ones who spread novel cornoavirus all ov… https://t.co/QByx6cCJTl— John of Westeros (@John of Westeros) 1583352372.0
@Les_Gomez @princessmin_c @xobrooklynhomie that’s like saying clutching your purse when a black man walks by is “just being safe”— honey :) IS SEEING BTS PERIOD (@honey :) IS SEEING BTS PERIOD) 1583292677.0
@princessmin_c @Ceviizagaci Listen here you self entitled piece of shit. When the worst case scenario is your fucki… https://t.co/u8vrUO2dYj— Porçay (@Porçay) 1583337528.0
@princessmin_c I’ve been wearing a face mask when I go out for about a year now. I wear it constantly when out. Not… https://t.co/Ty88PNvVtw— Syner7 (@Syner7) 1583351342.0
@en_bloc_press @princessmin_c The COVID-19 case we know of in NYC is a white lady. But people aren’t covering thems… https://t.co/zgJOMpNaLD— probably not a robot (@probably not a robot) 1583347356.0
@princessmin_c it’s like they find a new way to be racist every year. they haven’t run out of ideas yet?— Base Form Gilly (@Base Form Gilly ) 1583279788.0
@liliyaag @princessmin_c All I see in this vid is a woman covering her face while someone is coughing like a madman in front of her— Kai's XOXO L-O-V-E (@Kai's XOXO L-O-V-E) 1583319055.0
@princessmin_c https://t.co/XSmvyuemD1— Jordan Lancaster (@Jordan Lancaster) 1583362657.0
So Twitter is obviously not going to come up with an answer any time soon.
Universal precautions in affected areas are advised. But in the United States, a person of any race or ethnicity may be infected with COVID-19.
Racial profiling won't save you from being infected.