My ethnicity isn’t a virus

Are you going to say something?

You’re staring at me

Like you’re going to say something

make me feel like nothing,

with your stupid jokes, jibe comments

torrents of abuse, you choose to say

Day after day

 

And you tell me to move,

Tell me to move,

tell me to move,

 

Move from your face,

My slant-eyed race

With the masks we wear for protection,

I don’t spread infection

And the contagion’s raging,

Hundreds of thousands have died,

Because China lied

but that’s not my fault

 

Now you think,

You won’t eat Chink

Food, you’re not in the mood,

You’re hungry to smash our shops and take-aways

Ruin our livelihoods,

Because you think you should,

It’s what we deserve

we’ve a lot of nerve coming here

 

Now I’m waiting for your attack

For you to smack me down

like Jonathan Mok

on Oxford Street, there you beat,

With split lip, black eye,

Made him cry, ran him back home

To the land of Chink

Well, he’s actually from Singapore,

But that’s the same thing, you think

 

And our ethnicity isn’t a virus,

This is the true crisis

You call us liars

Genetically engineering a virus

To wipe you all out

With our 5G towers

police state powers

Disappearing anybody who exposes the truth

And because you can’t separate the government from its people,

You’ll only blame us

 

And you don’t care if we’re

Chinese

Vietmanese

Japanese

Thai

Malayasian

Filipino

Korean,

We all look the same,

So you’ll treat us the same

you’re the true pandemic,

endemic of this fear and hate,

Spreading like a plague

Across the globe,

With your terror and violence

 

Silence from the majority

So the minority

Have to speak out against this discrimination,

Alienation against us

 

Looking over our shoulders in fear,

Because the hatred is right here.

Not only in London, but Manc, Brum, where the rage is hum-drum,

You told Mandy Huang to take her fucking virus back home,

You swung at her friend who only wanted the horror

To end.

 

You call up the school,

You say, Mr Smith, I have a tiff

With Mrs Ting Tong, Mr Ching Chong

Sending their dirty kids to class, total farce,

You’ll have them mix with my precious angels

 

And this is a joke?

But there’s no smoke without fire

And I’m no liar

Because this happened

In Toronto and New Zealand

 

And no longer can I sit on the fucking fence

As this isn’t damn anecdotal evidence

And even if it was

That doesn’t make it any fucking better

But I don’t want the hate to fester

 

I’m no Gandhi, Mother Theresa,

no saint,

Not trying to paint with a black-tar brush

hush anyone I disagree with

 

no SJW,

Pretending I’m better than anyone else, I’m full of shit,

a big fucking hypocrite

let’s face it,

I’ve been as racist as the racists I’m discussing now

Wow, I’ve said some stupid shit without even knowing it,

Ask my sister explaining to 12-year old me, why I shouldn’t like a Facebook group called

“You want to see my ID? I want to see your passport first,”

There’s worse

After 7/7, I was nervous after seeing Turbans,

I made jokes about watermelon, fried chicken,

Cherry-picking the best jokes

To get a laugh, a pat on a back

God, I was a right ignorant twat

 

Because I confessed, professed to my ignorance,

That doesn’t make me a better person

And that’s for certain,

Because I said that racist shit

 

Just to get a rise, and that’s not right,

And for that I apologise,

Cos I’m not trying to gaslight

Or start a fight

Pit us against each other,

Brother against brother,

Because we need to stick together,

Whatever the storm might bring

Apart we can’t win,

But we can’t succumb to this hate,

Maybe it’s too late,

But we need to think about what comes after,

Were we good or bad to each other?

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel

If we help each other up, rather than kicking when we’re down,

 

And maybe that’s cheesy as fuck

And I should just shut the fuck up

But I need to say this

 

Because we’re not liars

We didn’t cause this crisis,

and our ethnicity is not a fucking virus.

 

*Author’s Notes*

In this poem, I discuss everybody’s favourite topic: racism.  More specifically, the recent rise of racism against the Chinese and others from Far East Asia as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Big thanks to my friend Fiona for helping me lick this poem into much-needed shape.  Racism is obviously a very nuanced topic and I wanted to bring something more to the conversation than another hateful tirade.

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