Racism Decimated Chinatown In New York, San Francisco And Seattle – Anti-Asian Sentiment Grew Over Fears Of COVID-19 Pandemic, After First Reported Outbreak In China

In New York, Seattle and San Francisco, where businesses and restaurants have suffered for months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinatown is marking a year since it first started feeling the effects of the global outbreak.

In the early days on the pandemic, as fear grew that the virus first reported in China would spread to the United States, growing anti-Chinese sentiment caused people to avoid the district, causing harm to the communities’ economies even before the first American case of COVID-19 was confirmed.

The impact worsened as President Trump continuously branded COVID-19 the ‘China plague’.

Asian American small businesses have been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn during the pandemic. 

While there was a 22 percent decline in all small business-owner activity nationwide from February to April, Asian American business-owner activity dropped by 26 percent, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

A year on, as the Chinese New Year on February 12 approaches, the normal 16-day celebrations are being abandoned for online events and the oldest Chinatown districts in San Francisco, New York and Seattle remain ghost towns.

Despite the younger generations coming to the communities’ aid, the promise of a faster vaccine rollout, and the aid of donations and loans, Chinatown businesses are still daunted by the uphill battling facing them in surviving 2021.

Source: Daily Mail

NASM Certified Personal Trainer Brian Kranz Of Red Fitness (Irvine CA) Follows, Hurls Racist Remarks At Asian Woman; Says Recording Him Won’t Do Anything And ‘Thanks For Bringing COVID To My Country’

A woman shopping in Orange County, California has become the latest target of anti-Asian racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The incident, which was caught on video, reportedly occurred outside a Sephora store at The Market Place in Tustin and Irvine.

In the video posted on Instagram and Reddit, a man can be seen hurling anti-Asian racial slurs while a female companion sarcastically says “bye” to the camera.

The man has since reportedly been identified as Brian Kranz, a fitness instructor in Irvine, California who runs Red Fitness. His female partner—who is seen smirking throughout the incident and even smugly taunts the victim with a “bye”—has been identified as Janelle Hinshaw.

The Asian woman reportedly recalled how the incident started inside the store after the staff asked the pair to wear face masks.

“These people were standing after me in the line at Sephora. They didn’t have masks on before the staff requested so. But then [they] refused to keep social distancing from me. Sephora staff was doing a good job directing me to stand in another line,” a Nextdoor user, who claims to be the woman behind the camera, wrote.

The woman eventually finished shopping and returned to her car. That’s when Kranz followed and began making racist remarks.

“Why don’t you stay at home? Are you that dumb? You want to photograph me?” he says before charging toward the woman, who then retreats in her car.

“Exactly! Get in your car, stupid g**k. Go back to f**king [unintelligible].”

Brian Kranz returns to his Jeep and continues his tirade before driving away.

“Are you really that stupid? You know that recording doesn’t do anything,” he tells the woman. “Stay home. And thanks for giving my country COVID. Have a great day.”

Kranz is a trainer licensed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and many on social media called for his license to be revoked. Many also tagged Hinshaw’s current masters’ program at Azusa Pacific University to revoke her license as a psychologist working with teens.

Given both Kranz and Hinshaw’s work requires working with the public at large, it was of concern to many how they would treat their clients of Asian descent. 

The backlash has been immense. After reportedly deactivating their LinkedIn and Instagram pages, they faced backlash on other platforms. 

Source: The Daily Dot, NextShark

COVID-19 Cases Recorded In Antarctica For First Time – Isolated Continent Reportedly Registers First Infections After 36 Chileans Fall Ill At Research Base

Antarctica, once the only continent not to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly recorded its first cases. The 36 new infections are among people stationed at a Chilean research base and include 26 members of the Chilean army and 10 maintenance workers.

Spanish-language media reported the outbreak at the General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme research base on Monday.

In a statement, the Chilean army said: “Thanks to the timely preventive action … it was possible to relieve said personnel, who, after being subjected to a medical control and the administration of a PCR test … turned out to be positive for Covid-19,” according to Newsweek. It reported that three crew members on a ship providing support to the base have also tested positive since returning from their mission to Antarctica.

The 36 individuals who tested positive have since been evacuated to the city of Punta Arenas in Chile, where they are reported to be under isolation and in good condition.

General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme is one of 13 Chilean bases on the island, the ABC reports.

Trying to keep the virus at bay in Antarctica has come at a cost. All major research projects in the Antarctic have been halted. As a result, research by scientists around the world has been interrupted.

While the continent has no permanent residents, it 1,000 researchers and other visitors stayed on the island over winter, according to the Associated Press.

In March, as the world locked down in response to Covid’s rapid spread, the Antarctic programs agreed the pandemic could become a major disaster. With the world’s strongest winds and coldest temperatures, the continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico is already dangerous for workers at its 40 year-round bases.

Source: The Guardian

International Student At ESSEC Business School In Singapore Sparks Outrage With Racist Instagram Posts

A foreign student studying abroad in Singapore faced massive backlash this past weekend after a photograph that she posted on Instagram for Chinese New Year earlier in 2020 went viral for all the wrong reasons.

