COVID-19 Sinophobia with 'Yellow Peril (History Glitch)'


01 Feb 2020 Yellow Peril (History Glitch)


In 2015, the World Health Organisation issued a call on scientists, national authorities, and media to follow best practices in naming new human infectious diseases, prohibiting labeling based on geographic locations, individuals, cultures, or ethnic populations, citing their serious consequences for peoples’ lives and livelihoods.


Despite this, mainstream media outlets and national authorities, namely Trump, have frequently referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan Coronavirus” and “Chinese Virus” – one photographer even captured “corona” crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” on an official speech transcript. We’ve witnessed how this has manifested in hatred and violence targeted towards Chinese and Asian ethnicities.


From the overt, conspicuous, “racist hate” such as ’Yellow Peril’, ‘Chink’, ‘Ching Chong’, ‘Chinese Virus’ and ‘Kung Flu’ in tumultuous times; to the covert, endearing, as Asian American author Frank Chin describes, “racist love” of the “model minority” myth – racial stereotypes are utilised to deny, downplay, and justify the existing system. In times of difficulty and struggle, we are wicked, immoral, harbinger of disease, in other times, we are the model minority, the overachievers, the perfect example of pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps immigrant striving.


A glitch ruptures the image to reveal the underlying structures of how and why an image is constructed – to address, reflect, and reconstruct accepted truths.

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©2020 Gordon Cheung | info@gordoncheung.com  | London, United Kingdom