A video has gone viral of an Asian woman filming a racist interaction with a white woman on a train, who assumes she has the coronavirus.
On Monday, the young woman, Min, who goes by the Twitter handle @princessmin_c, uploaded a 28 second-long video, which she says exhibits the type of discrimination Asian people are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The video, with now over 4.5 million views, shows a white woman sitting on the train across from Min, who is recording the interaction. The woman is covering her mouth with a scarf–which is totally fine. Yet, Min claims the woman only began covering her mouth in the presence of Min–which is not OK. Min then coughs a few times. The woman mumbles incoherently, and Min says to her, “I’m sorry? I’m sorry, say it again. I can’t hear you when you’re covering your mouth.” The woman then gets up and leaves.
After noticing that the woman (who she calls Jan) only began covering her face after she got on the train, Min said she recorded the interaction and fake coughed into her elbow to see the woman’s reaction.
“So I get on the train and this white woman immediately covers her mouth with a scarf when she sees me. I thought it would be interesting to fake cough and see how she reacts. The racism is showing Jan! (Too bad we couldn’t hear her mumbling under that racism!),” she tweeted.
Some tweeted in solidarity and offered their support.
“Eurrrghhh it’s so annoying to see how ignorant and ill informed some people are. She’s probably one of the people who have stopped drinking Corona beer because of the name. Also, I secretly wished you got up and coughed on her,” Twitter user @t0nit0ne wrote.
An Asian American person also shared that she and her friends have been experiencing similar incidents of discrimination recently.
“I as well as all of my other Chinese American and Asian American friends that I have talked to have had similar experiences and many of us have never even traveled to Asia. This is bullshit. I’m sorry this happened to u,” Twitter user @1800livinlarger wrote.
Unfortunately, the video caused many people’s racism and prejudice to show, as far too many commenters sided with the reaction of the white woman on the train. They agreed that her reaction was reasonable–considering the circumstances–and was not racist at all.
“To put it in simple terms. It isn’t racist. It’s presumptuous and cautious but racist? Nah. How does she know you haven’t been to Asia anywhere to see family before the ‘outbreak’ or if someone has come to visit you? Nobody knows these things so how is it racist..?” one user stated.
Like with so many cases of discrimination, the whirlwind of negative comments left Min feeling invalidated, attacked, and like she had to explain and defend herself.
“Can’t even believe I have to explain this to a few ignorant people but THE POINT is that she covered her face before I was even fake coughing. If she wanted to move quietly because someone was coughing by her I understand but she discriminated against me once she SAW ME, ” she wrote.
She then later shared that she was hurt by the negative attention.
“Feel so down because of all the nasty hate messages I’ve been getting. I didn’t expect this to happen and definitely did not want this kind of attention,” Min stated.
To restore faith in humanity, many did eventually come around to understanding the impact this recorded interaction and subsequent comments have on the Asian community. They concluded that “Jan” was indeed racist and not just being “cautious,” as many would like to believe. Many thanked Min for being brave enough to speak up against the discrimination she experienced and bringing awareness for the Asian community.
“After reading through this thread, I now see that a lot of people are blinded by their own prejudices and hide behind ‘Is it racist to not want to die?’ I’m disappointed especially in the black people. Why would you want anyone else to experience what you have to go through?” Twitter user @BreezyGuitar stated.
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