The student, Louise, has since issued an apology on her now-private Instagram account, and Essec Business School, where she studies, has said that they are “looking into the situation”.

On Friday (Dec. 4), Instagram user @beforeik.o posted a screenshot of an Instagram story she had made of Louise’s post, which showed the French student pulling back her eyes with her fingers into a slit shape while wearing a cheongsam.

@beforeik.o’s Instagram post also included a screenshot of another photo posted by Louise for Chinese New Year, which included the words “ching chong” in the caption.

A person also commented, “So chong!! So coronavirus!!”

In her Instagram post, @beforeik.o also shared several screenshots of direct messages (DMs) in which Louise claimed that she was “clearly not racist” and that the photo was “just for fun”.

Louise pointed to the fact that Chinese people may get surgery on their eyes to have more “European” features, and asked whether that would be considered racism.

@beforeik.o replied that Louise should educate herself, remove the post, and apologise “before this whole thing blows up”.

Louise, however, doubled down and claimed to have a master’s degree, as well as a diploma from Harvard University about ethnicity in the workplace.

On Saturday (Dec. 5), the official Instagram page of Essec Business School commented on @beforeik.o’s Instagram post, writing that they are “looking into the situation and will take appropriate action”.

Source: Mothership

As France Entered A Second Lockdown, A Call To Attack Every Chinese Person On The Street Gained Momentum On Twitter; Garnering A Thousand Likes And Getting Shared In Equal Numbers

An angry, hate-filled Twitter call to attack Chinese people in the streets of France after the country went into a second COVID lockdown has been followed by a dozen assaults on Asians and fuelled the flames of anti-Asian sentiment.

The first time anti-Asian racism surfaced in France at the start of the pandemic earlier this year, it was characterised as xenophobia. 

It was a fear and distrust of the “other,” with people of East Asian descent lumped together as presumed carriers of the coronavirus that had started in Wuhan, China, says Sun-Lay Tan, spokesperson for Safety for All, a collective of 46 Franco-Asian associations in France. 

This time, it’s taken a much darker and angrier tone. “It’s no longer just xenophobia. It’s hate,” he said.

Immediately following President Emmanuel Macron’s televised address to the nation at the end of October announcing a second lockdown across the country, a Twitter call to attack every Chinese person on the street began gaining momentum, garnering about a thousand likes and getting shared in equal numbers. 

Replies to the original tweet, which has since been flagged and taken down, were also laced with violence and venom: 

“Hitler should have killed all the Chinese, not the Jews.”

“Put me in a cage with a Chinese I’ll have fun with them. I want to watch all their hope fade from their eyes.”

“It’s a hunt for Asians, for slanted eyes and yellow dog-eaters.”

“You’re only good for bringing back disease.”

What concerns Tan and other anti-racism activists is that these Twitter calls have gone offline and manifested in brutal attacks on Asians of all backgrounds in Paris. The day after the tweet was posted, a male Asian student was assaulted in an unprovoked attack while playing table tennis in the park with a friend (permanent ping pong tables are fixtures in some Parisian parks). According to Le Parisien, his attackers shouted “dirty Chinese” while assaulting him with pepper spray.

Asians are no stranger to being singled out by thieves and pickpockets in the Paris region as it’s mistakenly believed that they carry bundles of cash and are easy targets. But the most recent spate of attacks are driven by something more sinister, Tan said. “Previously, Asians were targeted for their money and were victims of robberies and muggings. Now, it’s not even money. It’s just out of hate.”

In another incident, a 37-year-old Asian woman identified as Françoise was attacked by a young couple who followed her off the city bus. Prior to the attack, a few words were exchanged about the young woman’s coughing fit and mask. The couple got off at the same bus stop as Françoise and attacked, pulling her hair, spitting and punching her in the face, yelling, “It’s because of you, you ch**k that we have coronavirus” and “Go back to China and eat dog,” reports Le Parisien.

“There’s been a crescendo of hate since the second lockdown, and a call to violence that we didn’t see before,” said Laetitia Chhiv, president of the Association of Chinese Youth of France. 

Along with the coronavirus, the collapse of Asian businesses in Chinatown, and the threat of another terror attack – France is on its highest terror alert following the beheading of high school teacher Samuel Paty and an attack in Nice that killed three people – Asians in France now have to worry about being targeted in hate-related assaults. 

“Safety has become their number one preoccupation lately,” Tan said.

Along with fear and anxiety, there’s a feeling of anger and disbelief at the misplaced hate, added Chhiv.

“They don’t understand why there’s so much hate. We are not responsible for the coronavirus and yet we’re insulted, assaulted and held responsible.”

Since the spike in assaults, Tan and Chhiv have launched a joint campaign through their groups warning Asians to be vigilant of their surroundings and to file a police report in the event of an attack. Because more often than not, Asian victims – particularly immigrants and the elderly – are less likely to go to the police, for reasons ranging from language barriers to shame, or lack of faith in the judicial system.

