Warning Against Corona Virus Racism Posted by Town Supervisor
An oddly-worded warning to residents of a Hudson Valley community begs them not to react racially to the Corona Virus.
On Thursday the Wappinger Town Supervisor posted a message to local residents asking them not to be alarmed by the Corona Virus. In the Facebook post, the supervisor explained that even though the World Health Organization declared the outbreak "a public health emergency of international concern," Wappingers residents should have "little concern, if any" about the disease.
The supervisor went on to urge citizens to "continue with your daily lives uninterrupted in Wappinger." Reading further down, however, I was caught off guard by a strange, final warning written in all caps. It said:
MOST IMPORTANT - PLEASE DO NOT BOYCOTT OUR LOCAL BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS BECAUSE THEY ARE OWNED OR MANAGED BY ASIANS.
This was a bit jarring, not only because of the all-caps but because I was unaware that this was actually a thing. Are people really not going to Chinese restaurants because of the virus outbreak a half-a-world away? I haven't heard anyone raise a concern about this before. There has been no mention of anti-Asian sentiment over the virus on cable news or in any written reports about the virus that I've seen.
It never even occurred to me that locally-owned Asian businesses would be risky. I still don't believe they are, but after reading the warning I can't help but have that seed of doubt in my mind now. If anything, I think this strongly-worded warning could actually make people more likely to avoid these places, thinking to themselves, "Hey, maybe I shouldn't go to Asian businesses now."
There's no arguing that the intent of this warning was good, but sometimes making a big deal out of something that most people aren't really concerned about only makes them fear it more. I don't know anyone who thinks the Corona Virus is a big threat to the Hudson Valley right now, but if we continue to loudly demand that everyone stop panicking, people may start to think that we may actually have a reason to be concerned.