The San Antonio City Council unanimously passed a resolution declaring coronavirus-related terms such as the "Chinese virus" and "Kung Flu Virus" to be hate speech despite COVID-19 having originated in Wuhan, China. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted the city council and said they are "behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge."
Some Democrats have attacked anyone, especially President Donald Trump, for using the term "Chinese virus." Their argument is that you can't label the disease based on from where it originated because that is racist.
Many diseases have been named after their origins, including:
- Lyme disease from Lyme, Connecticut
- Zika, named after the Zika Forest in Uganda
- Ebola, named after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Legionnaire's Disease, named after an American Legion convention in Philadelphia
- West Nile virus, from the West Nile, Uganda
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever, named for the Rocky Mountains
- German measles, from Germany
- MERS, which stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
- Marburg virus, named for the German city of Marburg
- the Spanish flu, named for Spain
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was so concerned about potential discrimination against the Asian American community and ramifications of the name of the coronavirus that she went to San Francisco's crowded Chinatown in late February and told people: "Come to Chinatown, here we are — we're, again, careful, safe — and come join us."
The city of San Antonio has taken it one step further by outlawing words associated with the coronavirus that it deems to be racist or xenophobic.
The resolution states: "The City of San Antonio denounces antisemitism, anti-Asian bigotry, and all hateful speech, violent action and the spread of misinformation related to COVID-19 that casts blame, promotes racism or discrimination or harms the City of San Antonio Asian and Pacific Islander, Jewish, immigrant or other communities."
San Antonio reporter Jaie Avila was covering the meeting and tweeted: "Council regular Jack Finger was speaking against the resolution when his mic was cut off."
Avila added that Council Member Manny Pelaez said that "hate speech is more dangerous than the virus itself." There are over 271,000 worldwide deaths from the novel coronavirus and 77,000 American deaths.
Council Member Manny Pelaez speaking on resolution says "hate speech is more dangerous than the virus itself"— Jaie Avila (@Jaie Avila)1588876637.0
San Antonio Council Member Manny Pelaez on supporting a resolution that denounces phrases like “Chinese virus” or “… https://t.co/ZYlZ2ZXxBZ— Julio Rosas (@Julio Rosas)1588907216.0
The city council also said that "all persons are encouraged to report any such anti-Semitic, discriminatory or racist incidents to the proper authorities for investigation." City council members unanimously voted in favor of the resolution 11-0.
Resolution being voted on by San Antonio City Council this morning labels terms "Chinese Virus" and "Kung Fu Virus"… https://t.co/irU3rHT4tM— Jaie Avila (@Jaie Avila)1588862639.0
The resolution was put forward by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
"We've seen incidents that are clearly racist in nature all around this country, and we've even seen some incidents here. But this is really about standing in solidarity with all the members of our community," Nirenberg told reporters following the council vote.
Ted Cruz slammed the council members for their decision to make terms relating to COVID-19 hate speech.
"This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words 'Wuhan virus,' Cruz wrote on Twitter. "If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as 'the Chinese coronavirus.' #NoSpeechPolice."
This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words “W… https://t.co/VSMdlagSEz— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1588876175.0