But it’s hoped a recent legal victory will change that. On the 12th of November, the French courts sentenced a trio of men two to seven years in prison for targeting, violently assaulting and robbing exclusively Asian women – believed to be easy targets – in the Paris region in 2019. Of the 28 victims identified, only six took part in the legal proceedings. But it’s a major victory that Chhiv hopes will encourage the community to trust the legal system. 

Meanwhile, the Paris prosecutor’s office has launched a formal investigation into the original Twitter call to attack Chinese “for inciting public provocation to carry out a physical attack of a racist nature.”

“We want to send the message that no, you can’t say whatever you want on social media and call for attacks on an entire population for no reason,” Chhiv said.

She also points out that social media played a big role as a vehicle for hate in both the assassination of Paty and the anti-Asian discrimination currently playing out across France. During a lesson on free speech, Paty showed his class a cover from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which depicted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad naked on all fours. One outraged Muslim parent waged a social media campaign against the teacher, which caught the attention of the killer who had no prior connection to the school or teacher.

“Social media can be a conduit for hate,” Chhiv said. “The fury on social media is nefarious for society. All it takes is for one person with bad intentions to stumble on a hateful post and use it to justify their violent behaviour.”

Source: Vice

Wilbur-Ellis Software Engineer Joe Kassuba (With Wife Holly) Of Issaquah Washington Hurls Racist Slurs At Lyft Driver

Along with wildfires, mass layoffs, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it seems all the racists and “Karens” of the world are coming out of the woodwork this year. A Washington man joined the club after launching into a racist tirade against his Lyft driver, as shown in a video recently uploaded to Instagram.

The video, shared by user @davenewworld, shows a seemingly drunk man hurling racist insults at a Lyft driver, who goes by @davidthestudent11 on Instagram. The video begins once the passenger has already become belligerent, and the altercation appears to have begun over a face mask.

It appears that the Lyft driver required the racist man and his wife to don face masks or be refused service. Both are wearing masks when the video begins, but we’ve seen enough of these public freakouts to guess how things escalated. They likely attempted to enter the vehicle without masks and were refused service when things got heated. Perhaps they decided to put on masks after the driver told them to get out, but it was too late. They’d already revealed themselves, and the driver was no longer willing to transport them.

“Racist Joe,” as @davenewworld aptly nicknames him, goes full bigot straight out of the gate. He repeatedly calls the driver a “sand [N-word],” a vile, racist term for a person of Middle Eastern descent. When the driver calls him out for his language, Racist Joe takes it as a request for a lesson.

“Do you know what a sand [N-word] is?” he asks as he sways on his feet. “Because I do.”

At this point, Racist Joe’s wife—a Karen by anyone’s standards—cuts her husband off—not because she is appalled by his language or his treatment of another human being, but because she is recording. And his repeated slurs really aren’t helping the couple’s optics.

While Karen attempts to paint herself as a victim on camera, Racist Joe continues hurling insults the driver’s way. He calls him a “fucking stupid idiot” before threatening to “piss” in his vehicle. Thankfully, Racist Joe changes his mind before any urine hits the car.

Source: Daily Dot

Japan Debuts ‘World’s First Foot-Operated’ Vending Machine For The COVID-19 Era

Before the virus crisis, people would click on the buttons in vending machines to make their purchases but nowadays physical contact is strongly discouraged. So, a Japanese company called DyDo has come up with a new invention. 

It has launched the “world’s first foot-operated” vending machine that is completely “hands-free.” 

The new innovation allows people to use the foot pedals installed in the vending machines to make their selections. They can also opt for contactless payments by tapping their smartphones to the machine’s display. 

Customers can also choose to preorder their items online and then scan their phones to collect their products. 

The machine also includes a food tray, which opens when a customer steps on a lever. It is equipped with UV light sterilization to ensure the products are decontaminated the moment customers retrieve them. 

Source: DesignTAXI

Ticketmaster To Require Negative COVID-19 Test Result Or Vaccination Verification In Order To Attend Concerts

Many details of the plan, which is still in development phase, will rely on three separate components — the Ticketmaster digital ticket app, third party health information companies like CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s Digital Health Pass and testing and vaccine distribution providers like Labcorp and the CVS Minute Clinic.

Here’s how it would work, if approved: After purchasing a ticket for a concert, fans would need to verify that they have already been vaccinated (which would provide approximately one year of COVID-19 protection) or test negative for coronavirus approximately 24 to 72 hours prior to the concert. The length of coverage a test would provide would be governed by regional health authorities — if attendees of a Friday night concert had to be tested 48 hours in advance, most could start the testing process the day before the event. If it was a 24-hour window,  most people would likely be tested the same day of the event at a lab or a health clinic.

Once the test was complete, the fan would instruct the lab to deliver the results to their health pass company, like CLEAR or IBM. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify the attendee’s COVID-19 status to Ticketmaster, which would then issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event. If a fan tested positive or didn’t take a test to verify their status, they would not be granted access to the event. There are still many details to work out, but the goal of the program is for fans to take care of vaccines and testing prior to the concert and not show up hoping to be tested onsite.

Source: Billboard