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Asian Teens Are Addressing Coronavirus Racism On TikTok

The outbreak has brought out anti-Chinese memes and hoaxes.

Posted on January 31, 2020, at 3:29 p.m. ET


The spread of the coronavirus from Wuhan, China, has made a lot of people nervous. But unfortunately, it's also inspired a whole bunch of racism.

People have been trotting out racist, anti-Chinese, and anti-immigrant memes, comments, and hoaxes about the outbreak. Basically, this has been used as an opportunity to bash Chinese and other Asian people.

But the teens aren't interested in your racism. Over on TikTok, Asian creators are turning the trope around to make fun of the racism itself.

On the app, there are plenty of videos just like this:

The common joke is how other people — particularly white people — are now overly suspicious of any Asian person they see.

Others are more straightforward.

David Kim, 16, told BuzzFeed News he created his video after a conversation with his parents.

"I had to go to George Mason University that morning and I asked them, 'Should I wear a mask?' Their answer was that if I wore a mask, people would avoid me even more because I'm Asian and I have the mask on," he said.

This is what he ended up posting:

"I can see the racism behind this virus, truly," he added. "Even if it might be a joke from my friends, I am constantly being targeted or laughed at because I am Asian and they think I have the virus."

Kim said he's even gotten what he felt were suspicious looks when he was out at a restaurant in a mask.

"I see lots of videos of Asians defending Asians from the racism of the virus these days," he said. "One part of me is sad that so many Asians are being targeted in the first place, and another side of me is glad that we Asians are in this together."

Eros Corpuz, 19, is from Toronto and made a similar joke on his own TikTok page:


Jus cuz I’m asian smh. Anyways we’re hosting coronavirus party at my house at 5pm don’t be late 😷😷🥳🥳#fyp #foryou #coronavirus

♬ original sound - rayxswift

"This coronavirus TikTok was an idea I had in mind before the first case was even found in Canada," he told BuzzFeed News. He added that he figured that either way there would be a stigma against Chinese people (Corpuz is Filipino).

"It's all down to paranoia and where the sense of threat really comes from," he said. "This disease isn't racist, so I don't know why everyone should be."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.