Trump's "Chinese Virus" Comments are Simply Trollish

Stop feeding the trolls, even if it's the President.

Trump's "Chinese Virus" Comments are Simply Trollish

People have been quite vocal about the usage of terms like "Chinese Virus." While I have to admit I find it amusing that people have an issue with such usage. After all there are many other diseases that are named after regions, such as MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) and Zika, which is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. Does anyone think that MERS is antisemitic or Islamophobic?

Is it Controversial?

It is not uncommon to name a disease after a region, especially a region where it originated or became prominent. Again, numerous pathogens have been named this way, and nobody has seemed to mind, even when the name makes no sense. The Spanish flu, for instance, did not originate in Spain, and yet nobody finds it racist against the Spanish.

However, perhaps that stems from this notion of race. For some reason, "Chinese" is seen as a race, even though China is a massive region with a diverse group of people with different ethnic backgrounds and genetic heritage. Spain is a smaller region, and probably less ethnically diverse, and yet "Spanish" is not seen as a race. And really, the conflation between race, ethnicity, and nationality isn't really surprising, considering that there is no such thing as biological race.

Regardless, Trump saw the reaction that he was getting from the Democrats, and really anyone who views Trump negatively, and so he decided to up his game. He thrives on trolling. This guy is the Troll-in-Chief. I'm not saying that it's a good thing. I don't know if we should have a troll as President, though Churchill is often seen as a good leader, and he was a hell of a troll, and a hell of an asshole in general. But the point is, he's not using the term because he's racist. He's not using it because he's ignorant. He's using it to get a rise out of the Democrats, and it is working.

Clear Trolling

Recently an image has been floating around. A photographer managed to capture a picture of Trump's recent speech on SARS-CoV-2. In his script, he crossed out "corona" and replaced it with "Chinese."

I honestly have to wonder if he thought that the "correction" would be captured in a photograph. Contrary to what people think, he's not dumb, even if he is a jackass.

Missed Opportunity

I will say that there was a missed opportunity here, even though I don't think Trump would have taken it, even if it was suggested to him. Trolling the Democrats is probably just too important to him. He could have called it the "Communist Virus" or "PRC Virus." After all, the communist regime in the PRC repeatedly suppressed information about the threat of this disease.

It advised the WHO that there was no human-to-human spread. It suppressed doctors who spoke out warning people of the dangers of this disease. It is very possible that this epidemic could have been halted, before it ever left China, if its government simply acted properly.

Don't Feed the Trolls

However someone feels about the term "Chinese Virus" I think we need to stop feeding the trolls, even if that troll is the President. He'll keep doing what he's doing, so long as he continues to get a response from the Democrats. He lives on this stuff. It's a problem, but it's the nature of the beast.

I can pretty much guarantee that if people stopped reacting to his usage of the term, he'd get bored and stop using it. That's how trolls operate.

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Daniel Goldman
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