Los Angeles, September 8, 2020
stephanie mei huang discusses how president Trump's labeling Covid-19 a "Chinese Virus" and later "Kung Flu" has caused anti-Asian discrimination and harassment throughout the West and made her reconnect with Chinese medicine while looking for a "Chinese cure":
"At the onset of the pandemic, Trump leaned into the West’s centuries-long history of pathologizing China, labeling Covid-19 a “Chinese Virus” and later as “Kung Flu.” Such racist demagoguery stoked anti-Asian discrimination and harassment throughout the West, leaning on the region’s history of marshaling protectionist tactics, such as the discriminatory laws and xenophobic rhetoric that characterized the 19th century’s “Yellow Peril.” While much of this history is written out of dominant narratives, the afterlife of Euro-American depictions of China as medically backward and of ill health persists in the contemporary Western subconscious, with lasting consequences. For instance, in the popular 19th-century imagination of the West, China became known as “the Sick Man of Asia,” the “original home of the plague,” and the “pestilence of the East.”3 Perhaps my guttural response to the resurgence of anti-Chinese rhetoric, rooted in bacteriological racism, was to look for a “Chinese cure”—a cure reliant upon healing traditions closer to my nativity and further from the claims that render my body a pathogenic scapegoat."
Read the entire article at Contemporary Art Review LA.
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